May 21st, HDS rolled out their announcement on Your Cloud, Your Way. What makes this interesting, was not necessarily the elements, rather a change in how HDS is talking to the market. Cloud, Your Way incorporated the elements of “How do we: Support IT in standing up a cloud internally? Manage the need for a Box.Net capability? Leverage an external cloud securely?” This is a decided change from the HDS briefings we have seen before, which focused on the cool new storage features (speed, density, management).
One might criticize that they are late with this discussion, in as much as EMC took us on their cloud journey 3 years ago. Or that while HDS corporate makes this announcement, how exactly will the field engage their clients with this type of conversation?
To the latter issue, HDS will need to make sure their field sales translates their capabilities to an customized, articulated plan. This includes the sales channel, some which tend to look for boxes that are refreshing, versus a storage / cloud strategy. It means engaging the discussion at an executive or architecture level.
As for being late to this journey, HDS has been talking cloud, but on a product or integration level. And since many of the IT organizations are just now moving to self-service or addressing the external use of cloud services, there is time to engage.
Both these issues means it is doubly important to raise the level of conversation with the client. Cloud, Your Way requires strategy development and architecture. Not just boxes. We have seen HDS do a great job with their Efficiency discussion and deploying David Merrill, chief economist, to help the customer define strategy. Now they will need to do the same with the Cloud, Your Way initiative.