Cisco, EMC and VMware have, as expected, announced a new joint venture to deliver large-scale virtualised cloud infrastructure to the data centre.
The companies have created a “Virtual computing environment coalition” that the three companies refer to as “VCE.”
VCE has created a new line of jointly-created products, called “vBlock.”
vBlock consists of packages comprising Cisco's Unified Computing System (UCS) servers running VMware vSphere, Cisco Ethernet and Fibre Channel networking equipment including the Nexus 1000V, and EMC storage, security and management software. All of these components are managed with a single, unified, management interface.
The products build into configurations that target data centres of different sizes and is available in three levels.
- Vblock 0 is designed for configuration of 300 to 800 virtual machines and runs on the Cisco UCS and Nexus 1000V, and EMC Unified Storage.
- Vblock 1 scales from 800 to 3,000 VMs, leveraging the Cisco UCS, Nexus 1000V and MDS switches, and EMC Clariion storage.
- Vblock 2, designed for service providers and the largest enterprises, can host 3,000 to 6,000 VMs and utilizes EMC's high-end V-Max storage.
The three companies, plus Intel, have also created “ “Acadia”, a new joint venture company billed as a “technology acceleration scheme” that will offer services to companies purchasing vBlock products.
Acadia is expected to open its doors early in 2010 and will initially operate only in the USA.
Andre Smit, Cisco’s Asia Pacific Managing Director for Data Center Sales said that Acadia is “at a very early stage,” and added that “we do not see Acadia in Australia for the foreseeable future.” Instead, the four companies will continue to engage with customers in much the same way they have done when selling Cisco’s Unified Computing systems, but with extra integration so that customers can enjoy a vBlock experience.
Par Botes, EMC’s Chief Technology Officer for the Asia Pacific & Japan region told SearchStorage ANZ that “In the past you could not call Cisco and get routed to EMC. Now you can call any of our companies and get a universal experience.”
Andrew Dutton, VMware’s General Manager for Asia Pacific and Japan said the new arrangement will not change the way VMware does business with its other partners. Indeed, Acadia has already committed to create “an ecosystem of service providers and other partners to build, operate and transfer Vblock Infrastructure” in a press release announcing the new initiatives.
Initial reaction to the announcement has been generally positive.
Chris Wolf, a senior analyst at Burton Group, said organisations will be kindly disposed to Acadia and vBlock as they consider cloud computing,.
"When organizations start thinking about the cloud, they don't want to go to Joe's Discount Service Provider," Wolf said. The infrastructure running Amazon EC2 [Elastic Compute Cloud], for example, "is only good because Amazon tells us it is," he said, adding that "there's a reason why enterprises aren't putting their production workloads there."
"Infrastructure I can trust -- a brand I can trust -- that's what I see as the difference here," Wolf said.
The Storage Networking Industry Association of Australia and New Zealand (SNIA ANZ) has also commented on the new initiatives, stating that “SNIA ANZ observes that users of virtualisation technology have quickly found it to be powerful, but as they have adopted it more widely they have also found that it brings new and sometimes unforseen complexities.”
“The Acadia announcement is clearly aimed at helping virtualisation users to address and overcome those complexities and start to extend virtualisation into internal or federated cloud computing systems.”
“As such, SNIA ANZ welcomes the new company to the market, as the collaboration potentially makes it simpler for organisations to deploy an enterprise cloud infrastructure. Alongside Virtualisation, advancements in storage technologies, such as solid state storage [SSD] and object based storage are driving the adoption of cloud services and we see more storage related technology advancements on the horizon.”
Disclaimer: Simon Sharwood is a non-executive board member of SNIA ANZ.