Complexity is easy. Simplicity is hard. Solving operational complexity has been one of the hardest challenges in data center and cloud build-outs. For customers, the challenge of interfacing with different infrastructure vendors and driving integration has been a significant hurdle in the past, slowing application rollouts. The success of the integrated Infrastructure approach has largely been due to focused efforts on behalf of multiple vendors to come together to solve this challenge, resulting in a new hyper-growth market category being created. According to IDC’s Q3CY2014 integrated infrastructure tracker, the integrated infrastructure market has grown to ~$5.5B annually and most analysts have this market growing at 30+ percent YoY.

A shining example of solving this huge challenge has been VCE’s Vblock offerings that have been on a stellar growth path. Nothing speaks better of this than customer success and market traction it enjoys –

  • VCE surpassed a $2 billion annualized demand run-rate for Vblock and Vblock-related products and services exiting Q3 2014.
  • Its sixth consecutive quarter of greater than 50% year-over-year demand growth.
  • Clear leader in integrated infrastructure systems according to Gartner and IDC
  • A leader in the Gartner, Inc. Magic Quadrant for Integrated Systems, based on an evaluation of VCE’s completeness of vision and ability to execute.

With its UCS Integrated Infrastructure solution approach Cisco has been literally in the midst of all of this action. Cisco UCS, Nexus and MDS switches have been key components of the integrated offering along with innovations from the other companies.  Customers have loved the operational benefits as they scale their cloud build outs. Last October next-generation “ACI-ready” Vblocks were introduced allowing customers to further accelerate their journey to SDN and cloud.

And now it is time to raise the bar even further. As VCE introduces VxBlocks in addition to the flagship Vblock offering, as well as vScale architectures and VCE Vision 3.0, Cisco and VCE are together committed to build on the past success as we align our sights to the future –

  • VCE and Cisco are committed to drive open, future proof converged infrastructure solutions through the GA shipments of ACI-Ready Nexus 9K enabled Vblocks and Cisco UCS. We already have 100+ joint customers in production.
  • VxBlocks will be featuring Nexus 9K as their default networking platform to support all their different flavors of SDN within their integrated infrastructure, even as Cisco UCS will continue to be their default compute platform. As of Cisco’s last fiscal quarter, there were over 1700+ Nexus 9000 and Cisco ACI customers, making the Nexus 9000 one of the highest growth products within the company even as new Cisco APIC customers shot up to over 300+ within two quarters. Cisco UCS has been on a tear in terms of market share worldwide and has continued to set world record benchmarks.
  • The Vscale Fabric is ACI enabled and includes the Nexus 9000s as the networking component of the fabric.  This  allows customers to choose ACI and get the added benefits of such.  If a customer chooses to deploy ACI in the fabric then the APIC would be a deployed as an add-on.   The Vscale architecture also uses MDS as the SAN fabric enhancing the convergence capabilities.

 What Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) Brings to Vblocks and VxBlocks:

Cisco ACI is all about operational flexibility and choice. For example, customers can enjoy the  benefits of the Nexus 9396 in a standalone mode, or deploy it as an ACI leaf configuration. This is called “ACI-ready”. They can also be “ACI-enabled”, which means the Nexus 9396s are ACI leafs connected to spines and APIC clusters all part (provisioned and supported) of a Vblock or VxBlock.

The reasons why Cisco ACI is gaining significant traction in the market today and the benefits it brings to data center and cloud architectures is precisely the same reason why it will be very successful with the Vblock and VxBlock rollouts.

  • Cisco ACI adopts a systems approach – it is all about bringing together disparate elements – infrastructural as well as operational into a tightly integrated architectural model. This is very well aligned with the core value proposition of VCE Vblocks and VxBlocks.
  • It is policy-based focused on delivering rapid automation – it’s all about operational simplicity and infrastructure agility. Precisely what customers expect out of integrated infrastructures. This policy model is extensible across compute, network and storage functions.
  • Open architectural principles – ACI adopts an open architectural approach very conducive for integration with open interfaces and a variety of open ecosystem partnerships. It is designed to be hypervisor agnostic
  • Application centric approach to security – multi-layered security, micro-segmentation capabilities, PCI compliance and the ability to have secure multi-tenancy ease the way to cloud buildouts
  • Full visibility and troubleshooting – Cisco ACI brings in a “no-compromise” approach to visibility across the entire fabric allowing for easier troubleshooting and resolving Day 1,2 issues rapidly for physical, virtual or cloud workloads

As VCE launches its new offering, Cisco is proud to be a partner in this dynamic set of innovations bringing continued value to our joint customers. With the industry’s best data center switching solution (Nexus 9000), the most comprehensive SDN solution (Cisco ACI), the gold standard for computing systems (Cisco UCS), as well as the #1 SAN solution (Cisco MDS), Cisco is extremely confident that the future of these joint solutions will be as successful as the past, and that these new architectures that embrace software defined innovations will only serve the cause of accelerating data center and cloud buildouts.

Congratulations to VCE on this major milestone!


Shashi Kiran

Senior Director, Market Management

Data Center, Cloud and Open Networking