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Vblocks: Data Center Hope, Or Hype?

Cisco, EMC, and VMware have supplied a string of high-profile data centers with these special packages--rackmount servers packed with memory and optimized for virtualization, plus built-in storage and network switching.
"We are extremely pleased with the adoption rate thus far," said David Goulden, executive VP and CFO of EMC, which profits from both EMC storage shipped in Vblocks and its VCE investment. VCE will "rapidly close in on the $1 billion run-rate goal that we highlighted last year," Goulden said during EMC's earnings call a week ago.

The Vblock alliance started as a joint partnership between Cisco Systems, which supplies the servers and network switching, and EMC, which supplied the storage. VMware was a backer, since its Vblocks use VMware virtual machines, along with Intel, whose CPUs were going into Cisco servers.

Last January, the alliance was spun off as its own limited liability corporation with headquarters in Richardson, Texas, and manufacturing in Franklin, Mass., and Cork, Ireland. VCE now has 1,000 employees in those locations, plus in Marlborough, Mass., and Santa Clara, Calif., where administration, customer service, and engineering are located.

Paul Avenant, president of enterprise service management at BMC, said his firm's customers "are looking for a robust, end-to-end, cloud management platform," and they'll be able to build out private cloud operations using integrated systems like Vblocks.

BMC customers who do so already, he said, include Telstra; telecommunications firm, QTS--the third largest supplier of data center services in the U.S.; and Harris.

BMC announced Tuesday a strategic alliance with VCE for its Cloud Lifecycle Management, a set of products to set up a policy-driven cloud that can create a blueprint of a business service, then deploy it in flexible ways to the virtualized infrastructure.

CA Technologies announced Monday that it is supplying Private Cloud Accelerator for Vblock, which leverages CA Process Automation and CA Service Catalogue products to generate an end user self-provisioning cloud operation for the enterprise.

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