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As to whether Vblock positions Cisco, EMC and VMware as effective competitors against other data center architectures, Lloyd urged observers to focus on Vblock as a specific, value-added system offering from those three vendors, not an end-all, be-all.
"We think we've added a new choice on top of what's in the marketplace right now," Lloyd said. "If a customer likes VMware vSphere and they've had a good experience with EMC and they like Cisco networking, they're intrigued by the value proposition."
Lloyd also scoffed at the idea that Vblock was a proprietary solution being used by the vendors to box out potential competitors.
"It isn't proprietary, because customers can buy our technologies independently," Lloyd said. "They make a choice because of our reputation as technology innovators. We all maintain an open ecosystem of relationships with other companies. We're very open, but I think we've added value here."
"The level of commitment around joint selling, single support and a roadmap -- from a competitive perspective, you'd be hard pressed to find other competitors that provide that," offered Hatem Naguib, vice president of alliances at VMware.
The three vendors also dismissed the idea of Vblock limiting VAR choice of vendors for data center solutions.
"Our customers may decide they want VMware, Cisco and NetApp," Lloyd offered. "That can absolutely be what we think is a customer choice, but it isn't Vblock. Vblock is a specific management system, a security architecture and is an entirely integrated package. It's not a marketing announcement, it's a deep integration of some solid technology innovators."
"We all offer a la carte menu to put technologies together. There's not just one way to get to the nirvana of the private cloud, but we do believe there's a faster, less risky way," Hoffman said. "I would encourage you to test against those criteria. Is there a single selling entity? A single support organization? Joint venture services activity if required? What degree of ecosystem leverage is there?"
Lloyd declined to offer projections on the percentage of Cisco UCS sales that will end up going through Vblock. He did, however, confirm that new UCS blades will be using Intel Westmere CPUs, but said there were no plans to offer UCS powered by AMD or other chipmakers.