Is that headline over the top? Perhaps 🙂On the other hand, it’s obvious when you think about it and also nothing new.It’s the short answer to the question, “Chad, why are you incredibly pumped about being the new leader of VCE?”Let’s start by really understanding the word platform.In the Military domain: “…solid ground on which artillery pieces are mounted.”In the Political domain: “…a public statement of the principles, objectives, and policy of a political party.” In the Digital technology domain: “…a major piece of software, as an operating system, an operating environment, or a database, under which various smaller application programs can be designed to run.”The common pattern? A platform is a foundation, something you consume and build on versus something you decompose. In fact, the core value is that it is not decomposable. It must be used whole. When someone tries to decompose a platform, it loses its value, its purpose, its animus.In the past, the IT platform domains were primarily “server, network, storage, database, client, application, security.” Virtualization started the trend of mashing up server/network/storage by making the technical lines dividing those domains very blurry. Public IaaS clouds finished the job, making the dividing lines invisible. SaaS and PaaS models then moved the bar of platform further.In IT, the idea of a platform is nothing new. It’s always existed. So, it’s by definition the end game.What is changing – and disrupting massive ecosystems – is where platforms begin and end.Three reasons why I’m so pumpedReason OneStorage, compute and networking domains are commoditizing. Can anyone disagree? It’s not that there won’t be great innovations in sub-component stacks. There will be tons of new things like VMware NSX and Horizon, like EMC DSSD, XtremIO, and Neutrino. There will be things like VSAN and ScaleIO from VMware and EMC together and things like Cisco ACI and UCS Director.In open source land, the point solution innovation is overwhelmingly fast and furious. There will be innovations in the Apache Hadoop ecosystem and the Openstack ecosystem; there will be Mesos releases, Docker updates, and the VMware Photon Platform, EMC RackHD, REX-Ray and so much more. It can feel never-ending.Of course there will be tons of innovations by our competitors too! And YES all those ingredients are awesome. 🙂But, the game is shifting towards “Buy commodity vs. Build where you differentiate.” I firmly believe that customers are thinking more strategically about where they buy vs. build, redefining where the new commodity line is drawn, which leads to…Reason TwoThe lowest common denominator of that new commodity line is convergence in consumption of infrastructure as virtualized pools of compute/network/storage with an integrated consumption and management model.This comes in 3 system-level architectures:Blocks – traditional virtualized system architectures; packaged for turnkey consumptionRacks – hyper-converged virtualized industry standard servers with software-defined storage and networking stacks; designed as a system to scale big; much simpler operational models than traditional stacks, scaling in simpler linear waysAppliances – hyper-converged virtualized industry standard servers with software-defined storage and networking stacks; designed as a system to start small; much simpler operational models than traditional stacks, scaling in simpler linear waysIn 2016, the people still building and trying to optimize their own stacks are wasting their time (with small exceptions that are very workload-centric). It’s not that they aren’t smart or capable. It’s more that if you ARE smart and capable, focus on something that provides more value, which leads to…Reason ThreeThe higher order version of choosing “what you build vs. what you buy” and where you draw the commodity line is the next layer up in the stack: turnkey IaaS /PaaS (on and off premises, and in every form of capex/opex economic model) and SaaS models.Turnkey IaaS and PaaS are not actually turnkey yet. There is a window to make it that way – and EMC, VMware, Pivotal are in a better position than anyone to do that. It requires a pivot in some strategic thinking and posture – becoming more opinionated (while still always offering choice – that’s a brand promise). You can see the industry running to this point (see the EMC Federation Enterprise Hybrid Cloud, Cisco Metapod, Mantl, IBM’s bluebox efforts, and Azure on-prem work).None of us have nailed it yet – but we will.If you agree with point #1 (the commoditization of components)…Then the center of the infrastructure universe is at the same place as the center of the universe for making storage/networking/compute convergence the new “commodity” domain. That’s at VCE within EMC. This strikes me as the center of that new entity.If you agree with point #2 (the new base commodity layer is converged/hyper-converged)…Then you want to be at the place that is the clear leader in converged infrastructure. That’s clearly VCE. VCE exits FY15 on an even higher run rate than the $2 billion+ we previously disclosed, demonstrating the resonance of the VCE value proposition and the tremendous growth potential of CI.For perspective, one of the other leaders in this space made their current run-rate public in an S-1 filing. It highlights a 4x delta. It