Channel Marker

Nov 4 2009   9:42PM GMT

With Cisco-EMC pairing, what’s up with VMware?

badarrow Barbara Darrow Profile: badarrow

The HP vs. Cisco/EMC/VMware hype fight this week re-emphasized that Cisco and EMC (and its subsidiary VMware) are joined at the hip in their aggressive grab for data center share. 

Recurring rumors have Cisco giving up all pretense at some point (John Chambers: ” Ah heck, let’s just get this over with!”) and buying EMC outright.

The newly-announced hydra-headed Cisco-EMC-VMware alliance wasn’t THAT but it was still pretty interesting. All I could think as the channel chiefs from the three companies did their best to position this thing as good for VARs, was that if I were HP, I’d sure as hell start pushing Microsoft Hyper-V with both hands. HP and Microsoft are clearly best buds again even though HP still counts VMware as a strategic partner–at least on paper.

After all, Cisco started this mess, when it decided to jump into  the middle of the data center server business–basically slapping HP with a white glove.

EMC, Cisco, VMware put their channel guys on the phone yesterday to pitch how this joint effort really does require partners to put the solutions together.  VMware’s Ben Matheson did his best to say that VMware’s position with other hardware partners will be unaffected.

“We have great partnerships with HP, Dell, NetApp and otehrs. This [deal] won’t impact those at all. We want to continue to parnter with them. vBlock is very exciting but it is in no way exclusive and we won’t ignore partners,” he said.

We know they have to say these things, but the closed-captioning was “Yeah, right.”

Both parties in this food fight are contorting themselves to have it both ways.

 HP claims its tightly converged computing gear brings the benefits of that integration but does not foreclose use of third party components. VMware says little things like corporate ownership and a very special relationship with Cisco does not mean it will stint Cisco competitors.

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