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VCE Unveils NSX Integration

On the surface, a new product from VCE with a mouthful of a name could cause eyes to glaze. But a closer look shows that maker of Vblock converged infrastructure has expanded its direction with regards to software-defined networking.

VCE -- a joint venture between EMC, Cisco and VMware -- on Wednesday unveiled VCE Foundation for Federation Enterprise Hybrid Cloud. The new converged product enables factory integration of EMC and VMware technologies, including VMware NSX network virtualization.  Customers who want to deploy NSX (or the other technologies, like EMC ViPR software-defined storage) get the integration with single-call support.

The NSX integration is a big shift from VCE's decision a couple years ago to choose Cisco's Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) instead of NSX as its software-defined networking strategy for its preconfigured Vblock systems. At the time, VCE said customers could still deploy VMware ESX onto a Vblock, but would have to do so without VCE support for NSX.

The new NSX support, however, isn't all that surprising given that the VCE joint venture became an EMC business last fall, with Cisco's share cut to 10%. The decision was mutual in order to increase VCE's agility, EMC explained at the time.

Greg Ferro, a network architect and Network Computing contributor, said via email, "No one chooses to buy a Vblock for its networking strategy. They buy a Vblock to fit their VMware virtualization strategy and NSX is VMware's networking product."

Moreover, "NSX is perfectly suited to use cases that Vblock solves," he added.

"The change is driven by Cisco reducing its commitment to VCE to effectively nothing and VCE finally responding to customers' needs instead of its confusing ownership model," Ferro said.

A VMware spokesman said in an email that the company has heard from customers who need an easier way to adopt NSX, and the integration with VCE responds to that need. It's the first of several ways the company aims to make it easier for enterprises to adopt network virtualization, he said.

Customers will be able to order the new VCE converged solution sometime this quarter, according to VCE.