Cisco, EMC, VMware Join Forces for New vBlock Cloud Systems

 
 
By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2009-11-03
 
 
 

Three IT giants-networking leader Cisco Systems, virtualization expert VMware and storage provider EMC-revealed Nov. 3 that they have formed a new joint venture, the Virtual Computing Environment, to produce cloud computing systems called vBlocks that integrate hardware and software from all three companies.

The coalition-along with processor maker Intel-also announced that is starting up a new, shared-equity company called Acadia to handle the specifics of marketing the new vBlock systems.

vBlocks are preintegrated, preconfigured computing systems consisting of networkware from Cisco, storage/security/system management from EMC, and virtualization software from VMware. The resulting cloud computing systems will range in size from hundreds of virtual machines to more than 6,000 virtual machines, depending upon the need of the customer.

vBlock systems will range in price from "the low hundreds of thousands to multimillions [of dollars]," EMC President and CEO Joe Tucci told a Webcast audience. Tucci appeared with VMware CEO Paul Maritz and Cisco CEO John Chambers in a TV talk show-type format to make the announcements.

Cisco, EMC and VMware-through Acadia-also will offer an "a la carte"-type cloud computing option that will enable customers to select other components from non-coalition companies, such as NetApp, Dell, Hewlett-Packard and IBM. However, these systems will not be considered vBlocks, Tucci said.

"I believe that this will be the partnership and coalition that people will look back upon and say changed data centers and clouds forever," Chambers said.

The VCE coalition and its Acadia offshoot represent a refinement of the Cisco Unified Computing System that was announced March 16.

In the UCS, EMC and NetApp provide a substantial amount of the storage capacity. BMC provides the provisioning, change management and configuration software in the stack. VMware and Microsoft both offer their virtualization layers-depending on the choice of the customer-and Accenture helps shape individual product solutions for customers.

NetApp, BMC, Microsoft and Accenture were nowhere to be found in the Nov. 3 coalition announcement. BMC BladeLogic, however, is the only systems management solution integrated and OEM'ed by Cisco for UCS.

The new venture had been rumored for several months. Acadia, which will start with a staff of 130, will be a stand-alone entity with its own CEO and executive staff. A headquarters location has not yet been identified.

Tucci said that the coalition is now in the process of recruiting a chief executive and that Acadia should be open for business beginning Jan. 1, 2010.

Acadia will be the entity responsible for creating and supplying a conglomeration of IT hardware, software and services from the four partners aimed at any size business customer that wants to build a private cloud to serve as its own IT system. 

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