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Cisco/EMC/VMware Triad Lets Orange Play With Its VBlocks

Flexible 4 Business "Alliance" Really Just Another VCE Design Win

Like d'Artagnan joining the Three Musketeers, Orange Business Services has teamed up with the VCE Coalition triad of Cisco, EMC and VMWare in a thing called Flexible 4 Business, to provide VBlock-based cloud infrastructure solutions to enterprise customers.  VCE's VBlocks are pre-configured, pre-tested "infrastructure packages" that come in three sizes - "moderate", large, and "massive" - and comprise Cisco's Unified Computing System blade servers and Ethernet switches, EMC's storage systems, and VMware's VSphere virtualization software.

For its part in the Flexible 4 Business endeavor, OBS will couple the VBlock technology with some of its own software for security, communications and backup, along with its established hosting, systems integration, and professional services, into what it is calling "end-to-end [private] cloud computing services for enterprises."  As the name implies, Flexible 4 Business is focusing on flexibility and graceful evolution by offering deployment withing customers' data centers, OBS/partner facilities, or a combination of both, ongoing management by OBS or the customer, and either capex (purchase) or opex (subscription) pricing.

Although the quaternary digit in the name is intended to symbolize the four companies, it is unclear what role other than "vendor" Cisco, EMC, and VMware will play in this so-called alliance.

The announcement presented the now-standard cloud liturgy and litany - in the name of savings, flexibility, and performance, amen - and all participants were fairly senior executives in their respective companies who used the words "partnership" and "alliance" countless times.  But, behind the momentous mask it is hard to see it as anything more than another design win for the VCE Coalition and a new product announcement for Orange Business Services.  For example, there is no evidence so far of VCE promoting Orange's services in any way in their own sales or marketing channels, and, given that they are making similar deals with other telcos who are bound to overlap Orange's massive global services footprint, it seems unlikely that they will.  So, for Orange, it was all about the "alliance", but, for the others it was all about themselves and VCE.

The only customer presented at the event was $5 billion EADS/Cassidian, whose web site tells us it is "a worldwide leader in global security solutions and systems, providing lead system integration and value-added products and services to civil and military customers around the globe."  Huh?  A government/military systems integrator doesn't exactly scream "enterprise".  And, to make matters worse, the guy from Cassidian didn't exactly pledge allegiance.  Instead his comments were more of the "cloud looks interesting" and "this looks good" variety.  It was actually kind of sad.

More power to Orange, Cisco, EMC, and VMware on the whole thing; it looks like good stuff all the way around.  But, one must wonder what good actually comes from the institutional ectoplasm conjured by an announcement like this.  Cloud computing already suffers (undeservedly) from the stigma of sizzle over substance on the technology side; announcements like this portend more of the same on the business side.  Not helping, fellas.





More Stories By Tim Negris

Tim Negris is SVP, Marketing & Sales at Yottamine Analytics, a pioneering Big Data machine learning software company. He occasionally authors software industry news analysis and insights on Ulitzer.com, is a 25-year technology industry veteran with expertise in software development, database, networking, social media, cloud computing, mobile apps, analytics, and other enabling technologies.

He is recognized for ability to rapidly translate complex technical information and concepts into compelling, actionable knowledge. He is also widely credited with coining the term and co-developing the concept of the “Thin Client” computing model while working for Larry Ellison in the early days of Oracle.

Tim has also held a variety of executive and consulting roles in a numerous start-ups, and several established companies, including Sybase, Oracle, HP, Dell, and IBM. He is a frequent contributor to a number of publications and sites, focusing on technologies and their applications, and has written a number of advanced software applications for social media, video streaming, and music education.

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