Software and virtualization continues to evolve the data center faster than ever before. As in the case with everything in life, there's never a free lunch, and the price for this rapid evolution has been increased complexity. Historically, data center infrastructure was deployed in nice, neat silos where every application had its own servers, storage, and network resources. The obvious downside of this type of deployment model is poor resource utilization. Now we innovate in software and make everything virtual to maximize utilization, but we also drive up complexity.
An argument can be made that no company has been more successful at simplifying this complexity than VCE, particularly for multi-vendor environments. Late last year, VCE was rolled into EMC's federation of companies to give it a single owner and enable it to roll out new products that address a broader set of needs than just its flagship product, VBlock.
This morning, VCE provided some evidence that the strategy is working, as the company unveiled a bevvy of new converged infrastructure solutions that enable customers to shift to a software defined data center much faster than trying to stitch together all the components. The new products offer customers a choice of different platforms as well as address the challenge of scaling up and out.
The new VCE VxBlock system gives customers a turnkey SDN solution based on either VMware's NSX or Cisco's Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) products. The VxBlock can be thought of as a superset of VBlock that includes the network, hypervisor, and storage, but also the network virtualization component in a pre-integrated, tested, validated solution. I've often joked that SDN really means "still done nothing," because despite the high interest from customers, the complexity of tying all of the components together has prevented many from actually deploying it. With the VxBlock, VCE has done all the heavy lifting so customers can deploy ACI or NSX quickly. VCE also gives customers some ongoing assurance, as all of its products, including the new VxBlock, include seamless updates and unified call support. In a pre-briefing, VCE mentioned that ACI and NSX were a starting point and that other versions of VxBlock could be introduced in 2015, my estimate that alternative hypervisors are most likely.
Another new solution is the VCE Vscale Architecture, which interconnects multiple VBlocks, VxBlocks, and other data center components over a high-speed spine and leaf network fabric. With Vscale, all of the data center elements effectively look like one big pool of resources that can be accessed by whatever application or service may require it. If you run out of any particular component, simply add it to the fabric. Vscale enables customers to rapidly scale up and scale out a software defined data center, and true to VCE's mission, it does so in a validated, pre-tested design, taking all the guesswork out of it for customers.
The last component of the launch is the 3.0 release of VCE's management tool, Vision Intelligent Operations software. The new version provides intelligence across multiple Vblock and VxBlock systems. Prior to 3.0, if a company were running, say, 10 Vblocks, Vision would manage these as 10 systems. With Vision 3.0, this would now look like a single resource pool in a single pane of glass. Vision can be thought of as the dashboard that gives customers a unified view of what Vscale now enables.
For customers out there that want to leverage the power of network virtualization and shift to a software defined data center but are resisting it because of complexity, VCE provides a path without much of the risk associated with trying to cobble the components together manually.