Cisco, EMC Pledge 'Complete Commitment' To VCE In Wake Of Dell Deal

Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins and EMC Information Infrastructure CEO David Goulden released a joint statement Thursday to partners and customers saying the two companies are committed to sticking with VCE.

"We want you to know that EMC and Cisco are completely committed to delivering value through VCE and our other joint solutions," said an open letter to "valued customers and partners" signed by Robbins and Goulden. "VCE will be a very important part of the new combined company, and EMC and Cisco are committed to working together to ensure that we continue to deliver the industry's best converged infrastructure customer experience. … You will experience no change in the pre-sales and post-sales engagement with VCE."

CRN first reported Tuesday that Robbins was in contact with Dell CEO Michael Dell to talk about continuing Cisco's relationship with EMC and VMware going forward.

[Related: Cisco's Chuck Robbins Set To Have Heart-To-Heart With Michael Dell]

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The statement comes in the wake of Monday's news that Dell would acquire EMC in a blockbuster $67 billion deal, which has major implications for the future of VCE. Converged infrastructure specialist VCE was formed in 2009 in a joint venture between EMC, Cisco and VMware.

"Vblock customers and partners can have confidence that we will continue to invest in the Vblock platform road map, ongoing customer operations and the valued customer experience," said the statement. "Vblock will remain exclusively based on Cisco UCS servers, Nexus networking and ACI technology. EMC remains committed to utilizing Cisco networking and the ACI architecture throughout the VCE offering portfolio."

Many Cisco partners believed the Dell-EMC acquisition would mark the end of Cisco's six-year relationship with VCE. The networking leader sold most of its stake in VCE to EMC last October, and now owns about 10 percent of the joint venture.

Cisco and VCE have long-term engineering, resale and support agreements in place to enable joint collaboration and business, according to the statement.

Cisco currently has more than 1,000 VCE customers, according to Rick Snyder, senior vice president for Cisco's Americas Partner Organization, who also serves as an executive sponsor of the EMC relationship.

"Michael Dell, [EMC CEO] Joe Tucci have already reached out to John [Chambers] and Chuck to assure them of the continued partnership and we strive for that to continue," said Snyder in an interview with CRN this week.

Robert Keblusek, chief technology officer of Downers Grove, Ill.-based Sentinel Technologies, a Cisco and EMC partner, said the news shows more promise for partners that VCE isn't going to be impacted by the Dell acquisition.

"We're incredibly optimistic now," said Keblusek. "I do believe they're committed to their customers -- VCE, EMC, Cisco and, I hope, Dell will be as well in the long term."

In an interview with CRN this week, Robbins said he sees an opportunity to partner with Dell-EMC in the future and isn't worried about potentially losing Cisco partners to the new combined company.

"Honestly, I think there are more opportunities for us to partner," said Robbins. " I'm very confident in Cisco's position in the partner community and I know our strategic intent with the partner community going forward, so I'm not concerned."