Cisco, EMC and VMware create cloud-computing mega alliance

3 Nov 2009

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Networking giant Cisco and storage giant EMC, along with virtualisation player VMware, have joined forces to create a Virtual Computing Environment coalition to drive their vision of tomorrow’s computing world, private cloud computing.

They say their vision entails a computing world that would enable better business agility, lower energy usage, lower IT and lower real-estate costs, at the same time speeding up the transition to data centre-based private cloud infrastructure.

The three companies are understood to have worked closely over the past year on a shared vision for the future of enterprise IT infrastructure – private cloud computing.

Customer challenges

“Today’s announcement addresses our customers’ greatest challenges and opportunities in the data centre,” said John Chambers, chairman and CEO of Cisco.

“This coalition is about more than technology and partnership. It is about an entirely new and unique approach to the data centre that improves utilisation, power consumption and security of information, all in a way that lowers the total cost to the customer, not via a box, but with a network-based architectural approach for optimising virtual resources,” Chambers said.

A private cloud is a virtual IT infrastructure that is securely controlled and operated solely for one organisation. It can be managed either by that organisation or a third party, and it can exist on or off premises or in combination.

What’s on offer

Private cloud computing offers the controls and security of today’s data centre with the agility required for business innovation at substantially lower costs.

Worldwide spending on data-centre technology infrastructure and services exceeds US$350 billion annually, according to McKinsey and Company estimates, with half of that spent on capital expenses (products) and half on operating expenses (services and labour).

Further, an estimated 70pc or more of those costs are expended to maintain existing infrastructures, leaving 30pc or less for new technology initiatives and applications that can provide breakthrough differentiation for businesses.

It is also estimated that about $85 billion, or 20pc of this total market, can be addressed with data-centre virtualisation and private cloud technology by 2015.

Striving to succeed

“Cisco and EMC, together with VMware, are coming together in an unprecedented way to help our customers,” Joseph Tucci, EMC chairman and CEO explained.

“They need to be able to shift more of their IT budgets to the development and rapid implementation of new technologies that help their organisations create differentiated business advantages. Many of them understand the vast potential of the private cloud.

“With shared road maps and a long-term commitment, the Virtual Computing Environment coalition will bring true accountability, along with the best-of-breed technologies our respective customers have come to expect, to help enable their success.”

The point

The purpose of the Virtual Computing Environment is to accelerate organisations’ approach to data-centre transformation with dramatic efficiencies that promise significant reductions in capital and operating expenses.

With the introduction of Vblock Infrastructure Packages, the Virtual Computing Environment coalition will provide customers with a fundamentally better approach to streamlining and optimising IT strategies around private clouds.

Vblock Infrastructure Packages are fully integrated, tested, validated, and ready-to-go/ready-to-grow infrastructure packages that combine best-in-class virtualisation, networking, computing, storage, security and management technologies from Cisco, EMC and VMware with end-to-end vendor accountability.

The coalition will scale customer adoption of Vblock systems by enabling a global community of systems integrators, service providers, channel partners and independent software vendors (ISVs). The coalition has also established unified presales, professional services and support capabilities to simplify customer engagement.

In unveiling the Virtual Computing Environment coalition, Cisco and EMC also introduced Acadia, a joint venture focused on accelerating customer build-outs of private cloud infrastructures through an end-to-end enablement of service providers and large enterprise customers.

“This coalition is about more than technology and partnership.
It is about an entirely new and unique approach to the data centre
that improves utilisation, power consumption and security of information."

– John Chambers, chairman and CEO of Cisco

Acadia’s unique “build, operate, transfer” model for delivering the Vblock architecture, addressing people, process and technology, will offer customers further choice, flexibility and cost advantages as they seek to virtualise their IT infrastructures and evolve to private-cloud environments.

In addition to Cisco and EMC as the lead investors, the build-out of Acadia’s expanded capabilities in 2010 has also been capitalised by investments from VMware and Intel.

Because the Vblock architecture relies heavily on Intel Xeon processors and other Intel data-centre technology, Intel will join the Acadia effort as a minority investor to facilitate and accelerate customer adoption of the latest Intel technology for servers, storage, and networking.

“Customers are increasingly looking to virtualisation to dramatically improve the performance and flexibility of their existing IT systems,” said Paul Maritz, president and CEO of VMware.

“Today’s announcement provides a compelling vision and set of road maps valuable to any company looking to harness cloud computing in a fundamentally more pragmatic and non-disruptive way.”

By John Kennedy

Photo: Cisco, EMC and VMware have created a Virtual Computing Environment coalition to push forward private cloud computing.

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Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com