also makes clear why everyone would target VCE as a leader in this category and that’s OK (competition is good for everyone)!Today, VCE is synonymous with Vblock, which is in the “Block” category of CI. Blocks are an important category and will continue to grow as the best way to support workloads in certain scales, industries and use cases. Vblock is an unquestionable leader in this part of the market – and in 2016 we will DOUBLE DOWN on Vblock with our partner Cisco.If you look at the incredible success VCE had in 2015 – a huge portion of that $2B bookings run rate is directly attributable to the success of Vblock. That formula is a winning formula we have developed and nurtured in partnership with Cisco over 6 years. It is a strong partnership – and one we will be doubling down and investing to grow. Vscale, the Vblock (in particular the VB500), as well as expansion/upgrades/refreshes into the enormous Vblock installed base – these are all areas that benefit EMC, Cisco, and most importantly – the customer.While Racks and Appliances represent critical new growth engines to the Converged Infrastructure business – let there be no doubt – our partnership with Cisco is central to our Converged Infrastructure plan.BUT hyper-converged models are an area of massive growth. VCE will not rest on the laurels of success in the Block category, rather we will disrupt ourselves to become a leader in hyper-converged Rack scale and Appliance forms of CI. These are different in a ton of ways than the well-established Block CI model (operationally, economically, technologically, and as a business model).Can we do it? Only results speak. Self-disruption is something that needs to be a core competency. VCE has it. We absolutely can be the leader in all three forms of CI (Blocks, Racks, and Appliances). Customers want partners who are more than a one-trick pony and offer a CI portfolio. We plan on doing it and will do it. Period.If you agree with point #3 (turnkey IaaS/PaaS/Data Fabrics are the “emerging commodity layer”)…Then you would want to be in the place where “turnkey buy vs. build” moves to the next level, where you could take the value of an engineered system and make it include engineered solutions.Converged and hyper-converged infrastructure are simply a means to an end for customers. They dream of a turnkey IaaS/PaaS/Data stack.The team that builds solutions like the Federation Enterprise Hybrid Cloud stack, the Federation Business Data Lake, and what we will soon reveal as our solution for new Cloud Native app development – they are part of the same team building converged infrastructure.We can move commoditization further up the stack. We can aggregate, industrialize, and curate the technologies of EMC, VMware and Pivotal. 2015 had a lot of great solutions work – but it still hasn’t been turnkey enough, curated enough. We can do that. It will take a little longer – but that’s the big opportunity.I can even dream of a day where all IT is consumed as a Platform. VCE is now the Converged Platforms Division of EMCOur mission is simple:Shift customers upward towards “buy vs. build.” Focus on delivering the business outcome – the cake, not the ingredients.Broaden the domain of Converged Infrastructure with a portfolio of Blocks, Racks, and Appliances.Raise the bar on defining new commodity into the IaaS/PaaS/Data Fabric domain. Bring the simplicity of public cloud IaaS/PaaS models to cases where the right answer is on-premises.Help power Virtustream and other parts of the Federation that deliver those elements as managed services and public cloud offers.Now, in addition to leading VCE, I continue to lead the EMC Global Systems Engineering community. All of my almost brothers and sisters in the EMC SE team will now be able to tap into the resources of VCE and vice versa. We can get the same 1+1=3 with the sales teams, the engineering teams, the customer service and professional services teams. That is powerful!VCE as the Converged Platform Division is at the center of EMC’s business strategy. Converged Platforms – both Infrastructure (Blocks, Racks, Appliances) and Solutions (IaaS, PaaS, Data Fabrics) are at the center of what customers want – and represent a path towards a simplified and accelerated IT world.It’s an incredible team, an incredible opportunity – and 2016 will be an AWESOME year! I’m PUMPED!Forward-Looking Statement LegendThis release contains “forward-looking statements” as defined under the Federal Securities Laws. Actual results could differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements as a result of certain risk factors, including but not limited to: (i) risks associated with the proposed acquisition of EMC by Denali Holdings, Inc., the parent company of Dell, Inc., including, among others, assumptions related to the ability to close the acquisition, the expected closing date and its anticipated costs and benefits; (ii) adverse changes in general economic or market conditions; (iii) delays or reductions in information technology spending; (iv) the relative and varying rates of product price and component cost declines and the volume and mixture of product and services revenues; (v) competitive factors, including but not limited to pricing pressures and new product introductions; (vi) component and product quality and availability; (vii) fluctuations