EMC and Avnet have recently entered a strategic partnership to introduce the hyper-converged appliance VSPEX BLUE in the Asia-Pacific. EMC’s Gil Shneorson, and Avnet Singapore’s Nicholas Tan discuss the features of hyper-converged infrastructure, its market growth potential, as well as the EMC-Avnet relationship, in which Avnet redefines the role of a distributor.
-An exclusive interview with executives from EMC and Avnet Technology Solutions
Avnet Technology Solutions and EMC recently announced a global partnership to build, market and distribute VSPEX BLUE, a hyper-converged infrastructure appliance for the midmarket and enterprise segment. The relationship that spans globally including the Asia Pacific region is game-changing and first of its kind in supplier-distributor relationship. For EMC, VSPEX BLUE is a pure channel play while Avnet redefines the traditional role of a distributor by being involved in the supply chain management, manufacturing, marketing and distribution of the new appliance.
During the VSPEX BLUE launch event held in Singapore on Feb 6th, we caught up with the two leaders, Gil Shneorson, EMC VSPEX Vice President and General Manager, and Nicholas Tan, Avnet Technology Solutions Country General Manager Singapore, to get an exclusive update on Avnet and EMC relationship around VSPEX BLUE, the unique attributes and value that VSPEX BLUE delivers to customers and Avnet’s role in the EMC-Avnet relationship.
EMC: A leader in converged infrastructure
Gil Shneorson has been in charge of the VSPEX business in EMC for many years, and is extremely excited about bringing this new hyper converged appliance to the market. He pointed out that with VCE, the VBlock systems, and the VSPEX reference architecture program, EMC had been firmly established as the market leader for converged infrastructure within the past few years. EMC had, he added, amassed expertise in converged infrastructure in recent years as well. As such, being the market leader in that segment, they had to ensure that all new products were of high quality, and promised value to users.
Launching VSPEX BLUE at the VMWare Partner Exchange in California, he explained, was a good move precisely because of the fact that VSPEX BLUE is built around a program for partners. As opposed to market observers commenting that EMC was late in the hyper-converged infrastructure appliance (HCIA) game, Gil thought that EMC’s timing was perfect, since it could address all prior concerns and preferences of customers. With EMC’s entry into the hyper-converged arena, he expressed confidence that EMC could bring more value towards customers. Citing an example of VSPEX BLUE’s capabilities for the VMWare customer, he shared that the appliance could be set up and operated within 15 minutes: something that had never been done before. From the VSPEX BLUE Manager, users can also conveniently access electronic services, such as EMC knowledge base articles.
EMC leverages Avnet’s global distributor capabilities
The reason for EMC’s partnership with Avnet around VSPEX, he noted, had been bolstered by a strong relationship over the last three years. For the launch of VSPEX BLUE, the company had wanted to leverage the channel like they had done earlier with the Reference Architecture Program, while offering EMC Support. To accomplish these two objectives, Gil said they decided to redesign the supply chain in a way that allowed EMC to leverage Avnet’s global network. In the process, a partnership that allowed Avnet to participate more was also created, allowing EMC more margin for the channel altogether. These steps, he said, marked a fundamental change in their go-to-market strategy, given that it was a channel-only play.
Even as EMC sales reps have quotas to meet for VSPEX BLUE, Gil said they could not quote VSPEX BLUE directly to end users, and would have to go to a reseller. Doing so would, according to him, create a better partnership and more joint opportunities with their reseller community.
He stated that EMC had been partners with Avnet – a value-added distributor – for many years, given their understanding of high-end solutions, and the importance of adding more value to the final product. With the partnership model adopted under the launch of VSPEX BLUE – he highlighted that they now had the ability to integrate, leverage financing offered to resellers, as well as leverage supply chain capabilities. “We are very excited about this partnership” said Gil.
Strong traction for VSPEX BLUE expected from Singapore, Australia
Gil said that VSPEX BLUE’s launch had broken several records, with hundreds of users going to the EMC website and requesting a quote, despite it being an enterprise and mid-market solution. He said that this indicated high interest levels and pent-up demand for an EMC-made hyper-converged product, especially since EMC was a brand they trusted to provide diligent support. Turning to Asia, he commented that it was the markets with the tendency to adopt new technology sooner that react sooner, and added that Singapore was such a market, thus explaining their choice to launch VSPEX BLUE there. He noted how interest was rising among Southeast Asia, Australia as well as in India, which led them to direct efforts towards the markets they knew to be more mature. Gil stated that EMC’s partnership with Avnet was designed to do just that.
Reverberating Gil’s excitement about the launch, Nicholas is particularly happy seeing Avnet’s role in this partnership transcend beyond the traditional responsibilities of a distributor. He spoke enthusiastically about the synergies within the partnership, and the new opportunities on the horizon for Avnet Technology Solutions and EMC.
Avnet – EMC VSPEX BLUE Singapore Launch
Nicholas pointed out that Avnet’s collaboration with EMC to launch VSPEX BLUE outside of North America was a global first as a distributor, and something unique and different as well. He explained that Avnet’s duties would involve the building and assembly, integration, logistics, shipment, and price setting of VSPEX BLUE. To capture the market in twice the speed, he said that Avnet would reach out to the entire partner ecosystem.
Avnet and EMC would be sharing an end-to-end partnership, said Nicholas. EMC would continue with its strong suit of R&D work and innovation to build the hyper-converged infrastructure – while Avnet would be responsible for bringing the final appliance to the market.
Hyper-converged infrastructure market in Asia-Pacific is growing
IDC’s research, he said, showed the hyper-converged appliance market to be worth $600 million worldwide, and about $200 million within the Asia-Pacific. The sheer market size would translate into many opportunities for Avnet, he said, as well as its partner ecosystem, to go after the mid-market space, which is where demand for VSPEX BLUE is strongest. Nicholas expressed his excitement at the chance to drive incremental business for Avnet, EMC and their partners.
VSPEX BLUE well-positioned to address market needs
Nicholas detailed some of VSPEX BLUE’s unique value propositions. Firstly, EMC was the last to launch its hyper-converged offering, which meant they got to pick the best technology to put inside the appliance. Secondly, EMC was working with world-class virtualization company VMWare’s EVO:RAIL appliance in developing VSPEX BLUE. Thirdly, EMC would include its own software as part of the total packaged solutions that come with VSPEX BLUE. The last and strongest value proposition, he said, was the world class customer support EMC provided globally. All these attributes, he said, would set VSPEX BLUE apart from its competitors.
Nicholas stated that Avnet Singapore was very proud to be EMC’s top contributor for high-end storage in FY2014. With the launch of VSPEX BLUE, he expressed his hopes that Avnet Technology Solutions Singapore will leverage its earlier success in the enterprise segment and achieve the same success for EMC in the midmarket. He added that Avnet would work to maintain its momentum in serving both the high-end and the midmarket, and continue being the number one distributor for EMC in Singapore.
Follow Avnet on Twitter: @AvnetTSAPAC
Subscribe to Avnet TS APAC Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3g4wkeAE147_V6AGp1WhWg
Connect with Avnet on LinkedIn or Facebook: https://www.linkedin.com/company/avnet-technology-solutions or facebook.com/avnetinc
Posted under General