Cisco, EMC, VMware Coalesce to Advance the Data Center

Vendors plan to deliver pre-built foundation solutions and enable private computing clouds

November 5, 2009

D.H. Kass

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Networking giant Cisco Systems Inc., storage king EMC Corp. and virtualization leader VMware joined forces on Tuesday in a far reaching partnership to deliver pre-designed, integrated solutions to help business customers advance the data center and maximize cloud computing services.

The three companies launched a coalition called the Virtual Computing Environment, the goal of which is to bond elements from each company’s data center offerings into a more cohesive, efficient and flexible product, called Vblock Infrastructure Packages, to help customers saddled with mixing and matching equipment from a variety of vendors locate simpler, more cost effective answers.

At launch the coalition’s founders spent a great deal of time explaining themselves and the thinking behind their partnership. Each went to great lengths to express the idea that they would work in concert with one another and to cement the coalition’s goal to safely lead customers toward private cloud computing.

“There’s a hope that cloud computing could help lower the cost of computing, making the cost more variable and providing IT flexibility,” said Joseph Tucci, EMC chief executive.

“To be fair, there’s also a lot of angst around the robustness, the reliability the security and the lack of control associated with cloud computing,” he said.

“To help our customers shift more of their IT budgets to activities that increase their level of productivity and competitive advantage and help them get the best out of what cloud computing has to offer, Cisco and EMC along with VMware have formed the virtual computing environment, or VCE coalition.”

VMware chief executive Paul Maritz said that “the fact is there are no easy solutions to the private cloud today. People have to try to assemble pieces themselves. The VCE coalition gives customers a pre-built foundation for a private cloud.”

John Chambers, Cisco chief executive, said that the union of the three companies would result in “bringing virtualization to our common customers.”

New Acadia venture to fast track private clouds

Together the three vendors, supplemented by an investment from Intel Corp., also will form an entity called Acadia, whose aim is to speed up the building of so-called private clouds among large enterprises and service providers. In private clouds, companies create their own online services through their data center and parcel computing resources internally.

EMC’s Tucci said that the new company currently lacks a chief executive but a search was on. Tucci said that Acadia would be staffed with about 130 people, tasked with helping customers to build out their private clouds. Acadia will work with customers and partners and will not serve as a resource for customers to outsource their virtual data centers, Tucci said.

Officials from the three vendors pointed to an expected market for data center virtualization of $85 billion by 2010 and suggested that their union will catalyze a partner community of system integrators, service providers, channel partners and developers.

In particular, Cisco immediately sought to outline the opportunity for its channel partners, specifically to integrate and deliver the Vblock solutions to customers.

“This announcement is very unique and very significant to our partner community,” said Edison Peres, Cisco senior vice president, worldwide channels go-to-market.

“It brings together market leaders with best-of-breed technologies, validated designs and end-to-end vendor accountability. This is unprecedented and it will accelerate customer demand,” he said.

Peres said that despite the pre-built designs of the Vblock solutions, there is still room for partners to differentiate themselves from one another.

“Bringing all of this together is the partner ecosystem,” Peres said. “This is a great opportunity for partners to increase their relevance, increase their differentiation and most importantly, increase their profits,” he said.

“We have always been committed to working with partners and in this coalition it’s no different—partners are at the core.”

The founders said that the coalition has set up pre-sales, professional services and support capabilities designed to ease barriers to engaging with customers.

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TAGS: cloud computing,EMC,data center,Cisco,VMware

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