In October 2014, VCE – the joint venture of VMware, Cisco, and EMC – announced that EMC had acquired controlling interest in the company. The idea behind the move was to allow VCE to move faster and be more nimble without the overhead of having three parent companies.
So it seems that VCE is sticking to its word, as this week the company announced a new converged infrastructure solution with VMware and EMC technologies. The VCE Foundation for Federation Enterprise Hybrid Cloud is designed to simplify and therefore accelerate its customer's journey to hybrid clouds.
Despite the long name, the VCE Foundation has stepped up the VCE value proposition with converged infrastructure by extending the standardized, repeatable best practices of the current VCE product, vBlock, to the new VCE Foundation. Now VCE customers can have factory integration of other EMC and VMware products, including VMware NSX (network virtualization), VMware vRealize (management and orchestration), and EMC ViPR (software defined storage).
There's no doubt that hybrid cloud will be the de facto standard for any organization of significant size. Small companies may choose to go all-public cloud, but medium- and large-sized organizations will head down the hybrid path to maximize the benefits of both public and private. However, stitching together the infrastructure to build a hybrid environment can be difficult, if not impossible, for most organizations. If you're Google, have at it, but if you're a typical IT department trying just to keep up with day-to-day tasks, implementing hybrid cloud can be very challenging. No company takes the complexity out of deploying converged infrastructure like VCE does, as the company has had tremendous success with its current vBlock solution. VCE Foundation brings together a pre-integrated, tested and converged infrastructure solution, and adds in EMC services to deliver a hybrid cloud solution.
For VCE, the move should create an additional growth engine by enabling the company to scale its best practices around converging infrastructure across the cloud infrastructure stack by expanding its solution set. This in no way replaces vBlock, nor is it meant to replace any integration VCE has with Cisco ACI. Instead, it's designed to give customers choices and broader options with respect to building a hybrid cloud.
The more interesting implications are for VMware – particularly, NSX. VMware might disagree with me here, but I think it's fair to say that NSX hasn't exactly caught on like the company thought it would. In fact, I've been very critical of VMware's strategy with the product because, despite the interest in it, NSX has been very difficult to adopt. My general rule of thumb on IT projects is that if it makes the environment more complex, then don't deploy it. NSX certainly fell into this camp.
The VCE Foundation let's VMware do what it does best – build great technology – and enables VCE to do what it does best and make it easy for customers to deploy complex systems by doing all the heavy lifting. I know VMware has gotten this feedback from its customers, so it's good to see the company address the issue before adding more features to a product that customers struggle to adopt. I believe the VCE Foundation will expand the addressable market for both VMware and VCE while making it much easier for customers to shift to a hybrid cloud environment.