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January 26, 2015updated 21 Oct 2016 5:29pm

VMware, Cisco, EMC – what’s the future for VCE?

The virtualisation market will converge on converged systems in 2015 – we discuss VCE’s plans

By Sam

In October last year a new ownership arrangement was announced for VCE, the joint venture entity for the delivery for converged server, storage and networking infrastructure under the Vblock brand owned and operated by VMware, EMC and Cisco.

Moves were made for VCE to become part of the EMC federation with Cisco retaining approximately a 10% equity interest.
EMC already owns VMware which supplies the virtualisation technology for Vblock.

The new arrangement provides a clearer financial structure, said the companies.

It also sees Cisco remain the server and networking partner for Vblock with a five year technology and investment roadmap,

Ultimately the structure provides strong management and the engine to run the manufacture and supply of highly virtualised environments on a converged platform with a reference architecture, says Nigel Moulton, EMEA CTO at VCE.

It is clear that the ultimate goal of any organisation is the creation of a highly virtualised computing environment, he says. And that means building it on the technology supplied by Vmware, Cisco and EMC.

X86 Mainframe

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"It [the new corporate structure] allows us to continue to the development and building of an X86 mainframe to meet the huge drive for having pre-engineered solutions for highly virtualised environments at scale."

"Vblock addresses the challenge faced by many IT departments who must source and assemble components from many different manufacturers."

"We hear customers say, my IT function is not to and should not be to integrate technology from different vendors. IT needs to be about agile service delivery build and operated on flexible and robust IT infrastructure," says Moulton.

He gives the example of financial institutions where VCE has had success.

"They [a financial services customer] needed to re-platform for an SAP implementation and we showed how a Vblock deployment meant they could accelerate how the application gets delivered. We take a chunk of time out of the implementation – improving the time to value. By targeting certain workloads they avoid traditional roll out pitfalls which are constrained by the hardware and are slow and expensive. And once that approach works, it is logical to move onto other workloads."

The objections that prospects raise are around fears of vendor lock-in. Moulton sees the irony in this but believes these are not fears based on anything real.

"Vblock is x86 based. What we bring is partnerships with the industry leaders."

Vblock is not a dump and run solution.

"I have a bunch of people and continued investment in people with expertise. These are cloud architects, cloud solution architects, cloud orchestration architectures, infrastructure experts who bring together infrastructure for the cloud," he says.

In competition terms Moulton does see customers facing risks.

"With certain platforms there is no break between the software and hardware. To go with some converged solutions you are signing for a single application appliance."

As for VCE’s future and road map Moulton is confident.

There will be further announcements on technology evolution – the flash only Vblock was announced last year and will ship in 2015..

"We will take and evaluate technology from our member companies and the technology suits a converged environment we will integrate it.

In 2015 the market will become truly focused on converged systems."

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