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VCE (company)

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Title: VCE (company)  
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VCE (company)

Virtual Computing Environment coalition
Type Limited Liability Company
Industry Computer data storage
Founded 2009
2011 (as VCE)
Headquarters Richardson, Texas
Key people Praveen Akkiraju (CEO)
Frank Hauck (President)
Trey Layton (CTO)
Products Vblock Systems
Website .com.vcewww

VCE, the Virtual Computing Environment Company, is a privately held American computer integration company formed in 2009 (originally named Acadia) by Cisco Systems and EMC Corporation with additional investments from VMware and Intel Corporation.

VCE builds and assembles Vblock Systems using EMC storage, Cisco servers and networking, and VMware virtualization technology. It bundles and tests these systems before shipping them to customers.[1]


  • History 1
  • Products and services 2
    • Original systems 2.1
    • Enterprise-level systems 2.2
    • Midmarket and entry level systems 2.3
    • Specialized systems 2.4
    • Software 2.5
  • Services 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


Cisco Systems, EMC Corporation and VMware (partially owned by EMC) unveiled a joint partnership in November 2009 to develop cloud computing platforms called Vblock Infrastructure Packages.[2] The partnership was originally called the VMware-Cisco-EMC alliance, though the name was later shortened to VCE, for the “Virtual Computing Environment coalition”.[3][4]

At the same EMC World trade show, Cisco and EMC introduced a joint venture named Acadia.[5][6] The goal of Acadia, originally set up as a separate legal entity, was to build Vblock Infrastructure Packages in a standardized and repeatable fashion for customer data centers.[7] Michael Capellas, who also was a board member of Cisco, was named chairman of Acadia, and its first chief executive officer (CEO) in May 2010.[8][9] Praveen Akkiraju is VCE's current CEO. Sales initially encountered some confusion among customers (which often had different staffs for storage and networking, for example), and different fiscal quarter sales cycles.[10] By the end of 2010, Capellas told analysts the venture had 65 customers, with an average system costing about $2.5 million.[11][12]

Acadia and the Virtual Computing Environment coalition combined into a single entity in January 2011, called VCE, the Virtual Computing Environment Company.[13][14] Originally located in Silicon Valley and Dallas, Texas, an expansion was announced in March 2011 to Richardson, Texas with an investment from the Texas Enterprise Fund.[15] In October 2011, another office opened in Marlboro, Massachusetts, close to VCE's EMC-owned manufacturing plant in Franklin, Massachusetts.[16][17] In July 2012, Cisco executive Praveen Akkiraju was appointed CEO and Frank Hauck as president.[18] It was estimated VCE had 1200 employees at the time, with undisclosed revenues but accumulated losses.[19] Publicized customers included Babson College[20] and the Mississippi Community College Board.[21] The press debated if the venture should be considered a "startup company", with one headline joking "VCE = virtual cash erosion" and questioning millions of dollars of executive compensation.[22] Others considered the arrangement to be a wise investment.[23]

Through 2012, there was a mixture of some success (with speculation of layoffs), and continued confusion due to products from competing partners such as NetApp FlexPod and Xsigo Systems.[24][25] Cisco had announced its own "framework" called CloudVerse in late 2011 that was not specific to VMware.[26][27] In August 2012, EMC announced a VSPEX reference architecture and partnership with Lenovo and other distributors that was seen as competing with a lower-cost option.[28][29][30]

In a November 2012 report by Gartner, VCE had a 57.4% share of integrated infrastructure systems in the second quarter of 2012 based on revenue.[31] Gartner had previously tracked server, networking, and external controller-based storage as individual markets. VCE was named one of the “2013 Virtualization 50” by CRN Magazine.[32] In May 2013, VCE estimated a $1 billion annual sales rate with more than 1,000 Vblock Systems sold.[1] However, in US Securities and Exchange Commission filings, EMC accounted for a cumulative loss of over $430 million by September 2012, and Cisco a loss of $457 million by early 2013, since revenues are recorded to the owning companies, not VCE itself.[33] EMC reported an investment of $667.2 million in cash and $13.2 million in stock-based compensation to VCE, for a stake of about 58%.[34] Cisco reported a gross investment of $457 million, for a stake of about 35%.[35]

By 2013, some of the same press writers that initially criticized VCE came to view the structure of VCE as being good business for investors.[36] Other press highlighted VCE as a source of innovation and financial performance for investors.[37][38] Total VCE for 2013 has been reported at over $1B with over a 50% year-over-year growth rate.[39]

There is concern that a fracture in the alliance will continue to create tension among the Cisco, EMC, VMWare, and VCE sales force that will result lost sales to competitors as customers look for a drama free buying experience. [40]

Products and services

 Black rack of computer equipment
Vblock 300 FX at CA World 2011

VCE sells products it calls Vblock Systems as converged infrastructure that combine VMware vSphere software running on Cisco Unified Computing Systems (UCS) connected with Cisco Nexus switches, attached to EMC Symmetrix storage. Despite the "block" in the name, the storage can be accessed as either a block device or a file server. Vblock Systems are marketed for large-scale data centers which run software applications such as Microsoft Exchange Server, Microsoft SharePoint or SAP ERP. They are delivered in standard 19-inch rack units to aid in planning for cooling and power requirements.[1][41]

