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Rima Robinson

Rima Robinson

Primary Storage Enablement Manager

Be Your Customers’ Application Transformation Problem Solver

During a recent customer conversation around application challenges, I found myself going down a deep, technical rabbit hole.

It felt reminiscent of my early years in the EMC Executive Briefing Center. At that time, my team used performance charts to illustrate an EMC solution’s performance versus the competition. Around the same time, EMC announced two new software solutions for our flagship Symmetrix product line—TimeFinder and SRDF. Conversations immediately elevated to solving customer pain points … Y2K, for example. 

Conversations like those will raise you from commodity box pusher to valuable problem solver.

I’m not saying the bits and bytes don’t matter to some people—because we know they do matter, but they do not get you in front of the business decision makers.

Consider how this problem solving creates fresh dialogue with an entirely new set of prospects: application owners

For example … Customer X develops a plan to optimize processes or eliminate existing roadblocks or challenges. It is imperative to the business owners that the plan is completed as proposed, and the application then becomes the “face” of that plan.

Ask a few key questions that can help you create new opportunities and establish yourself as a valued problem solver, with help from EMC XtremIO.

Questions that help you get beyond the basics, like:

  • What are you trying to accomplish?
  • Will this change help bring a new application online sooner?
  • Are you looking to provide application testers immediate access to fresh data?
  • Will this application enable undisrupted QA testing?

EMC XtremIO provides a solution to some of the most common customer pain points

Application Problem Solver

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) and End-User Computing (EUC)

The Customer Need:

Access from anywhere, to applications on the go, and from any device

Common Pain Points:

  • The centralization of hundreds (or even thousands) of previously dedicated desktop resources creates extremely random, unpredictable, and “bursty” choke points for the VDI input/output (I/O) profile
  • Traditional storage architectures restrict customers from delivering on the promise of VDI/EUC at scale
  • Poor user experience and administrative challenges make it unfeasible to extend BYOD (bring your own device) beyond pilot stage

The EMC XtremIO Solution:

  • XtremIO delivers better-than-physical-desktop user experience for all user/desktop types
  • Advanced data reduction enables incredibly cost-effective deployments—even for full clones
  • Rapid desktop provisioning without any I/O “storm” facilitates worry-free scaling from pilot to production (and beyond)


The Customer Need:

Consistent performance and SLAs within a virtualized environment; ability to house mission-critical applications in a central virtualized environment

Common Pain Points:

Inconsistent performance within virtualized environments forces many IT organizations to keep their mission-critical performance-sensitive applications on separate physical silos, and results in:

  • Complex operations
  • Cumbersome deployments
  • Massive infrastructure overprovisioning
  • A rigid and unwieldy IT environment (that can’t accommodate changing business needs)

The EMC XtremIO Solution:

  • Virtualization of multiple workloads—mixed tier and multiple T-1—on a common storage platform
  • Consistent, predictable performance at any scale
  • A drastically reduced total storage footprint improves IT agility and speed
  • Rich portfolio integration enables critical data center services

Microsoft SQL Server

The Customer Need:

Increased response, efficiency, and workflow agility from expanding, increasingly complex SQL Server databases and applications

Common Pain Points:

  • Even as SQL Server applications become larger and more complex, service windows shrink and organizations ask IT departments to cut costs and increase efficiency
  • Businesses demand improved response times; and IT administrators and SQL Server database administrators struggle to find solutions to keep up with SLAs and performance metrics, and to increase efficiency and workflow agility

The EMC XtremIO Solution:

  • XtremIO delivers unparalleled levels of performance operational efficiency (ease-of-use, low physical space, power consumption, and heat generation)
  • Advanced storage array features—including deduplication, thin provisioning, and XtremIO Virtual snapshots—deliver significant benefits compared to traditional implementations
  • XtremIO storage systems drive higher consolidation ratios and significantly improve the user experience at the application level … and thus dramatically lower the overall IT infrastructure cost in virtual server, virtual desktop, database, analytics, and business intelligence environments

Dig deeper into each of these customer challenges—and how EMC XtremIO can help

We’ve developed a series of both live and on-demand XtremIO webinars to help you get deeper into the what, why, and how XtremIO can solve each of these common customer challenges and more.

