VCE is caught in the middle of a War of the Roses

Posted by on May 22, 2014 in Hardware | 6 comments

I always enjoy trying to connect things in life to something that others can relate to. Often this is something like a movie, book or music. In this case it’s the War of the Roses movie that comes to mind when I think of the current state of VCE and its founding members. I’m going to only reference information, articles and rumors that are publicly available. I’m sure to catch a lot of crap for this but I know others are asking the same questions.

The summary of the movie plot is listed below. I think you can insert the players names here for the VCE story and get the point I’m making. Is each company wondering what it might be like without the other?

The Roses, Barbara and Oliver, live happily as a married couple. Then she starts to wonder what life would be like without Oliver, and likes what she sees. Both want to stay in the house, and so they begin a campaign to force each other to leave. In the middle of the fighting is D’Amato, the divorce lawyer. He gets to see how far both will go to get rid of the other, and boy do they go far..

From the sounds of things lately I think we can assume that the part of Oliver is played by Cisco and Barbara is EMC/VMware. The part of D’Amato will not be played by Danny DeVito but VCE. I don’t like it when Mom and Dad fight…



Cisco’s actions

Cisco has been about as pissed off as a teenage girl that just found out that Bobby was also calling Cindy behind her back. It all seemed to start to unravel when VMware announced the acquisition of Nicira which is now VMware NSX. There has been a FUD battle going on probably more from the Cisco side at this point, as they try and convince customers that their ACI Software Defined Networking (SDN) platform is the better choice.

Oh and the battle does not stop with ACI vs NSX. Cisco is now battling over storage with their recent acquisition of Whiptail an all flash storage platform. Initially Cisco was saying that it was going to be part of the UCS platform and would not affect Vblocks. But a recent CRM article here explains how Cisco is already offering a converged stack with UCS and Invicta that seems to directly compete with Vblocks. This could be confusing to some that might ask when is Cisco competing with itself? Also how long might it be before we see Invicta storage as an option in a Vblock? This would escalate the battle even further between the founding partners.


EMC & VMware actions

There has been a good amount of chatter lately about a secret project between EMC and VMware around a converged storage offering. Would this compete with Vblock, Cisco or Nutanix types of offerings. There has been coverage from Gigaom and CRN on the topic.  Only time will tell if this continues to be a rumor or a real product and what it will offer and who it will compete with. But rest assured its going to ruffle some feathers and bring up a lot of questions that will need to be answered.

Recently VMware responded to Cisco’s SDN attacks and FUD towards NSX with an article publish by CRN here. Basically its saying that a few customers are already running NSX on existing Vblocks and its going well. There is no need to purchase expensive networking hardware to accomplish SDN. This battle is a tough one for VCE who is supporting Cisco as their networking choice but only time will tell how many customers demand support for NSX from VCE.


Whats next?

So Mom (EMC) and Dad (Cisco) are clearly fighting what does this mean for the marriage (VCE)? Don’t think anyone knows right now. Will one of them kill each other, will they get a divorce? The one thing you can be sure of is people are watching closely and they have a ton of questions on products and longevity. I think this is something VCE needs to address sooner rather than later as they have been talking about their big increase in sales. This type of public image cannot be good for the marriage (partnership) longterm.



I know that this will likely inspire some passionate feelings between parties. I welcome comments, lets just keep them on topic and don’t get nasty.


About Brian Suhr

Brian is a VCDX5-DCV and a Sr. Tech Marketing Engineer at Nutanix and owner of this website. He is active in the VMware community and helps lead the Chicago VMUG group. Specializing in VDI and Cloud project designs. Awarded VMware vExpert status 6 years for 2016 - 2011. VCP3, VCP5, VCP5-Iaas, VCP-Cloud, VCAP-DTD, VCAP5-DCD, VCAP5-DCA, VCA-DT, VCP5-DT, Cisco UCS Design


  1. Nice post Brian!

    Part of what VCE also needs to do is to articulate that they are doing more than just combing EMC storage with Cisco servers and networks along with VMware. VCE can do a better job of articulating their solutions for other non vmware like their SAP and VDI bundles among others, not to mention their valueware soft product (e.g. management tools). With all of the software defined “x” (replace “x” with server, storage, datacenter, network, etc) whats missing is adding “management. Hence VCE should be known more for their valueware ( ) or software defined “converged solution” management.

    Cheers gs

  2. “I always enjoy trying to connect things”

    That’s admirable as a goal but in this post you are connecting from a whopping two (2) sources… that always claim to have so-called anonymous sources always ready with a barbed tale of drama… and that have also consistently been preaching gloom, doom, and imminent demise… since 2009.


  3. @Jay perhaps you should reach out to that particular venue you referring to as well as the reporter and have a conversation with them, if the reporter you are referring to is who I think it is, I know him.

    My guess is that if you had some good conversation / discussion material besides a press release, they would be interested in hearing it assuming there is something there.

    And fwiw, I do think that there is plenty for VCE to talk about your diversity and capabilities beyond being seen as just vmware vblocks which we both know is not the case ;). Hence, tell your story to the messengers vs. shooting the messengers? :)

    • Point(s) taken. :)

  4. I think it’s interesting to look for parallels and connecting the dots to “other” things. When I was at Sun, and we were acquired by Oracle, the movie I thought of was “When Larry Met Sally”. And if you listen to the Harry Connick Jr-led soundtrack, the “it had to be you” rings extremely true. Alas, that was then now, after being in Oracle Solaris product management and engineering for the past 4 years, (no longer at Oracle), I find quite a few important parallels about the industry we are in. So take my opinion with a grain of salt.

    1) Oracle’s engineered systems (even pre-Sun acquisition) were an example of convergence. As was Sun’s original ZFS appliance (prior to Oracle’s acquisition). The examples of converged thinking are blatantly obvious because they aim at simplifying the IT experience. These are small steps for vendors and giant steps for the industry.

    2) Having one vendor focus on its stack has tremendous benefits for users running that stack. diminishing benefits for those NOT running that same stack

    3) VCE is a portfolio that is greater then the sum of its parts. Whereby V+C+E < VCE yet each one can and continues to provide a portfolio of solutions for customers who want that choice.

    4) Engineered systems and Converged Infrastructure are examples of items on anyone's roadmap to business transformation. It requires a mind change to be able to think, adopt and evolve in this direction, and it starts with the C-suite who find the business and see IT as a function of the overall success and TCO

    my $0.02.

    Don't you just love flight delays? 😉

  5. Tech companies always encroach on the space of their partners. It just happens. It does not impact how VCE view the world. Positioning among their parent companies is nothing new for VCE.

    VCE is more of an Open Marriage!


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