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Virtustream is about to get biblical on the channel and its Aas

The vendor gathered the great and the good together to outline its cloud strategy and Nick Booth was in the audience

Do you ever question the neutrality of IT analysts? Some are like cheer leaders. Some appear on cringe-worthy corporate videos where they describe their sponsor as a ‘game changer’. Yuk! (Well, I suppose that’s accurate in a way because someone’s head has suddenly been turned.) Some seem to make a living by running in front of the parade and pretending to lead it.

Yes, there brilliant ones too. Clive Longbottom of Quocirca was always hard but fair, like a good referee. Penny Jones of The 451 gives no nonsense analysis of the  services market.

We should add Mike Small of KuppingerCole to the roster of witty analysts, for this zinger he came out with as we waited for a Virtustream conference to begin. “Physics was built by giants standing on each other’s shoulder. The IT industry is more like pygmies standing on each other’s toes.”

Virtustream had assembled the great and the good (and some IT journalists too) in central London, to outline its vision for cloud migration.

Lauren Nelson, the guest speaker from Forrester, seems to be another independent spirit. To paraphrase Nelson, there is an overwhelming desire to migrate to the cloud among enterprises but a desperate lack of knowledge. Some dubious economic models are being created, Nelson warns, and some of the motives for migration are crazy.

Still, who cares, as long as there’s money for the channel to be made, we should all rejoice. In the next five years, according to Virtustream, there is going to be an absolute bonanza for service providers who can help companies to move their legacy applications away from their old, rigid, proprietary platforms and onto more versatile and open cloud computing systems.

Virtustream, by nature of its membership of the Dell EMC family, claims it is well positioned to help companies with this transition.

Christina Colby, as senior vice president of strategic alliances, is recruiting partners for Virtustream as it bids to exploit this opportunity. Colby is a veteran of many campaigns at Cap Gemini, so presumably she has plenty of empathy for the resellers, VARs and service providers she will be tooling up for this gold rush.

“I loved consulting because you had to implement the plans of the vendors,” says Colby, who is aware of the gap between the marketing message of big vendors and grim reality of delivering the goods - and services. This means Colby should cut Virtustream’s partners some slack.

The devil is always in the detail and the cloud has the most devilish detail in the history of the IT industry. Never have customers been bamboozled by so much choice and so little visibility. One of the most straightforward tasks of the Virtustream partner will be to make sense of the all baffling choices that customers face over their purchase of virtual machines. We should call this proposition Instance Gratification.

“Think of it like going to a car dealer,” says Colby. “If you go to a hyperscaler, they will show you to the warehouse and expect you to pick all the right components out and assemble your own Ford Focus,” says Colby. Whereas the Virtustream partner should give their clients the keys to a Porsche. Or at a well assembled and fine tuned Ford Focus.

In addition, Virtustream will be marketing itself on its ability to bring multiple clouds together, thus liberating clients from the proprietorial straight jacket of the Amazons and the Googles.

All sounds brilliant in theory. However, there are questions over how many ‘mission critical’ apps Virtustream has intimate knowledge of. This will be crucial if it is to migrate these crucial apps onto a shared computing model. Virtustream is mostly associated with being all over SAP like a polar bear on a bin bag. But it also claims to be on top of other briefs. It claims to have detailed knowledge of other verticals, such as the health service system EPIC.

Migration won’t be easy, but that’s why it’s going to be so lucrative.

This was last published in September 2018

Read more on Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS)

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