In my recent tour of discussions, converged is one of the latest buzz words. Frankly, I usually poo-poo buzz words, but in this case I am a proponent because this one has distinct value. Converged as we see it includes reference architectures (i.e. FlexPod, HP Converged) integrated systems (i.e. vBlock, PureSystem, UCP Pro) and appliances (i.e. Nutanix, Pivot3).While value and return on investment will vary, to a degree the sales event is similar for each and is characterized by a marked shift from discussing components to a discussion about the application workload.
For end users this is not new. Frankly, when users buy computing components (storage, servers, networking) the application and work load are always top of mind in defining requirements. What had gotten lost in the sales conversation is how sales people and channel partners talked about the components and their value. This was probably because, in their minds, the end user had already decided on requirements and specifications, so they dived into a discussion of speeds and feeds. Or maybe it was just easier to discuss these details than to put in the effort to translate the application load to the equipment.
Now with converged systems sales, the conversation is shifting to a discussion of the business and transactions i.e. what a converged system does that directly impacts the speed and efficiency of day to day work. We hear much more from vendors and their partners about database acceleration or Exchange workloads. And they definitely have become aware of the nuances for VDI and VM blended workloads.
Performance measurements will now need to be done in the context of the intended application: Can the converged system support X transactions per hour for an SAP application? What does the configuration need to support 850 VMs which support the business? What is the performance expectation for the 1000 VDI / Mobile users?
A converged sale, while threatening to some channel partners, is a boost to those that focus on the business of the business. Once a converged conversation starts it is a very short walk to a managed cloud infrastructure where the channel partner becomes the managed services provider (or then maybe one leads to the other). Either way, the business discussion is about what compute infrastructure is needed to support the business and what is the most cost efficient mode to getting there. This leads to a discussion is on how the IT organization migrates much of its resources from managing components to delivering applications and the changes to supporting the business.