Cisco, VMware doing just fine, thank you

Companies expand partnership at VMworld just as everyone was looking for a split

Just when everyone was preparing for a crack, Cisco and VMware say they have expanded their strategic relationship to offer integrated products for cloud infrastructures.

At this week’s VMworld conference in San Francisco, the companies said they will combine products intended to deliver a “software defined datacenter.” The expanded partnership will include an investment in dedicated engineering teams collaborating on VMware’s cloud infrastructure and management software, and Cisco’s data center networking and fabric computing platforms.

NOW, PLAY NICE: VMware snubs partner Cisco for network virtualization

The companies say their investment in these joint dedicated engineering teams will represent a new level of collaboration in their long partnership, which is over five years old. The collaboration is intended to tightly couple physical and virtual infrastructure for these software defined datacenters.

Cisco and VMware, and VMware parent EMC, were believed to be heading in opposite directions following VMware’s purchase of network virtualization start-up Nicira, and EMC’s new alliance with server vendor Lenovo. Cisco, EMC and VMware are allied in the VCE, a 2009 joint venture company selling a combined system of Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) servers, EMC storage and VMware virtualization.

Nicira has made no bones about looking to disrupt the Cisco status quo in networking, and reports have surfaced that VMware actually outbid Cisco for Nicira. But this week’s expanded collaboration would appear to indicate that the companies plan to forge ahead on their alliance despite the competitive overtones.

Indeed, Cisco and VMware say they, and EMC, remain “strongly committed” to the VCE partnership.

Under the new initiative, VMware will integrate the Cisco Nexus 1000V series virtual switches with VMware’s new vCloud Suite 5.1 and other VMware products. Cisco and VMware collaborated on development of the Nexus 1000V in 2009.

Cisco and VMware will also develop UCS-based cloud systems bundling Cisco’s Nexus 1000V virtual switch, CSR 1000V cloud router, ASA 1000V cloud firewall, virtual WAAS WAN optimization, and Intelligent Automation for Cloud with VMware vSphere 5.1, VMware vCloud Suite 5.1 and complementary management offerings.

Cisco will also resell VMware vCloud Suite 5.1, which will feature enhanced interoperability with Cisco Nexus 1000V. Additionally, VMware and Cisco are expanding their respective VMware View and Cisco VXI products to deliver integrated systems for small-medium businesses and remote office users featuring Cisco e-Series UCS servers and VMware View.

Cisco and VMware will also provide Cisco Validated Designs and reference architectures to assist in customer implementation of the joint products. The combined products will also be made available for VCE, as well as other channel partners. 

Jim Duffy has been covering technology for over 25 years, 21 at Network World. He also writes The Cisco Connection blog and can be reached

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

The 10 most powerful companies in enterprise networking 2022