Roundup: The VCE Alliance & Its Implications

The announcement of the Virtual Computing Environment alliance among Cisco, VMware and EMC has triggered much discussion about the competitive landscape and impact of the alliance on partner ecosystems. Here's a roundup of notable analysis and commentary.

Rich Miller

November 4, 2009

3 Min Read
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The announcement of the Virtual Computing Environment and Acadia joint venture involving Cisco, VMware and EMC has triggered much discussion among analysts and bloggers, particularly about the competitive landscape and impact of the alliance on partner ecosystems. Here's a roundup of notable analysis and commentary:

  • First, some resources from the partnership. Chuck Hollis from EMC points to, the new information hub created by the VCE partners. There's also several posts on Cisco's blogs. 

  • Mark Bowker from Enterprise Strategy Group wonders whether IT will buy into the "shared vision" put forth by Cisco, EMC and VMware. "Vblocks are a great example of a platform that delivers a top to bottom, integrated solution to enable businesses to hit the ground running, but it remains to be seen if IT will consume infrastructure in this manner," he writes. "IT is accustomed to procuring a bunch of individual pieces and bolting them together (sometimes with super glue and duct tape)."  

  • The Cisco Subnet at Network World sees storms ahead. "The danger is that VMware may have wounded its relationships with HP, IBM and several other partners. Cisco already did that earlier this year when it rolled out UCS. If anything, the coalition has created even more division between data center compute, storage, networking - and now virtualization - vendors. Tensions mount with each partnership as groups of vendors mill around nervously, trash talking and brandishing their hardware and software."

  • Scott Lowe raises a number of questions about the alliance. Among them: "Does this new coalition signal a move away from the 'arms-length' relationship between EMC and VMware, a move that some (competitors, notably) have been talking about for some time? If so, what danger does that put VMware in with regards to storage relationships?"

  • Indeed, the announcement seems to have prompted quite a bit of discussion on storage blogs. Marc Farley at StorageRap sees potential culture conflicts ahead. "There is a lot of risk with vBlock for both EMC and Cisco," he writes. "Certainly, its an opportunity for Cisco and EMC to expand their markets, but sharing is hard for companies with voracious appetites and flattening revenue streams."

  • Martin Glassborow at StorageBod mentions the competitive landscape with VMware and Microsoft's Hyper-V. "Iit's worrying when Microsoft could hold up their hypervisor as an example of infrastructure neutrality and whisper ever so quietly but insistently, 'How neutral is VMware, think of the risk of being locked into their hardware and software...they are no more open than us!'"

  • also sees partner issues. "VMware is taking a lot of risks with this move," writes Alessandro Perilli. "HP alone sells 36% of all virtualized servers. And it has EDS. Dell just acquired Perot Systems, which is one of the biggest consulting arms in the world to sell the VMware-centric Dell virtualization portfolio." 

  • EMC's Chad Sakacs steps up to the questions about VMware's independence and offers an insider's view. "EMC understands that we cannot hug VMware too closely," he writes. "They must be able to partner openly.VMware is, and will continue to be, an independent company, that makes it’s own independent decisions, and openly partners with those that partner with them. "

  • At GigaOm, Stacey Higginbotham takes a broader view of the impact on cloud computing. "Today’s announcement divides compute clouds into those built on commodity gear and those that aren’t, as well as showcases the split between how folks plan to deliver private clouds for enterprise customers," Stacey writes. "The choices made at both the hardware level and when a company is determining how private it wants to be will affect the economics of cloud computing profoundly." 

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