Thanks to the help of VMware, it really seems that Cisco is turning into a virtualization vendor.
The company’s interest in virtualization has its roots in mid-2007, when it invested $150M in VMware, but the ambition to play a major role in this industry became evident with the launch of Unified Computing System (UCS) and the announcement of a coalition with EMC and VMware.
Just yesterday, Cisco announced a second alliance with NetApp to jointly deliver a private cloud architecture called Secure Multi-Tenancy. Of course such cloud is powered by VMware virtualization.
A much bigger anyway was announced a couple of days ago and passed under the radar of most: Cisco launched an Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) cloud offering for service providers.
With this initiative, Cisco is basically pushing a specific architecture to simplify the jumpstart to IaaS cloud computing. The recommended design implies the use of many Cisco gears (from the MDS to the Nexus 700), of any storage backend of choice (even if EMC is the first suggestion) and, guess what, VMware vSphere 4.0 as the foundation virtualization platform:
Service providers that want to embrace this approach just have to call Cisco which will provide pre-tested and validate product configuration guides and obviously all the components.
Cisco is truly leveraging the cloud computing opportunity by suggesting that its complexity can be tackled with ready-to-go solutions for the customers’ piece of mind.
In doing so, the company is turning into a formidable selling machine for VMware that, over the long run, will disturb the partnership and joint activity of VMware and HP (which is preparing to react after the acquisition of 3Com).