Wednesday, November 4, 2009

VCE Forms Coalition of the Willing

As Reuters first reported last Friday, VMware, Cisco and EMC officially announced a special coalition on Tuesday under a new VCE moniker "Virtual Computing Environment".

The new VCE comprises four key components: pre-configured and tested product bundles called Vblocks; a joint direct sales and support organization headed by its own yet-to-be hired CEO; a new joint system integrator ecosystem, and a joint venture services and integration company called Acadia that counts Cisco, EMC, VMware, and Intel as investors.

This coalition is the lastest example of an increasing trend toward consolidation and vertical integration among the large enterprise IT vendors; however, what is unprecedented, is the degree to which it not only excludes, but flat out snubs all three of the VCE's existing OEM partners. Clearly, VMware is taking the biggest risk since HP alone sells 36% of all virtualized servers worldwide.

Furthermore, it's a mystery why BMC Software, a strategic partner and participant in Cisco's major UCS announcement last March, was snubbed. Perhaps it was so EMC CEO, Joe Tucci, could boast about his company's new management stack called Ionix during Tuesday's
announcement. Or perhaps it was BMC Software that wouldn't join the "Coalition of the Willing", at the expense of alienating some of it's most strategic and profitable partnerships in Dell, Deloitte, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, and Sun Microsystems.

I suspect customers will be taking a "wait and see" stance to this announcement. But judging by the public statements from Dell and NetApp, and HP's converged infrastructure architecture and products announcement today, most of the large IT vendors are viewing the VCE coalition in the context of an all out war.

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