Here are just a few examples of currently available XtremIO on-demand webinars:

Access all of the on-demand XtremIO webinars, here. Check back often—new content is added regularly.

For more information, tools, and resources, visit the XtremIO Enablement Center.

In Case You Missed It:
EMC All-Flash on Tap at GPS 2016

… And 3 things you can do RIGHT NOW to win more opportunities with the EMC All-Flash portfolio

Thanks to the more than 2,300 EMC Partners in attendance this year, EMC World and Global Partner Summit (GPS) 2016 were hugely successful. From exciting product announcements—including the new Unity product line—to engaging keynotes, our Partners saw first-hand how EMC’s cutting-edge Data Center Modernization strategies and All-Flash technologies will transform both the IT industry and our customers’ businesses.

All-Flash on Tap#ModernDataCenter, Inflection Points, and Unity Kegerators … Oh my!

An overwhelming number of EMC Partners attended our GPS 2016 breakout session, Modernize Without Compromise: Tap into the EMC All-Flash Portfolio.

If you were part of the enthusiastic #ModernDataCenter discussion with Mike Wing, EMC Senior Vice President of Primary Storage, we thank you! And, if you missed the session or couldn’t join us in Las Vegas, don’t worry—the conversation has just begun.

The heavily attended breakout session discussion centered around:

Our customers tell us that they crave efficiency and blazing speed in their data centers; and, at the same time, must find ways to drive down ownership and operational costs. They’re also looking for agility—in the ability to deliver new services in a manner that’s as quick as Cloud.

EMC’s Modernize Without Compromise message includes a modern business model which consists of:

  • A modern pricing approach
  • All-inclusive software licensing
  • Maintenance at 11% of the net purchase price per year

Mike Wing also discussed the importance of strategic inflection points—defined as turning points, or times of significant change in a strategic situation. Mike shared the following thoughts on strategic inflection points from Only the Paranoid Survive by Andy Grove, former Intel CEO.

Grove says, strategic inflection points:

  • Can be DEADLY to an opportunity if not acknowledged and addressed
  • Create opportunities for those players who are adept at operating in a new way
  • Must be seized! The first mover—and only the first mover—has a true opportunity to gain time over his or her competitors; and a time advantage is the surest way to gain market share

Jack Rondoni, Brocade Vice President of Storage Networking, shared how critical network modernization is to the support of new all-flash storage systems Running all-flash storage without maximum network speed and throughput is like driving a high-performance automobile on low-end tires … Doing so will severely limit its ability to achieve its all-flash capabilities.

#EMCModernDatCenter #Brocade Contest

From left: James Rogan, Jack Rondoni, grand prize winner Chris Ashby, Mike Wing

During the session, Mike Wing—along with James Rogan, EMC Director of Primary Storage Channel Sales, and Jack Rondoni—announced the winners of the #EMCModernDataCenter #Brocade contest, which challenged EMC Partners to create and submit a video showcasing their knowledge and understanding of EMC’s Modern Data Center pitch for a chance to win one of three cash prizes from sponsor Brocade.





Of the many creative and compelling video submissions, the following three stood out:

$2,500 3rd Place Winner: Walter Rival, Eastern Computer Exchange Inc.

$5,000 2nd Place Winner: Eric Marzock, CDW

$7,500 Grand Prize Winner: Chris Ashby, ATEA

(Just listen to the song the ATEA team created … Outstanding!)

In addition to the #EMCModernDataCenter #Brocade contest prizes, we kept the session excitement going with fantastic Partner giveaways, including, 4 Unity Kegerators, Beats by Dr. Dre wireless headphones, and Apple Watches.

What is the value to you, our EMC Partners?

It’s simple. The all-flash addressable market is HUGE.

  • More than 500K customer systems are just waiting to be modernized—giving you a sizeable opportunity.
  • EMC’s flash portfolio leaves NO GAPS, and can fits a customer’s use, requirement, and application needs—with the low- to mid-range Unity All-Flash family, the application-centric XtremIO, the massively scalable VMAX All Flash, or the unmatched application performance of DSSD D5.

