VCE: Major Industry Implications

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2009-11-09 Print this article Print

"There are two major industry implications of this fact specifically and this coalition in general if it succeeds," Vellante wrote. "Namely: The winners are VMware, Cisco and EMC along with Intel and the six announced integrators.

"Furthermore, this coalition has great appeal to loyal EMC customers that are happy to build homogeneous EMC infrastructure and exist as predominantly EMC shops. [Secondly], the losers are IBM, HP, Microsoft, BMC, Dell, Sun/Oracle, NetApp, Hitachi, and every other storage player. One result is these non-Acadians are going to be much friendlier to Microsoft and Citrix."

Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT, is among those who believe the Cisco-EMC-VMware-Intel coalition has huge potential.

"Absolutely. There have always been strategic partnerships among IT vendors, but I can't think of another collaboration as deep or wide ranging as the one between Cisco, EMC and VMware," King told eWEEK.

"It's particularly important given that traditional vendors are amalgamating power, products and services -- such as HP with the EDS acquisition and Oracle with its pending purchase of Sun. If you measure the success of an initiative by the volume of competitors' FUD, VCE is likely to become a very big deal."

This is a road EMC has been on for a while, King said.

"Purchasing VMware allowed the company to begin acting as a 'virtual' systems vendor with any interested server or networking partner," King said. "EMC's relationship with Dell was an early iteration of this strategy, but Cisco's UCS initiative, in concert with VMware's Vsphere effort, has created the opportunity for a whole new dynamic. Should be an interesting next few months/years."

Another respected analyst had a different take on this.

"The main reason this coalition is unique is that neither EMC nor Cisco had holistic credibility by themselves," James Staten, principal analyst at Forrester Research, told eWEEK. "HP, IBM and Dell all have credible storage and server solutions and all have partnerships with VMware. I think this is more of a partnership of need than a trend we expect to see from others."

Staten said it's clear that EMC and VMware bring market presence and solutions in their areas that are proven and mature.

"[But] the same isn't true for Cisco UCS, and customers will remain skeptical about acquiring a new solution like UCS, even when it comes with the endorsement of these other players," Staten said.

"This helps, but it's more important that Cisco prove that UCS is a no-compromise server solution that requires enterprise customer references and that just takes time."

Is there any chance that IBM is falling behind when it comes to development and marketing of unified cloud-computing systems?

"Not at all," Staten said. "In fact, the Cisco-EMC solution [vBlock] is catchup with HP, IBM and Dell who already have virtual infrastructure-in-a-box solutions on the market. IBM's is CloudBurst, HP's is Blade System Matrix. Dell's is with Egenera and EqualLogic.

"I think what's most interesting about this development is that each of the above players [Cisco, EMC, VMware] are trying to make the case for a unified infrastructure as better than building a best-of-breed solution on your own. It's a somewhat old story that these vendors have been trying to tell for years. Is the story any better this time around? Not clear."

Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz

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