Welcome!

Microsoft Cloud Authors: John Basso, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Mihai Corbuleac

Related Topics: Containers Expo Blog, Microservices Expo, Microsoft Cloud, Open Source Cloud, IoT User Interface, @CloudExpo

Containers Expo Blog: Blog Feed Post

VCE Revisited, Now and Zen

VCE stands for Virtual Computing Environment and was launched as a joint initiative

Yesterday VCE and their proud parents announced revenues had reached an annual run rate of a billion dollars. Today VCE announced some new products along with enhancements to others.

Before going forward though, let's take go back for a moment to help set the stage to see where things might be going in the future. A little over a three years ago, back in November 2009 VCE was born and initially named ACADIA by its proud parents (Cisco, EMC, Intel and VMware). Here is a post that I did back then.

VCE logo

BTW the reference to Zen might cause some to think that I don't how to properly refer to the Xen hypervisor. It is really a play from Robert Plants album Now and Zen and its song Tall Cool One. For those not familiar, click on the link and listen (some will have DejaVu, others might think its new and cool) as it takes a look back as well as present, similar to VCE.

Robert plant now and zen vs. Xen hypervisor

On the other hand, this might prompt the question of when will Xen be available on a Vblock? For that I defer you to VCE CTO Trey Layton (@treylayton).

VCE stands for Virtual Computing Environment and was launched as a joint initiative including products and a company (since renamed from Acadia to VCE) to bring all the pieces together. As a company, VCE is based in Plano Texas just north of downtown Dallas and down the road from EDS or what is now left of it after the HP acquisition The primary product of VCE has been the Vblock. The Vblock is a converged solution comprising components from their parents such as VMware virtualization and management software tools, Cisco servers, EMC storage and software tools and Intel processors.

Not surprisingly there are many ex-EDS personal at VCE along with some Cisco, EMC, VMware and many other people from other organizations in Plano as well as other cites. Also interesting to note that unlike other youngsters that grow up and stay in touch with their parents via technology or social media tools, VCE is also more than a few miles (try hundreds to thousands) from the proud parent headquarters on the San Jose California and Boston areas.

VCE logo

As part of a momentum update, VCE and their parents (Cisco, EMC, VMware and Intel) announced annual revenue run rate of a billion dollars in just three years. In addition the proud parents and VCE announced that they have over 1,000 revenue shipped and installed Vblock systems (also here) based on Cisco compute servers, and EMC storage solutions.

The VCE announcement consists of:

  • SAP HANA database application optimized Vblocks (two modes, 4 node and 8 node)
  • VCE Vision management tools and middleware or what I have refered to as Valueware
  • Entry level Vblock (100 and 200) with Cisco C servers and EMC (VNXe and VNX) storage
  • Performance and functionality enhancements to existing Vblock models 300 and 700
  • Statement of direction for more specialized Vblocks besides SAP HANA


Images courtesy with permission of VCE.com

While VCE is known for their Vblock converged, stack, integrated, data center in a box, private cloud or among other descriptors, there is more to the story. VCE is addressing convergence of common IT building blocks for cloud, virtual, and traditional physical environments. Common core building blocks include servers (compute or processors), networking (IO and connectivity), storage, hardware, software, management tools along with people, processes, metrics, policies and protocols.

Storage I/O image of cloud and virtual IT building blocks

I like the visual image that VCE is using (see below) as it aligns with and has themes common to what I have discussing in the past.


Images courtesy with permission of VCE.com

VCE Vision is software with APIs that collects information about Vblock hardware and software components to give insight to other tools and management frameworks. For example VMware vCenter plug-in and vCenter Operations Manager Adapter which should not be a surprise. Customers will also be able to write to the Vision API to meet their custom needs. Let us watch and see what VCE does to add support for other software and management tools, along with gain support from others.


Images courtesy with permission of VCE.com

Vision is more than just an information source feed for VMware vCenter or VASA or tools and frameworks from others. Vision is software developed by VCE that will enable insight and awareness into the Vblock and applications, however also confirm and give status of physical and logical component configuration. This means the basis for setting up automated or programmatic remediation such as determining what software or firmware to update based on different guidelines.


Images courtesy with permission of VCE.com

Initially VCE Vision provides (information) inventory and perspective of how those components are in compliance with firmware or software releases, so stay tuned. VCE is indicating that Vision will continue to evolve after all this is the V1.0 release with future enhancements targeted towards taking action, controlling or active management.

