EMC’s federation of companies are banding together to roll out new converged infrastructure systems for cloud and virtualized environments.
VCE, a company founded by EMC, VMware and Cisco Systems, on Feb. 4 said it is expanding its lineup of integrated infrastructure solutions with the VCE Foundation for Federation Enterprise Hybrid Cloud, which integrates VMware’s NSX network virtualization technology and vRealize management and orchestration software. In addition, the solution includes EMC’s ViPR software-defined storage (SDS) product.
VCE’s announcement came a day after EMC announced VSPEX Blue, a hyper-converged infrastructure offering that is built upon VMware’s EVO:RAIL—a software offering that integrates the company’s compute, storage and networking resources—and the storage giant’s own software. The appliance enables customers to spin out virtual machines in less than 15 minutes, and is aimed at such applications as infrastructure consolidation projects, virtual desktops and managed service providers, according to EMC.
The announcements from VCE and EMC dovetail with the growing demand from businesses embracing cloud computing for data center infrastructure solutions that are fast and easy to deploy and affordable.
“The shift toward hybrid cloud computing models is requiring IT organizations to deliver new services at unprecedented rates of speed and agility,” Todd Pavone, executive vice president of product strategy and development at VCE, said in a statement. “VCE is continuing its next phase of growth and innovation to deliver converged infrastructure solutions that further simplify and accelerate the deployment of hybrid cloud environments.”
The goal is to make things easier and cheaper for customers, according to Chuck Hollis, chief strategist for VMware’s Storage and Availability Business Unit.
“In the IT biz, all forms of converged infrastructure are now the rage,” Hollis wrote in a post on the EMC blog site. “Rightfully so: their pre-integrated nature and single-support model eliminates much of the expensive IT drudgery that doesn’t usually create significant value: selecting individual components, integrated them, supporting them, upgrading them, etc. How much easier is it to order a block, brick, node, etc. of IT infrastructure as a single supportable product, and move on to more important matters? A lot easier, it seems.”
The integrated infrastructure space is growing rapidly, according to IDC analysts. In the third quarter 2014, revenue for the market jumped 28.1 percent over the same period in 2013, to $2.3 billion.
“These results speak to the ability of integrated systems to address core data center infrastructure challenges,” Eric Sheppard, research director for storage at IDC, said in a statement when the results were released in December. “Those that are deploying integrated systems tell IDC of real gains in the form of increased productivity, reduced downtime, and improved utilization rates.”
VCE, EMC Unveil New Converged Infrastructures
A growing number of infrastructure vendors are rolling out such solutions. For example, Cisco has been active in this area, not only through its own Unified Computing System (UCS) offering, but also through partnerships with the likes of NetApp (with the FlexPod appliance) and its work in founding VCE, which develops integrated systems called Vblock. EMC in October 2014 bought out most of Cisco’s stake in VCE. Cisco had owned 35 percent of the company; its stake is now at 10 percent. Dell also partners with several companies to create integrated offerings.
With the Foundation for Federation Enterprise Hybrid Cloud, VCE is enabling customers to buy systems with either Cisco’s networking software or VMware’s NSX software-defined networking (SDN) technology, which the company inherited when it bought SDN startup Nicira in 2012 for $1.26 billion. The new offering will be available later this quarter.
EMC’s VSPEX Blue appliance not only offers fast and easy infrastructure deployment, but also comes with the VSPEX Blue Market within the VSPEX Blue Manager Software. The apps store offers business-continuity software that can be downloaded, including EMC’s RecoverPoint for Virtual Machines, VMware’s vSphere Data Protection Advanced for virtual environments, and hybrid cloud storage through the EMC CloudArray Gateway.
VSPEX Blue will be generally available Feb. 17.
Under CEO Joe Tucci, EMC has created a federated corporate model where EMC and its key subsidiaries—VMware, Pivotal and RSA—align their development strategies and integrate their products, but continue to operate as separate entities that give customers a wide range of freedom to choose what products they want to use. After EMC bought out the bulk of Cisco’s share, VCE also became part of the federation.
The federated model has been a point of contention between EMC executives and officials with large investor Elliott Management, which last year began urging EMC to shed VMware and to do away with the federation. The two sides in January agreed to temporarily put the public debate on ice after EMC agreed to put two mutually-agreed-upon people onto EMC’s board of directors.