EMC invites VMware to sit at its new technology advisory board

An amusing piece appeared earlier this week on PC World: Carl Eschenbach, Executive Vice President of Field Operations at VMware claimed that media overplayed his company’s role in the Cisco-EMC partnership.

That’s a interesting statement considering that EMC owns about 80% of VMware and that Cisco invested in the virtualization vendors over $160M.
It’s interesting considering that the Virtual Compute Environment (VCE) coalition that EMC and Cisco formed and announced in November 2009 includes VMware.
It’s interesting considering that VMware invested (along with Intel) in the joint venture, ACADIA, that EMC and Cisco formed to build, operate and transfer the VBlocks fabric computing units.
And it’s interesting considering that EMC developed an ad-hoc fabric manager, the Ionix Unified Infrastructure Manager (UIM), that fully blends VMware’s virtualization platform with network and storage layers.

The entire point is not if VMware treats all partners, including EMC and Cisco competitors, in the same way. The point is about what EMC and Cisco know about the VMware roadmap that others don’t, which gives them a competitive advantage very hard to beat.

The idea that VMware is playing a minor role in this alliance is funny since both its partners are fully leveraging its technology to boost sales like never before.
Cisco is leveraging vSphere to quickly place its brand new blade servers (the Unified Computing System) inside enterprises that have been in the HP domain for a long time. EMC is leveraging vSphere to sell new storage arrays that are more and more virtualization-friendly and that can do amazing things.
VMware technology is definitively instrumental for the success of both, and without it, it’s not said that Cisco’s servers and EMC’s arrays would be as much appealing.

On top of that, EMC just formed a new technology advisory board. And VMware has not one, but two sits there: Steve Herrod, CTO and Senior Vice President of R&D, and Rod Johnson, General Manager, SpringSource and Senior Vice President of Middleware.

This sounds a pretty much major role in the alliance. And EMC’s competitors have a few choices to compete with this level of insight. Except, of course, including VMware in their technology advisory boards too.