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Cisco, EMC Expand Cloud, Data Center Offerings

Cisco and EMC expanded their partnership Tuesday, tightening their data
center and cloud computing links as they move to capture more IT
infrastructure. The new offering, called Virtual Computing Environment
(VCE), is glued together by EMC's VMware even as it draws on the
traditional networking strengths of Cisco and the storage power of EMC.

The ambitious effort is tailored to appeal to customers with as many as 6,000 virtual machines and as few as 800 virtual machines. Cisco and EMC have been working aggressively on expanding their tentacles beyond their traditional markets ever since EMC welcomed Cisco as in investor in its VMware company in the summer of 2007.

"This coalition is about more than technology and partnership," said Cisco CEO John Chambers in a statement, as he pointed to new data center opportunities. "It is about an entirely new and unique approach to the data center that improves utilization, power consumption, and security of information, all in a way that lowers the total cost to the customer, not via a box, but with a network-based architectural approach for optimizing virtual resources."

Initial customer trials of VCE's basic building pieces called Vblock Infrastructure Packages have resulted in cost reductions up to 40% for operating and managing virtualized data center infrastructures, Cisco and EMC said. The approach builds IT strategies around private clouds with Vblock Infrastructure Packages that contain a myriad of features that enable a global community of systems integrators, service providers, channel partners, and independent software vendors to participate in the deployment of VCE .

In addition, other major IT players are participating in the rollout of VCE including Intel -- another early investor in VMware -- whose Xeon processors and other Intel data center technology are involved. Intel is a major player in a new joint venture with Cisco, EMC, and VMware called Acadia, in delivering the Vblock architecture to customers. Acadia, designed to quickly transfer Vblock infrastructure to organizations eager to accelerate moves to virtualization and the private cloud, is expected to begin serving customers in early 2010. EMC introduced its Ionix Unified Infrastructure Manager to Vblock. EMC RSA security products have also been developed for use with Vblock packages.

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