in VMware, Inc.’s operating results and risks associated with trading of VMware stock; (viii) the transition to new products, the uncertainty of customer acceptance of new product offerings and rapid technological and market change; (ix) risks associated with managing the growth of our business, including risks associated with acquisitions and investments and the challenges and costs of integration, restructuring and achieving anticipated synergies; (x) the ability to attract and retain highly qualified employees; (xi) insufficient, excess or obsolete inventory; (xii) fluctuating currency exchange rates; (xiii) threats and other disruptions to our secure data centers or networks; (xiv) our ability to protect our proprietary technology; (xv) war or acts of terrorism; and (xvi) other one-time events and other important factors disclosed previously and from time to time in EMC’s filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. EMC disclaims any obligation to update any such forward-looking statements after the date of this release.
If you have always wanted a home orchard, fall is the perfect time to plant one.Small fruits like blueberries and blackberries are simple to grow, but tree fruits are more challenging. Begin with trees that are dormant and soil that has suitable moisture to establish the root system.Location, location, locationFirst, select the location of your orchard. Fruit trees will grow and produce on a broad range of soil types, but the best yields and longest-lived trees are planted on loamy, well-drained soil.Good internal drainage is essential. Do not plant trees on a site where water stands for more than an hour following a heavy rain. If a hardpan or poorly drained clay layer is present, the roots will develop poorly, and the plant may eventually die.Avoid sites on the north side of tall trees or buildings. Fruit trees need a minimum of 6 hours of sunlight, but 8 to 10 hours is even better. Full sunlight is necessary for maximum tree vigor and fruit production.Right variety for your areaSelect varieties adapted to your soil and climatic conditions. Without sacrificing too much yield or quality, select varieties with insect and disease resistance. Plant several varieties of the same kind of fruit that mature at different times to prolong your harvest. If you plan to freeze, can or preserve your crop, pick varieties that are best suited for those uses.Cross-pollination is necessary for satisfactory fruit-set in many tree fruits. Plant at least two apple, pear, plum and blueberry varieties. Most peach, nectarine and plum varieties are sufficiently self-fruitful to set satisfactory crops. Dwarf trees lend themselves perfectly to the home garden. They produce fruit earlier than standardized trees, occupy less space and can be more easily pruned and sprayed for pests. Buy the best, get the bestObtain the best nursery stock available. Buy only from reputable nursery operators who guarantee their plants to be true to name, of high quality and shipped correctly. Beware of “basement bargains.” High prices do not necessarily mean high quality, but good, well-grown nursery stock is not cheap. If you mail-order trees, unpack the bundles immediately and inspect the trees. The roots and packing material should be moist and the bark should show no signs of withering. If not planted immediately, put the trees in refrigerated storage to hold them dormant or “heel” them in a trench of moist soil in a shady location.One-year-old trees are usually preferred. A common mistake made by many homeowners is to select oversized or ready-to-bear nursery trees. Experience has shown that younger trees bear almost as soon, are easier to keep alive and develop into more healthy vigorous trees than do oversized stock. Older trees cost more to grow and are sold at higher prices, but are usually worth less.Till and amend the soilPrepare the soil the same way you prepare the soil in your vegetable garden. Take a soil sample to your local University of Georgia Extension office and follow the recommendations. Deeply till the area to break up compacted soil. Place the tree so that the graft union is just above ground level. Begin filling the hole with pulverized or amended soil. Tamp backfill soil thoroughly to eliminate air pockets. Before the hole is completely filled, add 2 to 3 gallons of water to settle the soil. At planting, the main shoot of fruit trees should be headed back to 30 inches above the ground. This procedure allows branches to form at desired levels, improves the strength of the tree and provides a balance between the top and the roots.Do not apply fertilizer until the spring. Then use almost any type of fertilizer. Complete mixes used on lawns (i.e. 5-10-10) are satisfactory. Organic materials may be used, but it is important to provide the same quantities of plant nutrients. Fruit trees can withstand long periods of drought, but irrigation is very beneficial during certain critical stages of growth. Bearing trees need irrigation during the six-week period prior to ripening. Young trees need irrigation during any dry period of the summer. Soaker hoses or drip irrigation are the best ways to efficiently irrigate fruit trees.For more information on planting a home orchard, search the UGA Extension publication website at www.caes.uga.edu/publications/.