Different Approaches, Similar Systems

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2009-11-04 Print this article Print

UCS and CI are different names but fundamentally the same sort of data center system. Cisco and HP have very diverse production and go-to-market approaches, however.

Cisco, a networking hardware and software company that wants to become a data center systems supplier, has literally recruited its friends in the business to partner with it in the Acadia joint venture announced Nov. 3. Cisco CEO John Chambers and EMC President and CEO Joe Tucci are friends of more than two decades.

Tucci then recruited his friend, VMware CEO Paul Maritz, from Microsoft to run the virtualization giant for EMC; VMware is now the third partner in the Acadia startup. Former Intel CTO Pat Gelsinger is now at EMC, and, of course, Intel is a big player in all of this. There's no lack of corporate networking going on here.

Cisco clearly believes that to build the best-performing, most efficient and cost-effective data center, you have to bring in trusted outside experts. Thus, Cisco, EMC, VMware and Intel are the equity-sharing partners in Acadia, which plans to open its doors on Jan. 1, 2010.

"This brings together three companies that have a record of being open," Cisco's Chambers said. "We're not going to try to lock you in."

That is a matter of opinion. Cisco's take on the vBlock is obviously a proprietary one, in that a network-oriented Cisco UCS server is required to run it, EMC is needed to store the data and VMware is necessary to provide the operating system and virtualization layer. No substitutions are allowed in a vBlock deployment. Most people would call that lock-in.

Swap-outs are allowed in the regular Cisco UCS, but then the deployment becomes a hybrid of some kind. Cisco-EMC-VMware will sell you that, too, but it's not the same as a vBlock-branded solution, and the services that come with a hybrid are not the same.

In any case, Cisco doesn't have the product line that would allow it to pull the entire load of selling and supplying this heavy-duty new hardware and software by itself.

"There's no way one company can do all this by itself," Tucci said. "No way."

To all of this, Hewlett-Packard says, in effect: "Now, wait a second!"

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 Salesforce.com 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 DevX.com 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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