Some thoughts on the VCE announcement….

For those of us in the VMware/Cisco/EMC ecosphere it has been an interesting week.  The major news was the announcement of the Virtual Computing Environment coalition.  Basically, it’s a more formal partnership of VMware, Cisco, and EMC..which we already called the VCE partnership so I guess it’s convenient.  So, in simple terms what does all this mean?

In brief it means that the VCE members are working even closer together.  They are building reference architectures (Vblocks) for different goals such as internal cloud, external cloud, virtual desktops, etc.  A Vblock will be a complete technology package that has been built, tested, proven, and documented by the VCE coalition.  Need an internal cloud capable of supporting 2,000 VMs?  There is a Vblock for that.  VMware, Cisco, and EMC all do reference architectures now but they aren’t presented or sold as a complete solution.  That’s where this takes those standard architectures to the next level. Think of them as a prix fixe menu.

Also part of the announcement, and the one that probably caused the most discussion especially with partners, was around Acadia.  As Chuck Hollis says:

“One of the key areas I believe that Acadia (as part of VCE) is different than HP’s and IBM’s approach is motivation.  Acadia is all about enablement of the partner ecosystem, and not competing with it.”

There are organizations, large ones, that want to work direct with the company providing them services.  EMC has plenty of enterprise accounts that only have EMC staff on the floor doing the work.  They have Cisco SEs there doing initial deployments…same with VMware.  But what happens when they do a full large-scale virtualization initiative?  You end up with multiple vendors at the table and a lot more work.  That’s where Acadia comes in.  One note worth mentioning by Chad Sakac here is that, if you notice, Acadia is always referenced as EMC and Cisco, along with VMware technology.  It’s really an EMC/Cisco joint venture.  The idea there is to not compete with the VMware partners out in the world..even though VMware has their own internal professional services, but I digress.  It’s a way for organizations to get direct consulting from EMC and Cisco.  It’s pretty obvious to most people that EMC and Cisco are working together more and more every day…this is just another way.

So partners (me included), don’t be worried.  Even better, we should be happy.  All of the intellectual property that Acadia develops and builds will be shared with partners.

So, in the end what we get is an even tighter working group with more information shared.  Even if your organization isn’t large enough to benefit from the pre-built Vblocks you’ll still benefit from the work that goes in to them and the documentation around them.  You’ll benefit from the interoperability testing that goes in to those solutions.  It’s a win for everyone.

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