StorageIO Industry trends and perspectives image

Some trends, thoughts and perspectives

The industry adoption buzz is around software defined X where X can be data center (SDDC), or storage (SDS) or networking (SDN), or marketing (SDM) or other things. The hype and noise around software defined which in the case of some technologies is good. On the marketing hype side, this has led to some Software Defined BS (SDBS).

Thus, it was refreshing at least in the briefing session I was involved in to hear a minimum focus around software defined and more around customer and IT business enablement with technology that is shipping today.

VCE Vision is a good example of adding value hence what I refer to as Valueware around converged components. For those vendors who have similar solutions, I urge them to streamline, simplify and more clearly articulate their value proposition if they have valueware.

VCE logo

Vendors including VCE continue to evolve their platform based converged solutions by adding more valueware, management tools, interfaces, APIs, interoperability and support for more applications. The support for applications is also moving beyond simple line item ordering or part number skews to ease acquisition and purchasing. Some solutions include VCE Vblock, NetApp FlexPod that also uses Cisco compute servers, IBM PureSystems (PureFlex etc) and Dell vStart among others are extending their support and optimization for various software solutions. These software solutions range from SAP (including HANA), Microsoft (Exchange, SQLserver, Sharepoint), Citrix desktop (VDI), Oracle, OpenStack, Hadoop map reduce along with other little-data, big-data and big-bandwidth applications to name a few.

Additional and related reading:
Acadia VCE: VMware + Cisco + EMC = Virtual Computing Environment
Cloud conversations: Public, Private, Hybrid what about Community Clouds?
Cloud, virtualization, Storage I/O trends for 2013 and beyond
Convergence: People, Processes, Policies and Products
Hard product vs. soft product
Hardware, Software, what about Valueware?
Industry adoption vs. industry deployment, is there a difference?
Many faces of storage hypervisor, virtual storage or storage virtualization
The Human Face of Big Data, a Book Review
Why VASA is important to have in your VMware CASA

Congratulations to VCE, along with their proud parents, family, friends and partners, now how long will it take to reach your next billion dollars in annual run rate revenue. Hopefully it wont be three years until the next VCE revisited now and Zen ;).

VCE logo

Disclosure: EMC and Cisco have been StorageIO clients, I am a VMware vExpert that gets me a free beer after I pay for VMworld and Intel has named two of my books listed on their Recommended Reading List for Developers.

Ok, nuff said, time to head off to vBeers over in Minneapolis.

Cheers gs

Greg Schulz - Author Cloud and Virtual Data Storage Networking (CRC Press, 2011), The Green and Virtual Data Center (CRC Press, 2009), and Resilient Storage Networks (Elsevier, 2004)

twitter @storageio

All Comments, (C) and (TM) belong to their owners/posters, Other content (C) Copyright 2006-2013 StorageIO All Rights Reserved

More Stories By Greg Schulz

Greg Schulz is founder of the Server and StorageIO (StorageIO) Group, an IT industry analyst and consultancy firm. Greg has worked with various server operating systems along with storage and networking software tools, hardware and services. Greg has worked as a programmer, systems administrator, disaster recovery consultant, and storage and capacity planner for various IT organizations. He has worked for various vendors before joining an industry analyst firm and later forming StorageIO.

