VCE Grows Converged Infrastructure Portfolio

The company's new VxBlock systems offer organizations the choice of VMware's NSX or Cisco's ACI for network virtualization.

data center

VCE is expanding its converged infrastructure offerings with a new family of systems that offer a choice of software-defined networking platforms and a new architecture aimed not only at scale-out environments but also those that scale up.

The vendor—which is part of storage giant EMC's federation of companies—also is growing the capabilities of its Vision Intelligent Operations management software. Version 3.0 now provides intelligence across multiple VCE Vblock systems.

Before, if there were 30 Vblock converged systems in use, the Vision management software would see 30 individual systems, according to Todd Pavone, executive vice president of product development and strategy at VCE.

"Now it sees all of these Vblocks as a single resource pool, as a single view," Pavone told eWEEK.

The new systems and enhanced software are part of VCE's larger effort to grow its portfolio as it competes in a growing and crowded converged infrastructure market. Cloud computing, big data and increasing mobility are putting greater demand on IT departments for improved performance and services at a time when CIOs’ budgets are either being reduced or staying flat, he said.

Converged infrastructures—which include highly integrated packages of compute, networking, storage, virtualization and management software—offer simplified and efficient IT solutions that easy to deploy and manage and run both legacy applications as well as new cloud-based workloads.

VCE, which began life as a joint venture between EMC, VMware and Cisco Systems, competes with the likes of Cisco, IBM and Oracle in a market that IDC analysts last year said will grow from $5.4 billion in 2013 to almost $14.4 billion in 2017, an annual growth rate of about 32.8 percent. Converged solutions represent one of the fastest-growing segments in the larger infrastructure market, the IDC analysts said.

Pavone said VCE is making the move beyond converged infrastructures and into converged solutions, pointing to the VCE Foundation for Federation Enterprise Hybrid Cloud as an example. The offering not only includes Vblocks, but also products and services from EMC (such as the ViPR Controller) and VMware (including management capabilities and its NSX software-defined networking technology).

The new offerings are an extension of that effort. VCE's new VxBlock systems are designed to offer customers more options in the components included in the solution. The first of the VxBlock systems will enable users to choose between VMware's NSX and Cisco's Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) for network virtualization capabilities. More VxBlock systems will roll out throughout 2015, according to VCE officials.

The new systems will include the same pre-integration and pre-validation at the factory, as well as component-level updates and single-call support.

VCE also introduced the Vscale Architecture, which leverages a new converged fabric that enables organizations to interconnect multiple converged infrastructure systems and data center elements to create greater on-demand resource sharing. It leverages SDN capabilities to create a spine-and-leaf network architecture.

The Vscale fabric, in conjunction with the Vision Intelligent Operations 3.0 management software, creates pools of data center resources that can be abstracted across multiple systems. In addition, storage and compute resources can be added in a modular grow-as-needed fashion, and the architecture enables organizations to either scale up or scale out their environments, VCE officials said.

Vision 3.0 can be used independently as well as part of a Vscale architecture, they said.

VCE has been aggressive in recent months in expanding its offerings, most recently announcing last month the launch of the VCE Foundation for Federation Enterprise Hybrid Cloud solution. The company in October 2014 rolled out its Vblock 540 and 740 systems.

VCE became part of EMC's federation of companies—which also includes RSA, VMware and Pivotal—in October when EMC bought out the bulk of Cisco's stake in the company. Cisco had owned 35 percent of VCE; it now owns 10 percent. VMware owns less than 10 percent.