CA Technologies, for example, incorporates the UIM into its products to give enterprises the option of allowing end-user self-provisioning, without IT needing to set up a strict checklist of a few virtual server selections. Instead, the end user might fill out a form describing what she needs--perhaps an application requiring intensive I/O--and after IT review, the one-of-a-kind system gets carved out of the Vblock. Vblock's management layer recognizes the set of logical resources and can report on them as a unit to a systems management monitor. As of today, the monitor will be provided by either CA, BMC, or VMware.
VCE is not the only builder of integrated racks of virtualized servers. HP's Converged Infrastructure is another example, and Dell's vStart integrated racks is another; each have their own management interfaces. But VCE is building flexible, programmatic access into its second generation Vblocks for third parties, including their new owners, so software may be written that automates the coordinated operation of server CPUs, memory, I/O, storage volumes, and network bandwidth.
VCE's secret sauce, says CSC's Bhargava, is not unique technology. It lies more in a rigorously specified, integrated and produced rack, no configuration needed, with a unified management interface. The secret sauce is not in the components but in "the simplicity, the many things they do slightly better, leading to a sum of the parts that's more than slightly better," he says.
CSC currently has eight data centers based on Vblocks. It's headed for 12 by the end of the year. Vblocks performance "is very good, regardless of workload," which makes it a suitable infrastructure for CSC cloud services, he says.
In effect, appliance building--where devices are integrated into racks under a software manager--is clearly the future of many big data centers. There might be several key suppliers, including HP, IBM and Dell--but VCE, on track to earn $800 million over the next 12 months--is already showing where the trend will go.