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Cisco, Dell Technologies renew VxBlock dalliance

Cisco and Dell Technologies may be rivals in the server business, but when it comes to converged infrastructure, the two vendors remain strong partners.

Cisco, EMC and VMware in 2009 formed VCE, a joint venture that ushered in Vblock era of converged infrastructure. A lot has changed since in the intervening 10 years. VCE is gone. EMC and VMware are now subsidiaries of Dell. Dell EMC VxBlock 1000 is the new branding for the former Vblock product.

But the VxBlock 1000 joint venture will continue for the foreseeable future. Cisco and Dell said they hammered out a multiyear partnership to expand development and engineering for containers and hybrid clouds.

Pete Manca, a Dell EMC senior vice president of networking, said in a blog post that Dell and Cisco plan to further align executive, product marketing and sales teams. Cisco plans to invest in “a range of training initiatives” to support the Dell EMC VxBlock flagship.

The VxBlock turnkey system integrates Dell EMC storage and data protection with Cisco Unified Compute System (UCS) servers, Cisco Nexus switching and VMware virtualization. Customers may choose any of Dell EMC’s major arrays to build VxBlock as a scale-out platform.

Converged infrastructure (CI) is sold as a preconfigured system with qualified network, server and storage hardware from different vendors. By contrast, hyper-converged infrastructure combines hardware and virtualization management in an integrated appliance.

Dell uses PowerEdge servers, EMC storage and VMware for a host of CI and HCI products, but still partners with rivals such as Cisco and HCI pioneer Nutanix. In addition to VxBlock converged infrastructure, Dell EMC HCI includes VxRail and VxRack systems built with Dell PowerEdge servers and VMware vSAN storage software. Dell EMC also sells the XC Series HCI under an OEM deal with Nutanix.

Cisco has other storage partners for CI besides Dell EMC. IBM VersaStack, NetApp FlexPod and Pure Storage FlashStack converged systems also combine Cisco UCS compute with storage arrays. The networking vendor also sells a branded Cisco HyperFlex HCI platform.

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