What’s in a name?

Let’s start off with a disclaimer: this blog is mine, opinions are my own. I work for EMC but these views and words are all mine. This isn’t the corporate line being towed.

Others have written about the Federation and how it works, they have touched on the co-opetition that exists between the companies.
So why do I feel compelled to write on it?

Well in part because I really don’t know how to keep my mouth shut. Also because just perhaps I have a slightly different view being new to this perspective. So without further ado:

EMC is part of a “federation” of companies. I don’t think that is necessarily a surprise to anyone, most folks know EMC as a huge organization. But EMC is a majority owner of VMware, part owner of Pivotal, and full owner of RSA. These companies make up the Federated Solution. VCE also fits in to this equation though not as tightly as many might think. What’s “funny” for lack of a better word is that the ownership isn’t a selling point for integration. EMC gets Pivotal and VMware source code releases at the same time as other storage manufacturers. The firewall between companies is completely amazing.

When you think of a Federation you have to think of things that are loosely coupled but with the same core beliefs, I am not a Trekkie but I know that the Federation of Planets didn’t always see eye to eye. The same is true here, which isn’t at all a bad thing. The separation of power between the companies is what allows each to be stronger on it’s own and more innovative. The combination of these innovators is what provides IT organizations the best in breed of each of the federation members offerings. It’s also what enables each of the companies to disrupt each other while realizing the benefits of what the others have done. Whether it be EMC’s infrastructure and recovery solutions, VMware’s cloud software, or Pivotal’s application development and next generation elasticity.

An insider view on this is pretty incredible, I used to describe my last company as a PT Boat quick to maneuver to the next target. I would normally go on to say big companies are more like the battleship they are powerful and with a head of steam fast in route but take time to turn. While I have seen some of that, I can tell you that there is a lot of fluidity to the way business can be done.

So why does this matter to you? It means that integrations will be available that may not be found elsewhere because each company is highly motivated to integrate with each other. ┬áIt doesn’t mean that independent solutions with companies outside of the federation will be stopped or that those innovations are bad in some way. It also means that sales and engineering teams across the federation “should” be looking outside of just their own portfolios. VMware will remain hardware agnostic, EMC will remain software agnostic (with leanings towards the industry leader for marketshare) and Pivotal will do it’s thing in agile application development and PaaS.

More importantly for me it means that the integration points into VMware products that EMC has will continue to be industry leading because the EMC team works constantly to maintain that distinction. Meanwhile EMC will continue to expand integrations with Microsoft Hyper-V and invests in the OpenStack community. vSAN will provide opportunities to change the narrative with regard to software defined storage environments and coupled with EMC’s direction on commodity storage like ScaleIO and Software Defined Storage (SDS) controllers like ViPR.

VMware, EMC and Pivotal have invested heavily in open source solutions too, such as OpenStack and Cloud Foundry (which recently was spun into the Cloud Foundry Foundation). The future is cloud, software defined everything and XaaS, that is where the federation is headed and all three companies are looking on how to work closer together to integrate the best they can. It’s no where near where I and others would like it to be, but with time and success a better understanding and partnership will emerge.

This is really cool to me and something that I look forward to talking about more and more as we progress along this journey.