Where Does VMware Play In Cisco-EMC Alliance?

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EMC and Cisco are raising the profile of their VCE Coalition to combine storage, server, networking, and virtualization resources into an integrated offering, a move causing many solution providers to question the value of VMware as an independent entity.

Moves to introduce VCE as a formal entity with a high-level top executive in charge call into question how that coalition will impact virtualization technology kingpin VMware’s relationships with companies such as HP and IBM, which are top rivals to EMC and Cisco,

The VCE (Virtual Computing Environment) Coalition, which is being led by EMC and Cisco, will mark its first public appearance by being a premier sponsor of EMC World, which will be held in Boston next week.

EMC and Cisco late Wednesday night also appointed Michael Capellas, the former Compaq chairman and CEO and former Hewlett-Packard president, to lead all aspects of the VCE Coalition. Capellas was also appointed to the complementary role of CEO of Acadia, a Cisco-EMC joint venture with investment from Intel and VMware.

EMC, Cisco, and VMware in November unveiled VCE and Vblock Infrastructure Packages, a series of pre-configured, pre-tested storage solutions based on EMC’s Symmetrix or Clariion storage arrays, Cisco’s Unified Computing System (UCS) and networking switches, and VMware’s vSphere server and cloud virtualization platform.

The two in November also introduced Acadia, a joint cloud infrastructure offering geared to service providers and large enterprises. Acadia is expected to be used to deliver Vblock architecture through the cloud and has seen investments from not only VMware but also Intel, on whose Intel Xeon processors the Vblock architecture runs.

EMC in February also appointed a high-profile channel executive, long-time channel chief Pete Koliopoulos, to head channel programs related to the Vblock coalition.

VCE, when it was first unveiled at EMC World in 2009, actually was an acronym for what at the time were touted as the three primary partners in the group: VMware, Cisco, and EMC.

However, by Fall of last year, VCE became known by its current formal name, Virtual Computing Environment, a change that helped de-emphasize the role of VMware.

That de-emphasis was needed because, while VMware is majority owned by EMC, it still operates as an independent company. As such, VMware partners with nearly all the major server vendors, including such companies as HP, IBM, and Dell.

At the same time, however, HP and IBM are arch-rivals to EMC on the storage side and Cisco on the server side.


NEXT: Is EMC Taking Risks With HP’s VMware Relationship?

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