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VCE Revisited, Now and Zen

VCE stands for Virtual Computing Environment and was launched as a joint initiative

Yesterday VCE and their proud parents announced revenues had reached an annual run rate of a billion dollars. Today VCE announced some new products along with enhancements to others.

Before going forward though, let's take go back for a moment to help set the stage to see where things might be going in the future. A little over a three years ago, back in November 2009 VCE was born and initially named ACADIA by its proud parents (Cisco, EMC, Intel and VMware). Here is a post that I did back then.

VCE logo

BTW the reference to Zen might cause some to think that I don't how to properly refer to the Xen hypervisor. It is really a play from Robert Plants album Now and Zen and its song Tall Cool One. For those not familiar, click on the link and listen (some will have DejaVu, others might think its new and cool) as it takes a look back as well as present, similar to VCE.

Robert plant now and zen vs. Xen hypervisor

On the other hand, this might prompt the question of when will Xen be available on a Vblock? For that I defer you to VCE CTO Trey Layton (@treylayton).

VCE stands for Virtual Computing Environment and was launched as a joint initiative including products and a company (since renamed from Acadia to VCE) to bring all the pieces together. As a company, VCE is based in Plano Texas just north of downtown Dallas and down the road from EDS or what is now left of it after the HP acquisition The primary product of VCE has been the Vblock. The Vblock is a converged solution comprising components from their parents such as VMware virtualization and management software tools, Cisco servers, EMC storage and software tools and Intel processors.

Not surprisingly there are many ex-EDS personal at VCE along with some Cisco, EMC, VMware and many other people from other organizations in Plano as well as other cites. Also interesting to note that unlike other youngsters that grow up and stay in touch with their parents via technology or social media tools, VCE is also more than a few miles (try hundreds to thousands) from the proud parent headquarters on the San Jose California and Boston areas.

VCE logo

As part of a momentum update, VCE and their parents (Cisco, EMC, VMware and Intel) announced annual revenue run rate of a billion dollars in just three years. In addition the proud parents and VCE announced that they have over 1,000 revenue shipped and installed Vblock systems (also here) based on Cisco compute servers, and EMC storage solutions.

The VCE announcement consists of:

  • SAP HANA database application optimized Vblocks (two modes, 4 node and 8 node)
  • VCE Vision management tools and middleware or what I have refered to as Valueware
  • Entry level Vblock (100 and 200) with Cisco C servers and EMC (VNXe and VNX) storage
  • Performance and functionality enhancements to existing Vblock models 300 and 700
  • Statement of direction for more specialized Vblocks besides SAP HANA


Images courtesy with permission of VCE.com

While VCE is known for their Vblock converged, stack, integrated, data center in a box, private cloud or among other descriptors, there is more to the story. VCE is addressing convergence of common IT building blocks for cloud, virtual, and traditional physical environments. Common core building blocks include servers (compute or processors), networking (IO and connectivity), storage, hardware, software, management tools along with people, processes, metrics, policies and protocols.

Storage I/O image of cloud and virtual IT building blocks

I like the visual image that VCE is using (see below) as it aligns with and has themes common to what I have discussing in the past.


Images courtesy with permission of VCE.com

VCE Vision is software with APIs that collects information about Vblock hardware and software components to give insight to other tools and management frameworks. For example VMware vCenter plug-in and vCenter Operations Manager Adapter which should not be a surprise. Customers will also be able to write to the Vision API to meet their custom needs. Let us watch and see what VCE does to add support for other software and management tools, along with gain support from others.


Images courtesy with permission of VCE.com

Vision is more than just an information source feed for VMware vCenter or VASA or tools and frameworks from others. Vision is software developed by VCE that will enable insight and awareness into the Vblock and applications, however also confirm and give status of physical and logical component configuration. This means the basis for setting up automated or programmatic remediation such as determining what software or firmware to update based on different guidelines.


Images courtesy with permission of VCE.com

Initially VCE Vision provides (information) inventory and perspective of how those components are in compliance with firmware or software releases, so stay tuned. VCE is indicating that Vision will continue to evolve after all this is the V1.0 release with future enhancements targeted towards taking action, controlling or active management.

StorageIO Industry trends and perspectives image

Some trends, thoughts and perspectives

The industry adoption buzz is around software defined X where X can be data center (SDDC), or storage (SDS) or networking (SDN), or marketing (SDM) or other things. The hype and noise around software defined which in the case of some technologies is good. On the marketing hype side, this has led to some Software Defined BS (SDBS).

Thus, it was refreshing at least in the briefing session I was involved in to hear a minimum focus around software defined and more around customer and IT business enablement with technology that is shipping today.

VCE Vision is a good example of adding value hence what I refer to as Valueware around converged components. For those vendors who have similar solutions, I urge them to streamline, simplify and more clearly articulate their value proposition if they have valueware.

VCE logo

Vendors including VCE continue to evolve their platform based converged solutions by adding more valueware, management tools, interfaces, APIs, interoperability and support for more applications. The support for applications is also moving beyond simple line item ordering or part number skews to ease acquisition and purchasing. Some solutions include VCE Vblock, NetApp FlexPod that also uses Cisco compute servers, IBM PureSystems (PureFlex etc) and Dell vStart among others are extending their support and optimization for various software solutions. These software solutions range from SAP (including HANA), Microsoft (Exchange, SQLserver, Sharepoint), Citrix desktop (VDI), Oracle, OpenStack, Hadoop map reduce along with other little-data, big-data and big-bandwidth applications to name a few.

Additional and related reading:
Acadia VCE: VMware + Cisco + EMC = Virtual Computing Environment
Cloud conversations: Public, Private, Hybrid what about Community Clouds?
Cloud, virtualization, Storage I/O trends for 2013 and beyond
Convergence: People, Processes, Policies and Products
Hard product vs. soft product
Hardware, Software, what about Valueware?
Industry adoption vs. industry deployment, is there a difference?
Many faces of storage hypervisor, virtual storage or storage virtualization
The Human Face of Big Data, a Book Review
Why VASA is important to have in your VMware CASA

Congratulations to VCE, along with their proud parents, family, friends and partners, now how long will it take to reach your next billion dollars in annual run rate revenue. Hopefully it wont be three years until the next VCE revisited now and Zen ;).

VCE logo

Disclosure: EMC and Cisco have been StorageIO clients, I am a VMware vExpert that gets me a free beer after I pay for VMworld and Intel has named two of my books listed on their Recommended Reading List for Developers.

Ok, nuff said, time to head off to vBeers over in Minneapolis.

Cheers gs

Greg Schulz - Author Cloud and Virtual Data Storage Networking (CRC Press, 2011), The Green and Virtual Data Center (CRC Press, 2009), and Resilient Storage Networks (Elsevier, 2004)

twitter @storageio

All Comments, (C) and (TM) belong to their owners/posters, Other content (C) Copyright 2006-2013 StorageIO All Rights Reserved

More Stories By Greg Schulz

Greg Schulz is founder of the Server and StorageIO (StorageIO) Group, an IT industry analyst and consultancy firm. Greg has worked with various server operating systems along with storage and networking software tools, hardware and services. Greg has worked as a programmer, systems administrator, disaster recovery consultant, and storage and capacity planner for various IT organizations. He has worked for various vendors before joining an industry analyst firm and later forming StorageIO.

In addition to his analyst and consulting research duties, Schulz has published over a thousand articles, tips, reports and white papers and is a sought after popular speaker at events around the world. Greg is also author of the books Resilient Storage Network (Elsevier) and The Green and Virtual Data Center (CRC). His blog is at www.storageioblog.com and he can also be found on twitter @storageio.

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