What Cisco's UCS means to management vendors?

* Cisco news expands relations with BMC and EMC, increases competition with HP and gives CA a new opportunity

Cisco's Unified Computing System (UCS) launch earlier this week impacted several vendors across the management software market.

Not only did BMC announce that its BladeLogic service automation suite would come pre-packaged with Cisco's UCS when it becomes generally available in the second calendar quarter, but EMC also made news with the network equipment maker. According to EMC, the two vendors will expand their existing partnership and further collaborate on testing products for interoperability and developing data center solutions.

"EMC and Cisco share a vision that enterprise IT will eventually evolve towards a private cloud model and both companies are committed to working together to achieve this," said Frank Hauck, EMC's executive vice president of global marketing and customer quality. EMC says Cisco's UCS will be integrated with EMC products including management technologies such as EMC Smarts and EMC ControlCenter, as well as storage and VMware products.

Jasmine Noel, principal analyst with Ptak, Noel & Associates, says Cisco's deal with BMC could have been carried out by EMC with its Smarts and nLayers acquisitions.

"Cisco and BMC are delivering what EMC had the opportunity to deliver when they bought Smarts and nLayers, but they have yet to fully capitalize on linking VMware to their management capabilities," she says.

While Cisco currently partners with HP, the companies might face more competition going forward. An HP spokeswoman said in a statement that existing partnerships would continue as is going forward.

"The HP Software and Solutions Business Technology Optimization products will support Cisco’s [UCS] as we do for other third-party, standard-based server vendors. Cisco will equally support HP BTO software as it does for any other third-party system management vendors and technologies," an HP spokeswoman said in an e-mail."We have a working relationship and support statement between Cisco and HP, specifically with respect to Cisco’s [UCS] and HP Software and Solutions’ Business Service Automation solution. Cisco also resells HP’s Network Automation product and HP has committed to and delivered extensive support for Cisco equipment in HP’s Network Node Manger product series. These commitments continue unchanged," she added.

As for CA, BMC's close ties with Cisco's blade server plans could make CA the single choice for customers looking to invest in platform-agnostic management software.

"They are the last of the 'Big 4' without an 'embedded-in-the-hardware' story. This could be good, since customers know CA has no hardware agenda," Noel says. "This could be bad, if customers decide they don't care about single-sourcing IT infrastructure and management."

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