How would you feel if you had been a loyal lover for many years, and you would suddenly discover your other half spends the night with your rival? This kind of behaviour is very close to what happened at Canopy, EMC’s joint venture with Atos and VMware.
Financial investment in one partner over another creates a very difficult market environment for GSIs and ultimately compromises customers. There is quite a possibility that Canopy will be the preferred partner for incoming RFPs to EMC; and that EMC’s GSIs and partners will compete for business with Canopy.
It’s not the first time EMC’s partners are forced to compete with EMC itself. Before Canopy, there was VCE (Virtual Computing Environment). The recent Lenovo deal is another good example of EMC buying into alliances where channel conflict could be right at hand. To make a mistake once is forgivable, but for loyal GSIs, seeing continuous evolvement might bring hard feelings.
I believe it’s hugely compromising for the channel and it’s a scenario we categorically avoid. Just to be clear, NetApp’s model is *NEVER* to compete with our partners – we want an equal playing field and we want to work hand-in-hand to build cloud solutions with our partners.
We feel a responsibility to act fairly and to jointly drive the cloud solution market for ALL our partners. FlexPod is a great example of our way – we consciously chose to build an integrated solution as an alliance and to maintain an open architecture to enable the best options for our customers. We built an optimised platform which is aligned to the fast moving cloud market. We chose to build in the flexibility of working with a range of partners, to allow for future technology developments, simply to supply a best of breed stack to build on. Narrowing the cloud down to a few companies today does not reflect the reasons of the market to turn to the cloud in the first place.
In the zeal of a new relationship, it can be all too easy to forget the assets of the past. The customer of course is also affected by the converging landscape of competing consultants. The critical point to remember here is that the customer should and wants to be in control. This is exactly why we choose to partner equally across the SI and SP ecosystem – customers need be confident about the choices they make, knowing that they are open both now and in the future.
Whilst the Canopy threesome might appear like an attractive match, a long-term relationship looks unlikely. Clive Longbottom, an analyst with QuoCirca “doesn’t believe that the joint venture makes long term business sense for EMC”. He may have a good point: the future for joint ventures is terminal with the average lifetime in the IT industry just seven years. Maybe EMC felt the need to jump into bed with some interesting new partners, but for GSIs and EMC customers the seven year itch starts now.