New details about the VMware/Cisco/EMC Vblock emerge

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Chad Sakac, the Vice President of VMware Technology Alliance at EMC, published today an extensive and informative article about the Virtual Compute Enviroment (VCE) coalition products called Vblocks.

Along with the fresh news about Acadia, this helps a lot to understand the big picture of how the virtualization ecosystem may change in the near future.

First of all, Sakac informs that the coalition is developing a formal certification process to properly recognize as Vblocks a group of core elements that VMware, Cisco and EMC recommend.
This is to avoid that Vblock-like solutions popup everywhere.

Secondarily, and most importantly, Sackac details some of the capabilities of the Ionix Unified Infrastructure Manager (UIM), the management platform that EMC released to control the Vblocks as a whole:

  • It can subdivide the entire Vblock (compute, network, storage) and sets of Vblocks into multi-tenant management domains
  • It extends the idea in Cisco UCS Manager of a “service profile” including in the service profile any associated Cisco MDS and other Cisco Nexus/Catalyst network configuration needed.
  • It can manage many UCS systems and Vblocks from a single console.
  • It can enable simple state configuration changes over time – by default, the UCS, network, and storage element managers aren’t focused on “compliance over time”
  • It can take service profiles and copy/paste them with a single click on a multi-UCS environment.
  • It can schedule application of profiles and multi-step Vblock provisioning tasks
  • It can report out on jobs, and even provide audit reports and check off processes…
  • It can check against compliance with best practices: like “check to see that all service profiles are bound to templates, and aren’t homebrewed”:
  • It can check with compliance for configuration errors: for example here, automated error checking like the example below (looking for duplicate MAC addresses)

EMC published a 8-minutes demo of Ionix UIM about multi-tenancy that is worth a check:



Sakac even suggested some features that we customers could expect in Ionix 2.0:

  • It will further extend the “service profile” idea to provision the underlying storage
  • It will provide a “service catalog” for their entire Vblock – end-to-end deployment right up to adding the vSphere host to the cluster (or creating a new cluster) with a single click
  • It will provide a “pool of pools” management model for vSphere, compute, network, storage
  • It will provide the same tools for compliance and remediation across baselines