By now I’m sure you’ve read, heard or seen Tweeted the announcement that Cisco, EMC and VMware have come together and created the Virtual Computing Environment coalition . So what does this announcement really mean? Here are my thoughts:
Greater Cooperation and Compatibility
Since these 3 top IT giants are working together, I expect to see greater cooperation between all three vendors, which will lead to understanding between what each vendor is offering. More important, though, is we’ll be able to have reference architecturethat can be a starting point to designing a robust datacenter. This will help to validate that an “optimized datacenter” is a solution that every customer should consider.
With the introduction of the Xeon 5500 processor from Intel earlier this year and the announcement of the Nehalem EX coming early in Q1 2010, the ability to add more and more virtual machines onto a single host server is becoming more prevalent. No longer is the processor or memory the bottleneck – now it’s the I/O. With the introduction of Converged Network Adapters (CNAs), servers now have access to Converged Enhanced Ethernet (CEE) or DataCenter Ethernet (DCE) providing up to 10Gb of bandwidth running at 80% efficiency with lossless packets. With this lossless ethernet, I/O is no longer the bottleneck.
VMware offers the top selling virtualization software, so it makes sense they would be a good fit for this solution.
Cisco has a Unified Computing System that offers up the ability to combine a server running a CNA to a Interconnect switch that allows the data to be split out into ethernet and storage traffic. It also has a building block design to allow for ease of adding new servers – a key messaging in the Coalition announcement.
EMCoffers a storage platform that will enable the storage traffic from the Cisco UCS 6120XP Interconnect Switch and they have a vested interest in VMware and Cisco, so this marriage of the 3 top IT vendors is a great fit.
Announcement of Vblock™ Infrastructure Packages
According to the announcement, the Vblock Infrastructure Package “will provide customers with a fundamentally better approach to streamlining and optimizing IT strategies around private clouds.” The packages will be fully integrated, tested, validated, and that combine best-in-class virtualization, networking, computing, storage, security, and management technologies from Cisco, EMC and VMware with end-to-end vendor accountability. My thought on these packages is that they are really nothing new. Cisco’s UCS has been around, VMware vSphere has been around and EMC’s storage has been around. The biggest message from this announcement is that there will soon be “bundles” that will simplify customers solutions. Will that take away from Solution Providers’ abilities to implement unique solutions? I don’t think so. Although this new announcement does not provide any new product, it does mark the beginning of an interesting relationship between 3 top IT giants and I think this announcement will definitely be an industry change – it will be interesting to see what follows.
UPDATE – click here check out a 3D model of the vBlocks Architecture.