ECV – Utility Emerging

Todays announcement from EMC, Cisco and VMware (ECV) amounted to a declaration of war on the datacenter players in the industry as we know it. But it wasn’t the only thing that it amounted to – I see it as the first true sign of utility computing, and if the rest of the industry just sits back and takes this then it deserves to die.

Word on the street is that nobody wants to own anything anymore. CAPEX has become a dirty word. And large corporates have realised the hidden costs associated with managing many vendors – pricing, contract negotiation, relationship… these things have an often unseen cost for Enterprises in terms of human capital. The cost of designing, engineering and supporting hardware and software from many vendors was realised long ago, resulting in Enterprise standards based on the lowest common denominator.

The problem with this of course is that you end up with a solution that caters fairly well to 80% of the environment, isn’t optimal for any particular part of it and entirely misses 20%. And I’m not criticising that – for large Enterprises, it’s the only way to keep a reasonable grip on things. That is, if said Enterprises need to own the kit in their datacenters. But do they?

To me, ECV is little more than a few big vendors formally recognising that many large companies are looking to exit ‘IT’ as we know it. Internal IT groups are unable to deliver the most optimal solution for every use case, so why not let other people address those specific use cases for you with optimal solutions? Solutions that don’t involve CAPEX?

I don’t feel like I am doing a very good job of conveying my thoughts on this, so I’ll try to be more concrete.

Say you want a solution for 300 physical boxes, 2000 medium server VM’s and 10000 virtual desktops. Today, internal IT would probably try as much as possible to design with all use cases in mind, to reduce complexity in the environment. And then wash the costs of everything over everything.

But what if instead, I could buy a loaf of bread, a container of milk, and a stick of butter block of HC (HP Cisco) for my physical environment, a block of ECV for my server workloads, and a block of NDC (NetApp Dell Citrix) for my desktop workloads? And all vendors involved had cross certified every component of the stack? Except I wasn’t actually buying it – I was renting it? And all hardware and software support was wrapped up under a single umbrella company, the cost of which was included in the rent? And the way you deployed this thing was basically wheeling a few racks into your datacenter, connecting them to each other and then plugging them into the network? And when I need more of any of them, I simply wheel another block in? And when I need less, I just wheel a block out?

If that scenario scares the shit out of you, you better get used to the idea. Because in my experience, internal IT is setup in such a way that it can’t possibly compete with such an offering – it’s not agile enough to cope with changes in resource demand, it would be too expensive to support so many different pieces.

Power companies used to build substations near industrial parks in order to meet demands. Then the industrials figured out it was cheaper to build datacenters closer to the power plants. The same thing is happening here – it starts with them wheeling stuff into your datacenter, it will end with most of us buying capacity in their datacenter. It’s the end of IT as we know it, and I feel fine 🙂


4 Responses to “ECV – Utility Emerging”

  1. Jason Boche Says:

    I was in a POC all day in the lab and I’m just now catching up on Vblock. Great summary and point of view vStu. I think you’re onto something!

  2. Chad Sakac Says:

    Stu, you write in a short blog what takes me 6. This is BANG ON, and is exactly what we’re thinking about and trying to lead on (as we think it’s inevitable)

  3. vNuboso Says:


    This shouldn’t scare any self-respecting IT professional anyway. Think of now how one works their little IT-selves into a hissy for some slave-driver who’s “real” business is doing something else for profit… Well…now that same IT-person will be delivering the same service (likely in a much more efficient and expedient fashion) only they’ll be doing it all the while being employed by someone who actually makes money on the very work that they perform.

    Sounds like a win/win to me…

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