Compete and win with the EMC All-Flash portfolio … And, grab your share of the $18 billion primary storage total addressable market:


Why “Good Enough” Is NOT Good Enough

Earlier this month, while attending a conference, I had some great conversations with EMC channel partners about EMC XtremIO AFA and its application transformation capabilities. Throughout these discussions, multiple partners shared that they’ve seen competitive losses occur when a customer feels that “good enough” is good enough. I wish I could say that this conference marked the first time I heard this sentiment. Yet, during my years at EMC, I’ve spoken to many customers who solely equate value with “price per .. insert the customers metric..” rather than true overall value, the “good enough” scenario.

The struggle to view value beyond purchase price is common and customers often come to meetings with preconceived ideas around their needs or wants, many meetings are initiated to address resource needs around a specific project or initiative. And, while many customers cannot recognize the value of a product beyond the project at hand, this myopic vision can hurt the customer’s business in the long run.

It’s time for customers to look beyond the next project … And, instead, show your customers the long-term value that a product like EMC XtremIO can bring to their businesses.

Here is your bag of tools for the “good enough” is NOT good enough discussion:

Mixed workload consolidation is a key to beyond “good enough” flash storage


With EMC XtremIO a business can consolidate production, non-production workloads and mixed characteristic workloads onto a single platform that meet SLA requirements. This one platform can be utilized for everything from application testing to backup/recovery to upgrades with our unique integrated copy data management (iCDM).

  • Saves Customers time and money on capacity and capacity planning:  iCDM allows for zero-dollar copies, instantaneously and without disrupting production.
  • Reduces Time-to-Market:  iCDM allows businesses to move more quickly—whether through an internal application upgrade, new application implementation to improve processes, or even product development and testing.  EMC XtremIO’s iCDM capabilities have helped customers improve their application development process by 40%!  It’s important to note that the 40% process improvement is driven by the benefits of our 100% in-memory, data services and not the flash media.
  • Enables Self-Service: Coupled with the AppSync® iCDM Starter Bundle, we offer rich application workflow orchestration and automation which sets XtremIO (even further) apart from all other All-Flash-Array vendors in the market today.


One application owner at a large Telco told me he must submit a written request to the storage owner in order to have test copies created —which can take about a week to allocate and has costs associated with it … Tell me:  How is this good enough?

Rich features and functionality come standard with EMC XtremIO


“Good enough” flash storage doesn’t come with fully-integrated services, creating additional purchase costs and management requirements. And, don’t forget about extra application integration and testing. Not so with XtremIO—it comes fully integrated with rich features and functionality built in, meaning that there are no extras to buy and the management is simple and can be automated. But more importantly, EMC XtremIO features are inline, all the time!  Many “good enough” arrays will offer some of these data services as “check-box” features, but when their array gets busy, they turn them off.  Disabling data services when you need them most does not sound “good enough”.  In addition, EMC has a full ecosystem surrounding EMC XtremIO and deep level of integration already complete with many of the applications your customer is using today. Yes, we’ve done it for you.

It’s always been done this way – won’t work anymore


Your customer may provide capacity requirements, based on what they’ve experienced to be true. This is your opportunity to demonstrate how EMC XtremIO can greatly reduce a customer’s capacity requirements with its inline, all-the-time deduplication and compression … again, which are built-in, not extra. Show how the elimination of redundant data and reduction in storage requirements will provide room to grow today, tomorrow, and into the future.

“good enough” can lead to higher OPEX costs


The basics—power, cooling, floor space—equate to increased spending. How about having this discussion with your customer… “Let me tell you how EMC XtremIO has efficiencies that reduce your OPEX and keep it low, and here is how”  ESG lab performed hands-on testing of EMC XtremIO.  The testing was designed to show how XtremIO can be used to help consolidate workloads and infrastructure as well as provide benefits that can help optimize the daily operation of the business.
Among other findings which you can read about in the full article
here, these are some highlights:

  • 6.0X Lower on Power and Cooling Costs – Consolidating with XtremIO requires far less hardware thanks to intelligent design and ultra-space efficiencies.  XtremIO requires fewer controllers, enclosures, and disks while providing far lower latency operations.
  • 2.2X Lower Support and Maintenance – Fewer systems to keep hardware and software support and maintenance contracts on.
  • 5.8X Lower Administrative Costs –This included: 98% less time planning for growth and resource optimization, 68% less daily task system management time, 67% less time planning application deployment and optimization, 71% less time managing backups, 88% less time managing copies of data (iCDM)


Customers are also documenting their OPEX savings.  MOEN reduced their footprint by 70%. Callaway Golf reported a 75% reduction in floor space and roughly 35% savings per year for same amount of raw storage capacity. Read more about these and other customer profiles here.


