VCE is among the channel's most fascinating experiments: a joint venture of networking, storage and virtualization powers -- Cisco and EMC, with buy-in from VMware and Intel -- committed to the rapid creation of very tightly integrated data center stacks that are sold to customers, often as the basis for private clouds. Starting out, VCE suffered from deal-registration headaches, sales conflicts and more. But there have been been signs of a turnaround, even though, according to available financial data from Cisco and EMC, VCE is still being operated at a substantial loss. Analysis pegs Cisco's share of that loss at about $165 million cumulatively -- not an enormous amount but not quite small potatoes, either.
Rob Lloyd, Cisco's executive vice president, worldwide operations, told CRN in a recent interview that VCE is a success. But behind the scenes, Cisco sales executives and several partners continue to grumble about the challenge of VCE-related deals, especially when Cisco has seen success with its Unified Computing System in other contexts. Overall, VCE continues to bear watching.