Cisco, EMC roll out joint venture

Collaborate with VMware on data center gear and form company to push it

The joint venture everyone's been waiting for for the past couple of months has finally arrived. Cisco and EMC have formed a joint venture to "accelerate" the products it develops under it new Virtual Computing Environment coalition with VMware.

The JV, called Acadia, will intially employ 130 people to advise and assist customers in building next gen data centers from Vblocks, integrated product sets from Cisco, EMC and VMware. Vblocks are sized by market and VM capacity: large enterprises, small ones and applications for those in between. Each has a different storage device from EMC. They also include Cisco's UCS and Nexus 1000V, and VMware's vSphere. 

Acadia will serve as a "repository of knowledge and best practices" on building data centers from Vblocks, says Joe Tucci, EMC CEO. It will build, temporarily operate, and then transfer control of the Vblock infrastructure to the customer.

Kind of like the first person who showed you how to connect Leg...      Nevermind.

The idea is clever enough: take a project as hairy as data center redesign and virtualization and prepackage a remedy for it. Show people how to use and build with these modules, and you'll sell a ton.

It's also given Cisco an integrated storage array for UCS

The danger though is that VMware may have wounded its relationships with HP, IBM and several other partners. Cisco already did that earlier this year when it rolled out UCS. If anything, the coalition has created even more division between data center compute, storage, networking -- and now virtualization -- vendors. Tensions mount with each partnership as groups of vendors mill around nervously, trash talking and brandishing their hardware -- and software.

It's one thing to be acquired by the rival of your partner; it's quite another to partner so tightly with them. It's been long speculated that Cisco would make an offer for EMC, which owns 85% of VMware. And John Chambers said this week during the joint venture webcast that partnerships are much harder than mergers (really?).

So why not just buy EMC/VMware instead of setting up a coalition/joint venture?

Maybe you lose the thrill of the gang.

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