The Xpect More 2.0 program is another antidote to the “good enough is good enough” way of thinking. This program delivers unprecedented value in the world of storage, and offers:

  • Lifetime Maintenance Price Protection
  • 3-Year Investment Protection / Warranty Coverage
  • Lifetime Flash Endurance Protection

Feel free to reach out to me with any questions at, XtremIO Partner Enablement

3 Actions You Can Take to Positively Impact Your Customers’ IT Organizations

I think most of us try to make a difference in our customers’ businesses. And, when we understand our customers’ pain points, we are better able to provide solutions that address their needs and positively impact their organizations.

Help your customers solve their data sprawl issues with EMC XtremIO integrated copy
data management (iCDM)

Critical business processes require multiple copies of each database’s and application’s data for development, analytics, operations, and data protection. To improve organizational agility and competitiveness, more is better—more copies, more frequently, with more operational self-service across the process cycles.

Today, industry analysts, vendors, and customers alike consider copy data management (CDM) a true challenge …Typically there are 5-12 copies for each production database.. A $44billion challenge, according to IDC. In addition, IDC estimates that up to 60% of an organization’s IT storage hardware and infrastructure budget is consumed by copy data management—and copy data sprawl.[1] As a result, to many IT organizations, CDM represents an immense financial and operational burden.

EMC XtremIO pioneered the concept of integrated Copy Data Management, or iCDM. Simply put, iCDM is the ability to consolidate both primary data and its associated copies on the same scale-out all-flash array, and delivers an effective, scalable and space efficient option for integrated CDM.

EMC XtremIO iCDM is built from the following foundations:

·     Bullet-proof, consistent IOPS and latency, and the ability to scale out more performance as needed
·     Allows instant creation of high performance copies of any data set, using in-memory XtremIO Virtual Copy technology (XVC). XVC enables copies creation of nearly any quantity, space- efficient, with full data services with no impact on SLAs
·     Application integration and automation into rich application workflows using EMC AppSync.
·     Ability of application, database and development owners to self-serve manage the generation and provisioning of copies

icdm stack.jpg

Therefore EMC XtremIO iCDM enables copies that are:

·     Space efficient (Capacity and Metadata)
·     High performance
·     Instant to create, refresh, delete or recover
·     Nearly unlimited in quantity
·     Managed through a flexible, integrated application workflow

When built into primary storage, iCDM can eliminate up to 80% of copy data challenges and
is much more cost-effective than software-based approaches.

EMC XtremIO  iCDM enables accelerated development, productivity gains, reduced operational risk, better decision making, and faster recovery.

EMC XtremIO iCDM has caught the attention of industry experts and analysts. Here are just a few of the articles:

EMC XtremIO iCDM is a unique differentiator that only EMC offers. Use this “secret weapon” to combat your customers’ copy data management issues.
Here are three things you can do to positively impact your customers’ IT organizations—and your bottom line—with EMC XtremIO iCDM:

1.   Identify the right customer contacts—the application-focused people—who struggle with making multiple copies for testing, analytics, operations (like patches), upgrades, or tuning. Show them how EMC XtremIO iCDM can transform business processes and infrastructure.

2.   Demonstrate the transformational capabilities of EMC XtremIO.

3.   Ask customers how their organizations would benefit from the ability to:
  • Provide application teams separate lifecycle copies instantly—with no space or SLA impact?
  • Deliver real-time and on-demand decision-support extractions, and the resulting accelerated analytics workflows?
  • Deploy an all-flash infrastructure to achieve dramatically improved performance at LESS THAN HALF the cost of an existing infrastructure?
  • Reduce storage sprawl—while streamlining dev/ops, QA, BI/analytics and data protection—to create a transformed, more agile organization?

With EMC XtremIO iCDM, every single one of these abilities is within reach.

