VMware: Media overplaying our role in EMC-Cisco partnership

Virtualization software company remains neutral, willing to partner with anyone

The significance of VMware's role in a three-way partnership with Cisco Systems and EMC has been overblown by the media, a senior VMware executive said, reaffirming the company's intention to remain neutral amidst competition between top hardware makers.

"If you look at VMware's strategy, for as long as we've been in existence, we've been a very open software platform that partners with a number of ecosystem partners, particularly in the x86 server space," said Carl Eschenbach, executive vice president of field operations at VMware. "We treat everyone equally."

In November, VMware, Cisco and EMC -- which owns 80 percent of VMware -- announced the VCE coalition, a partnership to develop a series of cloud-computing platforms designed and tested to handle different workloads. These hardware components, called Vblocks, are based on servers and networking gear from Cisco, EMC's storage and VMware's VSphere virtualization software.

As part of the arrangement, EMC and Cisco established a services joint venture called Acadia. That venture is now headed by Michael Capellas, formerly chairman and CEO of Compaq Computer and ex-president of Hewlett-Packard, who also holds overall responsibility for managing the VCE partnership.

While VCE officially stands for Virtual Computing Environment, the initials have another meaning as well, as Chuck Hollis, vice president of global marketing and chief technology officer at EMC noted on his blog: "It's pretty obvious that the acronym refers to the initials of the three companies: VMware, Cisco and EMC," he wrote.

While VMware is a member of the VCE coalition, the company's software is just one component of the Vblock design, nothing more, Eschenbach said.

"The media, quite honestly, is trying to make more of this than it actually is," he said, noting the company continues to work closely with Hewlett-Packard, IBM and Dell on their virtualization and cloud-computing initiatives. "VMware is open to partnering with everyone."

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