VCE Rolls Out Three Vblocks And Cloud Management Tools For Cisco, VMware Customers

VCE unveiled a trio of Vblock appliances Monday, including its first with all-flash storage in a move signaling the VMware-EMC-Cisco joint venture still has plenty of life despite competitive tensions.

The Vblock System 540, the all-flash model, uses EMC's XtremIO arrays, Cisco UCS servers and Cisco switches that support its ACI software-defined networking technology. It's built to handle databases, virtualized servers and mission critical business apps, Berna Devrim, VCE's director of products, solutions and services marketing, said in a Monday blog post.

VCE is also adding a new top-of-the-line model for enterprises, the Vblock System 740, which uses EMC's VMAX 3 storage. There's also the Vblock System 240, which uses EMC’s entry-level VNX5200 storage and is aimed at midsize businesses and remote offices.

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Bob Olwig, vice president of business strategy and marketing at World Wide Technology, a St. Louis-based VCE partner, told CRN he sees the new Vblocks as a way for VCE to tackle new types of workloads and improve the product line's scalability.

VCE also unveiled new cloud management software for customers running VMware and Cisco cloud infrastructure. Called VCE Integrated Solutions for Cloud Management, the software is pre-tested and pre-integrated to work with what organizations are already running in their data centers.

The Cisco version is designed for IaaS and Vblock virtual resource provisioning based on Cisco UCS Director, while the VMware version is built for VMware customers running its vRealize Suite management software, Devrim said in the blog post.

Kent MacDonald, vice president of converged infrastructure and network services at Long View Systems, a Calgary, Alberta-based VCE partner is impressed with the new offerings for a couple of reasons.

First, the cloud management software and targeted Vblocks show that VCE is listening to customers that want products tailored to their needs, MacDonald said.

"VCE Vblocks used to be more fixed but are now becoming a more customizable experience," he told CRN.

In addition, the new VCE products show the company is quickening its pace of innovation and responding to customer's feedback more quickly, which is the sign of its growing maturity, MacDonald said.

VCE also rolled out two "technology extensions" for Vblock customers, one which connects Vblocks to EMC Isilon storage, the other that lets Vblocks tap into Cisco UCS compute for resource-intensive apps like graphics processing, seismic modeling and digital media transcoding, Devrim said in the blog post.

VCE, which earlier this year said Vblocks were selling at a $1.8 billion run rate, has been the subject of industry chatter which suggests its coalition is fraying at the seams. But with the new products, VCE is showing it intends to make its Vblocks attractive to Cisco and VMware customers.