Dell EMC and Cisco renew converged infrastructure alliance

Dell EMC and Cisco renewed their agreement to collaborate on converged infrastructure (CI) products for a few more years even though the momentum is elsewhere.

Dell EMC and Cisco renew converged infrastructure alliance
Dell EMC

Dell EMC and Cisco have renewed a collaboration on converged infrastructure (CI) products that has run for more than a decade, even as the momentum shifts elsewhere. The news was announced via a blog post by Pete Manca, senior vice president for solutions engineering at Dell EMC.

The deal is centered around Dell EMC’s VxBlock product line, which originally started out in 2009 as a joint venture between EMC and Cisco called VCE (Virtual Computing Environment). EMC bought out Cisco’s stake in the venture before Dell bought EMC.

The devices offered UCS servers and networking from Cisco, EMC storage, and VMware virtualization software in pre-configured, integrated bundles. VCE was retired in favor of new brands, VxBlock, VxRail, and VxRack. The lineup has been pared down to one device, the VxBlock 1000.

“The newly inked agreement entails continued company alignment across multiple organizations: executive, product development, marketing, and sales,” Manca wrote in the blog post. “This means we’ll continue to share product roadmaps and collaborate on strategic development activities, with Cisco investing in a range of Dell EMC sales, marketing and training initiatives to support VxBlock 1000.”

Dell EMC cites IDC research that it holds a 48% market share in converged systems, nearly 1.5 times that of any other vendor. But IDC's April edition of the Converged Systems Tracker said the CI category is on the downswing. CI sales fell 6.4% year over year, while the market for hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) grew 57.2% year over year.

For the unfamiliar, the primary difference between converged and hyperconverged infrastructure is that CI relies on hardware building blocks, while HCI is software-defined and considered more flexible and scalable than CI and operates more like a cloud system with resources spun up and down as needed.

Despite this, Dell is committed to CI systems. Just last month it announced an update and expansion of the VxBlock 1000, including higher scalability, a broader choice of components, and the option to add new technologies. It featured updated VMware vRealize and vSphere support, the option to consolidate high-value, mission-critical workloads with new storage and data protection options and support for Cisco UCS fabric and servers.

For customers who prefer to build their own infrastructure solutions, Dell EMC introduced Ready Stack, a portfolio of validated designs with sizing, design, and deployment resources that offer VMware-based IaaS, vSphere on Dell EMC PowerEdge servers and Dell EMC Unity storage, and Microsoft Hyper-V on Dell EMC PowerEdge servers and Dell EMC Unity storage.

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