VCE, the child of the partnership between VMware, Cisco Systems and EMC, is rolling out an all-flash version of its Vblock integrated infrastructure solution that is aimed at such new applications as big data, mobile computing, analytics and the cloud.
VCE’s Vblock System 540 was one of several new and enhanced converged systems the company introduced Oct. 6 as it looks to broaden the reach of its portfolio in such areas as high-end mission-critical workloads, small and midsize businesses and the cloud.
The new offerings help VCE continue to flex its muscle in a rapidly growing market for integrated infrastructure. The Vblock System 540 represents the first all-flash offering in the space, according to Berna Devrim, director of product and solution marketing for VCE.
“The scale-out architecture uniquely allows our customers to expand both performance and capacity,” Devrim wrote in a post on the company blog, noting the system’s capabilities in high-performance and mixed workloads.
The Vblock System 540 includes the latest generation of Cisco’s Unified Computing System (UCS) and its Nexus networking switch, designed for Cisco’s Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI). The integrated solution also is powered by EMC’s XtremIO all-flash storage arrays. The Vblock System 540 can deliver more than 1 million IOPS (input/output operations per second), and can scale up to 192 UCS M4 blade servers, which offers 1.5 times the memory of the M3 systems. The M4 was part of a larger expansion of Cisco’s UCS portfolio in September that included systems aimed at new markets such as cloud-scale computing and workloads at the edge of the network.
Cisco’s ACI strategy includes leverage hardware and software to create agile, policy-driven infrastructures that can adapt to the demands of the applications running over them. It is the vendor’s answer to the growing software-defined networking (SDN) trend, though company officials argue that SDN is only part of the ACI concept.
The System 540 “provides clear evidence of the value of VCE’s best-of-breed strategy by joining the flash-based goodness of EMC’s market-leading XtremIO flash storage with Cisco’s newest generation UCS and Nexus technologies,” Charles King, principal analyst with Pund-IT Research, wrote in a research report. “The result is a Vblock ready to take on both demanding high-performance enterprise workloads and emerging big data, cloud, mobile and social applications. Once again, VCE delivers on its goal of helping customers solve current problems, while preparing them for future challenges.”
Along with the Vblock System 540, VCE also unveiled its new high-end System 740, which includes Cisco UCS and Nexus networking technologies and EMC’s VMax 3 storage and offers three times the storage performance, 50 percent better total cost of ownership and simpler provisioning that is based on service-level goals, according to VCE officials. The System 240, with EMC’s entry-level VNX5200 storage system, is aimed at midsize businesses and remote offices.
VCE also introduced new systems with integrated pre-validated software designed to make it easier for businesses to deploy and manage cloud environments.
“By integrating VMware and Cisco cloud stacks and technologies, VCE offers an out-of-box private cloud solution to deliver virtual machine as a service (VMaaS) and infrastructure as a service (IaaS), paving the path for higher level services and giving customers choices based on their preferences,” VCE’s Devrim wrote in his blog post.
VCE Rolls Out All-Flash Converged Vblock Systems
The company’s Integrated Solutions for Cloud Management come in two solutions, one leveraging Cisco’s UCS Director software for simplifying the automation and provisioning of virtual data centers based on Vblock systems. The other solutions comes integrated with VMware’s vRealize Suite management software for provisioning and orchestrating private and hybrid cloud environments.
“VCE is aiming to ease the uncertainties and complexities inherent in hybrid cloud adoption and deployment,” Pund-IT’s King wrote. “In proactively pre-integrating Cisco’s and VMware’s cloud management solutions with Vblock Systems, VCE is also simplifying the automation of data center provisioning and orchestration tasks. By doing so, the company is markedly reducing the risks and speeding the benefits of private and hybrid cloud transformation.”
In addition, VCE officials are bringing greater flexibility and scalability to new and existing Vblock systems through pre-validated integrated extensions for EMC’s Isilon storage technology for such tasks as large-scale user data for virtual desktop infrastructures, big data and Hadoop analytics, and scale out network-attached storage environments. The extension for Cisco’s UCS is aimed at compute-intensive workloads, including graphics computing, seismic modeling and digital media transcoding.
The Vblock Systems 740, 540 and 240 are available immediately, while the cloud solutions and technology extension will be orderable within 90 days.
VCE’s new systems come as the market for integrated system grows rapidly. IDC analysts said last month that in the second quarter, revenues for integrated platforms and infrastructure jumped 33.8 percent over the same period in 2013, to $2.4 billion. IDC differentiates between integrated infrastructure systems, which are designed for general-purpose, distributed workloads, and integrated platforms, which are integrated systems sold with integrated packaged software and customized system engineering.
In their report, IDC analysts said VCE was the top integrated infrastructure vendor in the second quarter, with 24.3 percent of the market and 55.7 percent revenue growth year-over-year. The Cisco/NetApp combination came in second, with 22.5 percent market share, followed by EMC with 17.7 percent. Overall, integrated infrastructure sales grew 59.2 percent over the second quarter in 2013.