Systems, EMC and VMware announced a collaborative effort Tuesday to help businesses transition to private
environments through the use of pervasive data-center
technology. Called the Virtual Computing Environment (VCE) coalition, the joint effort promises to enable organizations of all sizes to realize efficiencies that will result in significant reductions in both capital and operating expenses.
The joint offering will be based on fully integrated, tested and validated Vblock Infrastructure Packages that combine virtualization, networking, computing, , security and management technologies from the three partners.
In a parallel move, Cisco and EMC unveiled a new joint venture called Acadia that is committed to helping customers build, operate and transfer private cloud infrastructures based on the Vblock architecture.
"This coalition is about more than technology and partnership," said Cisco CEO John Chambers. "It is about an entirely new and unique approach to the data center that improves utilization, consumption, and security of information -- all in a way that lowers the total cost to the customer -- not via a box, but with a -based architectural approach for optimizing virtual resources."
A Preintegrated Stack
With respect to Cisco's rivals, "this will keep them on their toes," said Frank Gillett, a vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research. However, the unveiling of Cisco's deal with EMC is merely incremental to the company's announcement earlier this year that it would become a server vendor, which clearly caught rivals off guard.
Moreover, it is only when companies intend to replace entire racks of gear that the new joint offering applies, Gillett observed. "What they are basically saying is, 'We will sell you a preintegrated stack of stuff that you don't have to integrate because we have set up a company called Acadia specifically to do this for you,'" he said.
The potential appeal of the new joint offering can be gauged by reading between the lines of a recent Forrester survey in which 72 percent of large companies reported using x86 server virtualization. But SMBs aren't quite as committed, with only 50 percent currently having x86 server virtualization on tap, which is "what the whole solution being offered by Cisco, EMC and VMware is based on," Gillett said.
The goal of the new joint effort is to enable customers to simply drop a premade package right into their data centers, Gillett observed. "It is amazing how highly integrated this is," Gillett said. "Keep in mind, however, that this type of integrated product is for those who want large-scale virtualized environments, and particularly VMware deployments."
An Interesting Innovation
From Gillett's perspective, Acadia is the more interesting aspect of Cisco's new partnership with EMC. "What appeals to us is they are keeping one organization in charge of implementing the product, so you know you can get Acadia to put it in for you," Gillett said. "To me, that's an interesting innovation."
The innovation is really about how EMC and Cisco intend to work around the fact that what they are offering will be coming from two different companies, Gillett explained. "So they have created a sort of integrated buying experience in order to compete with IBM or HP, which already offer this type of experience to their customers."
The reason is that Cisco and EMC do not want to become large-scale service providers. "Their aim is simply to make things better for their service partners by helping the customer get set up and get off to a good start, and that is different," Gillett explained. "With Acadia, they have a way to remotely manage the product for you and eventually transfer it over to a service provider."