Cisco has tapped VMware, along with Intel, Accenture, Microsoft, SAP, EMC, Red Hat, and other companies, to partner in its launch of a Unified Computing System. VMware's virtualization tools are a vital part of Cisco's strategy to compete with IBM and HP in the enterprise data center space.
has announced the launch of its Unified Computing System, an
ecosystem that will incorporate a new blade server and the VMware
virtualization platform. Cisco's announcement positions the company to compete
against IBM and Hewlett-Packard in the enterprise data center space.
Cisco's other partners in the venture include Intel,
Accenture, Microsoft, SAP, EMC, Red Hat, and host of other IT vendors all
looking to expand their own ecosystem at that same time Cisco is expanding its
Cisco and VMware, having entered into an OEM (original equipment
manufacturer) agreement, anticipate that the relationship will eventually
provide a foundation for cloud-based services.
In a March 16 presentation, VMware CEO Paul Maritz claimed
the synchronization of the two companies' offerings as "the only evolutionary
road customers can walk on if they want to reach these levels of cloud-like
Maritz went on to predict that the release of the Unified
Computing System would increase the pace of virtualization adoption across the
"Not only the flexibility benefits, but the efficiency
benefits are going to make this one of those compelling events that
will...accelerate the trend toward virtualization," Maritz said.
VMware and Cisco have collaborated in the past. At
the 2008 VMworld conference,
the two jointly announced the development of a
software switch that could be used within virtual environments to manage, secure
and network virtual machines.
In 2007, Cisco
pumped more than $150 million into VMware right before the latter's highly touted
Ever since, VMware has denied persistent rumors of a Cisco buyout.
The VMware virtualization platform will allow the
Cisco Unified Computing System to support thousands of virtual machines; the
Unified Computing System will include the VMware vCenter suite of
virtualization-management products. Cisco is also introducing a series of
physical blade servers, code-named "California," that will run on the Intel
"We enter markets when we see inflection points occurring," Cisco CEO John
Chambers said during the presentation. "Today we're talking about unified
computing; then we'll talk about private clouds."
Analysts see the partnership as a mutually beneficial one.
"[Unified Computing System] is a more integrated platform to deliver
virtualization on; and now that Cisco is going to offer this directly in their
solutions, this is another big plug for using things like VMware," Jim Frey, an analyst with Enterprise Management Associates,
said in an interview. "Cisco also needs to ride the virtualization wave;
without that, they don't have a distinctive differentiation."
Overall, Cisco faces some heated competition with
its Unified Computing System, particularly when it comes to its new blade
servers - perhaps one of the reasons why the company played down the rollout of
the servers as part of its presentation.
"If they focus too much on the blade, they have to
focus on competing on that front," Frey said, adding that Cisco would
be "walking into a vicious firefight" against blade vendors such as
However, "Cisco is in a position that the other
blade server guys really aren't - and they're taking advantage of some of their