Disrupting server sales

EMC boss Joe Tucci answered some of my questions on virtualisation over a week ago, and I'm still pondering them.

More than a week has passed since EMC boss Joe Tucci answered some of my questions on virtualisation, and I'm still pondering what he had to say.

Ever since virtualisation technology first swept IT managers off their feet, the romance has continued to blossom across the country. However, its effect on server vendors has been front of mind for me.

I've pondered on this blog before how the technology can be a great help to IT managers in reducing server hardware expenditure, and how it could really hurt server salespeople.

I put these thoughts on whether virtualisation might be a "disruptive" technology to the server industry to Tucci at his media conference last month.

His response?

"How many servers do you think EMC sells? None. "So ask me how much I care," he said.

Jokes aside though, Tucci did acknowledge that helping IT managers reduce their server count didn't necessarily fit well with the profit model of VMware's parent company, EMC.

"Why the hell am I leading the charge with EMC to tell a customer you've got too much data," Tucci asked rhetorically.

"Why am I doing that? It's simple. It's the way the world's going and if I don't lead somebody else will do it then we'll get trampled."

Rather than be trampled, the answer for hardware vendors was in sales around virtualisation.

"Yes, you've got to pay for that software. Yes, you've got to pay for some services, but now you can buy less storage," he said.

"It's the server guys pushing it cause they're saying 'OK, it gives me the opportunity to sell bigger servers, more robust servers.'"

I understand where Tucci is coming from, but I'm yet to interview an IT manager on virtualisation who's said: "Yeah, I bought this virtualisation stuff and got stung for a heap of other things too".

All the IT managers I've talked to about virtualisation have been adamant they've come out ahead when it comes to long term costs.

Where do you stand? Is virtualisation key ammunition in your battle to lower IT costs? Or is it just another way for sales reps to stitch you up?