VCE, the converged infrastructure lovechild of Cisco, EMC and VMware, is starting to get into interesting competitive tangles.
The company's founding proposition was that it sells stacks-in-a-box comprised entirely of kit from Cisco and EMC, plus VMware software. Cisco's since reduced itself to a silent partner in the company, largely because it competes directly with VMware in network virtualisation.
VCE is now a member of the EMC Federation, and in March found a way to diverge from the Cisco/EMC recipe by introducing the “VxBlock System”. That name's important because by virtue of not being called Vblock” it is allowed to have networking kit other than Cisco's under the hood.
Now the company's found a way to work with Citrix, in the form of a “VDI Integration Service for Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop”. There's nothing startling about this rig, which appears to be a validated stack to run Citrix's virty bits on a Vblock. But there is a noteworthy addition in the form of Citrix's NetScaler application delivery controller.
Citrix sells NetScaler as a virtual or physical appliance. Cisco integrates the device and resells it.
VCE tells us the virtual appliance can't do the job, so to make this new service work one needs a physical NetScaler. The company further says it “performs advance testing of NetScaler with the Vblock, but the ‘full implementation’ is at the customer site.”
The whole service includes “full implementation and advance testing of Citrix XenApp, XenDesktop and NetScaler components – including virtual desktop pools and configurations.”
VCE therefore looks to be in new territory here. Firstly, it's now working with a networking hardware entity other than Cisco, albeit in a market Cisco's vacated. It's also working with VMware's number one enemy in the end-user computing space, which can't be making Virtzilla very happy.
VCE's execs and sales peeps have targets to hit, so if they think this is one way to get there more power to them. But oh to be a fly on the wall in a meeting of VCE's parent companies! ®