At the end of the day, our business is about making a difference. It’s about showing customers a better way to complete all necessary, daily tasks … easier, faster, and cheaper (Yes, I said cheaper!). It’s about not relying on separate environments that require significant budget and staff resources to manage, test, develop, and deliver a single solution. And, it’s about helping customers realize TCO and operational savings.

Feel free to reach out to me with any questions at , XtremIO Partner Enablement

Take a Look Behind EMC XtremIO and the All Flash Array “Curtain”—Marketing Hype or True Competitive Advantage?

When it comes to all flash array (AFA) selection, it can be easy to fall for the flashy (pun intended) presentation that contains seemingly clear advantages over the competition. It’s important look beyond the slick appearance to see if there’s substance to back up the claims, or if it’s purely a case of smoke and mirrors.


Understanding the whole story—without the hype—is critical …Your reputation and customer relationships depend upon it. 


Deliver long-term value and no compromise to your customers with EMC XtremIO


XtremIO is the industry’s leading AFA with 34% market share according to Gartner’s revised market share numbers (August 2015).[1] And, even as the flash market continues to expand, we expect that XtremIO will continue to lead over #2 IBM and #3 Pure Storage.


Why? It’s simple – As EMC’s Josh Goldstein stated in his August 2015 blog post, From Zero to a Billion in 588 Days – XtremIO Enters the Enterprise Computing Record Books:


We’re gaining market share because XtremIO is more than just a fast array. It’s enabling new use cases for application teams like integrated copy data management for database development, rapid devops for software organizations and on-demand reporting and analytics for line-of-business owners. We’re gaining share because we’re enabling the IT application and storage opportunities for the next decade, not the last one.


When comparing “comparable” AFA products, consider whether it’s a true head-to-head comparison; or, if one product includes built-in differences designed to make it appear stronger than it actually is. Customers shouldn’t be forced to choose between options, sacrificing some features in favor of others. Customers should have the ability to choose all the features and functionality needed to enable all consolidated workloads and to achieve application transformation. 


While we have been named a pioneer in the evolution of flash, at EMC we understand that a product’s long-term value goes beyond technical specifications alone. 


When positioning XtremIO against other AFA products, encourage your customers and prospects to consider the following:


·      Does the product have transformational technologies that allow for No Excuses as discussed by Josh Goldstein of XtremIO.

XtremIO delivers on the promise of fast performance yes, but it is the unique data efficiency through always-on in-memory data services that allows for the transformations.


·      Does the vendor deliver and support industry-proven technologies that span converged, application self-service, orchestration, BC/DR and more?

Dedicated XtremIO engineers focus on both feature functionality and integration with best-in-class portfolio of products. Today, EMC XtremIO works with many other EMC and Partner portfolio products such as RecoverPoint, VPLEX, PowerPath, AppSync, VBlock for converged and—just announced—ProtectPoint as well as integration with Oracle, Microsoft, VMWare, and SAP for example. 


     Does the vendor demonstrate confidence in its product quality?


EMC confidently stands up for XtremIO with the XtremIO Xpect More Program. The XtremIO Xpect More Program includes: XtremIO Maintenance Price Protection, XtremIO Investment Protection, and XtremIO Flash Endurance Protection.


·      Will the vendor continue to invest in its products?

EMC is committed to delivering the best solutions in the industry, and spends a significant amount—a cumulative investment of $20.7B since 2005—on research and development in order to keep our products best-in-class.


·     How responsive is the vendor to customer needs?


EMC is committed to helping both partners and customers succeed throughout their digital transformation. Our dedication to the total customer experience has been recognized with our highest recorded net promoter score in 2014, as well as by “awards for Innovation in Customer Commitment and Innovation in Enabling Customer Success from the Technology Services Industry Association.”[2] 


Whereas some competitors loudly tout their superiority while hoping customers don’t look to see what’s behind the hype, EMC XtremIO delivers real, long-term value.  Leverage the XtremIO competitive whiteboard videos and use cases found in the XtremIO FASTPASS to help you demonstrate XtremIO’s lasting and differentiated value.  Bring your application focused customers to the Unleash the Beast tour coming to a city near you.

[1] Gartner, Market Share Analysis: SSDs and Solid-State Arrays, Worldwide, 2014, May 2015, revised August 2015.

[2] EMC Corporate Profile,


Feel free to reach out to me with any questions at , XtremIO Partner Enablement

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