In addition to his analyst and consulting research duties, Schulz has published over a thousand articles, tips, reports and white papers and is a sought after popular speaker at events around the world. Greg is also author of the books Resilient Storage Network (Elsevier) and The Green and Virtual Data Center (CRC). His blog is at www.storageioblog.com and he can also be found on twitter @storageio.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, demonstrated how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and shared the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the develo...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MangoApps will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MangoApps provides modern company intranets and team collaboration software, allowing workers to stay connected and productive from anywhere in the world and from any device.
The IETF draft standard for M2M certificates is a security solution specifically designed for the demanding needs of IoT/M2M applications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Brian Romansky, VP of Strategic Technology at TrustPoint Innovation, explained how M2M certificates can efficiently enable confidentiality, integrity, and authenticity on highly constrained devices.
"We've discovered that after shows 80% if leads that people get, 80% of the conversations end up on the show floor, meaning people forget about it, people forget who they talk to, people forget that there are actual business opportunities to be had here so we try to help out and keep the conversations going," explained Jeff Mesnik, Founder and President of ContentMX, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Internet of @ThingsExpo has announced today that Chris Matthieu has been named tech chair of Internet of @ThingsExpo 2016 Silicon Valley. The 6thInternet of @ThingsExpo will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
When people aren’t talking about VMs and containers, they’re talking about serverless architecture. Serverless is about no maintenance. It means you are not worried about low-level infrastructural and operational details. An event-driven serverless platform is a great use case for IoT. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Animesh Singh, an STSM and Lead for IBM Cloud Platform and Infrastructure, will detail how to build a distributed serverless, polyglot, microservices framework using open source tec...
The 19th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Digital Transformation, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportuni...
From wearable activity trackers to fantasy e-sports, data and technology are transforming the way athletes train for the game and fans engage with their teams. In his session at @ThingsExpo, will present key data findings from leading sports organizations San Francisco 49ers, Orlando Magic NBA team. By utilizing data analytics these sports orgs have recognized new revenue streams, doubled its fan base and streamlined costs at its stadiums. John Paul is the CEO and Founder of VenueNext. Prior ...
A critical component of any IoT project is what to do with all the data being generated. This data needs to be captured, processed, structured, and stored in a way to facilitate different kinds of queries. Traditional data warehouse and analytical systems are mature technologies that can be used to handle certain kinds of queries, but they are not always well suited to many problems, particularly when there is a need for real-time insights.
"My role is working with customers, helping them go through this digital transformation. I spend a lot of time talking to banks, big industries, manufacturers working through how they are integrating and transforming their IT platforms and moving them forward," explained William Morrish, General Manager Product Sales at Interoute, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
CenturyLink has announced that application server solutions from GENBAND are now available as part of CenturyLink’s Networx contracts. The General Services Administration (GSA)’s Networx program includes the largest telecommunications contract vehicles ever awarded by the federal government. CenturyLink recently secured an extension through spring 2020 of its offerings available to federal government agencies via GSA’s Networx Universal and Enterprise contracts. GENBAND’s EXPERiUS™ Application...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 19th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world and ThingsExpo Silicon Valley Call for Papers is now open.
Big Data engines are powering a lot of service businesses right now. Data is collected from users from wearable technologies, web behaviors, purchase behavior as well as several arbitrary data points we’d never think of. The demand for faster and bigger engines to crunch and serve up the data to services is growing exponentially. You see a LOT of correlation between “Cloud” and “Big Data” but on Big Data and “Hybrid,” where hybrid hosting is the sanest approach to the Big Data Infrastructure pro...
The IoT is changing the way enterprises conduct business. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, discussed how businesses can gain an edge over competitors by empowering consumers to take control through IoT. He cited examples such as a Washington, D.C.-based sports club that leveraged IoT and the cloud to develop a comprehensive booking system. He also highlighted how IoT can revitalize and restore outdated business models, making them profitable ...
We all know the latest numbers: Gartner, Inc. forecasts that 6.4 billion connected things will be in use worldwide in 2016, up 30 percent from last year, and will reach 20.8 billion by 2020. We're rapidly approaching a data production of 40 zettabytes a day – more than we can every physically store, and exabytes and yottabytes are just around the corner. For many that’s a good sign, as data has been proven to equal money – IF it’s ingested, integrated, and analyzed fast enough. Without real-ti...
I wanted to gather all of my Internet of Things (IOT) blogs into a single blog (that I could later use with my University of San Francisco (USF) Big Data “MBA” course). However as I started to pull these blogs together, I realized that my IOT discussion lacked a vision; it lacked an end point towards which an organization could drive their IOT envisioning, proof of value, app dev, data engineering and data science efforts. And I think that the IOT end point is really quite simple…
With 15% of enterprises adopting a hybrid IT strategy, you need to set a plan to integrate hybrid cloud throughout your infrastructure. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Steven Dreher, Director of Solutions Architecture at Green House Data, discussed how to plan for shifting resource requirements, overcome challenges, and implement hybrid IT alongside your existing data center assets. Highlights included anticipating workload, cost and resource calculations, integrating services on both sides...
"We are a well-established player in the application life cycle management market and we also have a very strong version control product," stated Flint Brenton, CEO of CollabNet,, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
The IoT has the potential to create a renaissance of manufacturing in the US and elsewhere. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Florent Solt, CTO and chief architect of Netvibes, discussed how the expected exponential increase in the amount of data that will be processed, transported, stored, and accessed means there will be a huge demand for smart technologies to deliver it. Florent Solt is the CTO and chief architect of Netvibes. Prior to joining Netvibes in 2007, he co-founded Rift Technologi...
Unless your company can spend a lot of money on new technology, re-engineering your environment and hiring a comprehensive cybersecurity team, you will most likely move to the cloud or seek external service partnerships. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Darren Guccione, CEO of Keeper Security, revealed what you need to know when it comes to encryption in the cloud.