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Cisco, EMC coalition expands data center portfolio

VCE unveils two low-end converged infrastructure systems, SAP optimization, management software

By , Network World
February 21, 2013 12:07 AM ET

Network World - VCE, the data center coalition formed by Cisco, EMC and VMware, this week expanded its product portfolio with low-end versions of its integrated infrastructure system, certification to run SAP software and new management capabilities.

The new offerings are intended to address markets VCE has not addressed before. The coalition was formed in 2009 to sell prepackaged Cisco servers and switches, EMC storage and VMware virtualization in an effort to accelerate the adoption of cloud computing infrastructure.

VCE's revenue in 2011 was $600 million, according to Gartner. The coalition is now on a $1 billion run rate and had a 57% share of the $388 million integrated infrastructure market in the second quarter of 2012, according to Gartner.

[ COMPETITIVE PARTNERS: VMware snubs partner Cisco for network virtualization ]

The future of VCE has come under speculation, however, given that the three investor companies are taking an increasingly competitive path individually. Indeed, Gartner states in a November 2012 report on the integrated infrastructure market that "the success of (VCE) is largely dependent on the interests of those individual companies remaining aligned."

VCE executives maintain that they continue to have the full commitment of the investor companies even though individually they become more competitive or divergent.

Up to now, VCE sold high-end versions of this integrated infrastructure with an average selling price (ASP) of around $2 million, according to analysts. The products unveiled this week bring that system to smaller data centers, and branch and remote offices with an ASP believed to be below $500,000.

They include the Vblock System 200 and 100. Vblock System 200 is targeted at midsize data centers and service provider managed customer premises. The Vblock System 100 is aimed at remote office/branch office deployments.

Vblock System 200 can function as the sole core IT infrastructure for a midsize data center as well as an IT development environment, VCE says. Vblock System 200 supports the processing, sharing and storage of applications such as Exchange for Messaging, VMware Virtual Desktop Integration, Microsoft SharePoint and Cisco's Unified Communications collaboration, databases, Web/file sharing, domain services and print servers.

Vblock System 100 is designed to extend standard business applications from the enterprise data center to the remote site. Such applications include Exchange for Messaging, VMware Virtual Desktop Integration, Microsoft SharePoint and Cisco's Unified Communications, as well as small databases and Web/file sharing and print servers.

"It will enable us to start to build a distributed data center infrastructure with the same consistent converged infrastructure as the baseline [core headquarters data center]," says VCE CEO Praveen Akkiraju.

Cisco is also allied with EMC storage rival NetApp in addressing the integrated systems market for data center infrastructure. Their FlexPod reference architecture was recently broadened to address branch office requirements.

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