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Cisco, EMC Beef Up Their Joint Cloud Offerings
Cisco, EMC Beef Up Their Joint Cloud Offerings

By Jennifer LeClaire
August 29, 2012 10:36AM

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"When VMware bought Nicira there was a lot of chatter in the industry about how VMware and or EMC are trying to create a more aggressive competitive environment against Cisco. When you see things like this, I think it shows that it's very far from the truth," said analyst Zeus Kerravala. Cisco and EMC are beefing up their joint cloud offerings.

The two networking giants say they are diving deeper into their partnership to accelerate IT transformation. Dubbed the "three paths to the cloud," the joint Cisco-EMC strategy includes custom-design infrastructure, validated reference architectures, and pre-integrated converged infrastructure.

Together, Cisco and EMC are rolling out joint reference architectures, aligned channel partner incentives, and integrated customer support to speed customers' path to the cloud.

Specifically, the two new Cisco Validated Designs for EMC VSPEX are unified computing reference architectures tailored to small- and mid-sized business customers (SMBs). The validated designs include (1) Cisco Solutions for EMC VSPEX for Microsoft Hyper-V Architectures, and (2) Cisco Solutions for EMC VSPEX for VMware vSphere 5.0 Architectures.

Cisco and EMC have also aligned their channel incentive structures to simplify the process of accruing incentives, which should help boost profitability for their channel partners, including distributors and value added resellers (VARs). In addition, they have implemented a customer support framework for VSPEX for collaborative case management.

Building on VCE Momentum

VCE stands for virtual computing environment and, not coincidentally, also refers to the joint venture between VMware, Cisco and EMC to offer virtual computing solutions.

Together, the three companies are pushing an integrated data center offering with end-to-end vendor visibility. The converged infrastructure promises to standardize processes and life cycle management to improve application availability and enable VCE's unique seamless support experience. VCE is reportedly on track to reach a $1 billion revenue run rate.

Building on VCE momentum, Josh Kahn, vice president of Solutions Marketing at EMC Corporation, said the company is accelerating its Cisco partnership on VSPEX to address market requirements for best-of-breed reference architectures offered exclusively via the channel. Kahn explained that channel partners are seeking solutions that reduce complexity and simplify the deployment for their customers.

"Many of the customers we work with want to deploy a cloud, but aren't quite sure how to do so quickly and easily," said Joe Coxon, business development manager at Synapse, one of EMC's channel partners. "VSPEX is a powerful solution that helps us deploy clouds for our customers quickly and efficiently. By leveraging our expert understanding of client requirements, and Cisco's and EMC's industry-leading technologies, we can deliver a complete solution that matches our customers' business needs."

Friendly Competitors?

We turned to Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst at ZK Research, to get his take on the latest partnership moves between Cisco and EMC. He told us despite the industry rumors that Cisco is going to move to buy a network appliance company and begin competing with EMC more heavily on the storage side, this announcement shows that Cisco and EMC are still strong partners -- and he doesn't see that changing over time.

"When VMware bought Nicira, there was a lot of chatter in the industry about how VMware and or EMC are trying to create a more aggressive competitive environment against Cisco. When you see things like this, I think it shows that it's very far from the truth," Kerravala said.

"This market is becoming a game of stacks. EMC and VMware have realized that the combination of the three can provide more value in the stack wars than trying to do it alone. The relationship between those three companies is very strong and a lot of the industry chatter out there about the competitiveness is just flat-out wrong right now."

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