Original systems

In 2009, the Virtual Computing Environment coalition announced three models of Vblock Infrastructure Packages. Vblock 2, intended for high-end data centers, was designed to support 3,000 to 6,000 virtual machines using Cisco UCS, Cisco Nexus 1000v and multilayer directional switches (MDS), as well as EMC Symmetrix VMAX storage and VMware vSphere software. Vblock 1, intended for the midmarket, was designed for 800 to 3,000 virtual machines and had had a similar configuration to the Vblock 2, but with EMC Clariion storage rather than EMC Symmetrix VMAX. Vblock 0, the intended low-end configuration, was projected for release in 2010 to support 300 to 800 virtual machines and use a similar configuration, but with EMC Celerrastorage.[42] The term "infrastructure package" was later changed to "infrastructure platform" and then just "Vblock System".

Enterprise-level systems

In May 2011, the Vblock System Series 300 was announced with models EX, FX, GX and HX (smallest to largest). The Vblock 2 was renamed the 700 series.[43]

The Vblock System 700 LX was announced at the EMC World May 2012 trade show, as the most expensive Vblock System, supporting thousands of virtual machines. VCE introduced the inclusion of EMC software for backup, recovery, replication, business continuity and data mobility for virtualized environments. Applications included EMC Avamar, EMC Data Domain, and EMC RecoverPoint. The Vblock System 700 included EMC VPLEX workload mobility and business continuity software, as well as support for new features in EMC Unified Infrastructure Manager, improved VMware integration, and centralized monitoring of multiple Vblock Systems.[44]

In February 2013, VCE announced Vblock 300 and Vblock 700 models with increased performance and data throughput, using upgraded server and storage components.[41]

Midmarket and entry level systems

In 2013 VCE announced products for the midrange and remote branch office market.[32] These models included the Vblock System 100 and Vblock System 200.

The Vblock 100 was designed to host up to 200 virtual machines in a 24U or 42U rack mount space with up to eight Cisco C220 M3 blade servers, two Cisco Catalyst 3750-X switches and up to 8 TB of storage capacity on an EMC VNXe3150 or VNXe3300 array. The Vblock 200 comes configured with up to 12 Cisco servers, two Nexus 5548UP unified Ethernet and SAN switches, a Cisco Catalyst 3750 management switch, and up to 105 hard drives via the included VNX 5300 array.[41]

Specialized systems

VCE introduced a specialized system for SAP HANA in February 2013. It combined a Vblock System with SAP HANA in-memory computing and database application software.[41] Later in September 2013 VCE introduced specialized system for high performance database for Oracle as well as extreme applications for both VMware and Citrix VDI environments.[45]


Desktop virtualization management software that uses VMware View called FastPath was announced in August 2011, and upgraded in June 2012.[46][47]

In February 2013, VCE announced the management software application Vision Intelligent Operations Software.[1] VCE Vision software that enables a single management pane for the components in the Vblock Systems it manages via plugins for third party management, automation, and orchestration tools from VMware, Cisco, BMC, CA, and others via RESTful API, SNMP, and unified logging.[41] [48] [49] [50]


VCE provides services through partners to plan, design, and deploy Vblock Systems.[51][52]


  1. ^ a b c d Joseph F. Kovar (May 27, 2013). "Converged Infrastructure Bets Are In: Where Are They Paying Off?". CRN. Retrieved August 9, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Cisco and EMC, Together with VMware, form Coalition to Accelerate Pervasive Data Center Virtualization and Private Cloud Infrastructures". Press release (Cisco Systems). November 3, 2009. Retrieved August 9, 2013. 
  3. ^ Joseph F. Kovar (October 12, 2012). "A Most Interesting IT Experiment: The History (So Far) Of VCE". CRN. Retrieved August 9, 2013. 
  4. ^ "Virtual Computing Environment coalition-VCE coalition". Original web site. Archived from the original on July 19, 2010. Retrieved August 13, 2013. 
  5. ^ Rochelle Garner (November 3, 2009). "Cisco, EMC Form Acadia Joint Venture for Data Centers (Update3)". Bloomberg news. Retrieved August 9, 2013. 
  6. ^ Ashlee Vance (November 3, 2009). "Cisco and EMC Form Venture to Serve Data Centers". The New York Times. Retrieved August 13, 2013. 
  7. ^ Joseph F. Kovar (November 3, 2009). "Cisco, EMC, VMware Channel Chiefs Talk Up Vblock Partner Play". CRN. Retrieved August 9, 2013. 
  8. ^ Don Clark (May 5, 2010). "Capellas to Run Cisco, EMC Ventures". Dow Jones & Co. Retrieved August 19, 2010. 
  9. ^ "ACADIA". Original web site. Archived from the original on October 19, 2010. Retrieved August 9, 2013. 
  10. ^ Steve Kaplan (October 19, 2010). "Customers embracing Vblocks, but VCE sales harmony a work in progress". By the Bell blog. Retrieved August 13, 2013. 
  11. ^ Timothy Prickett Morgan (December 21, 2010). "Vblock clouds moisten the data center: Capellas talks up VCE sales and pipeline". The Register. Retrieved August 11, 2013. 
  12. ^ John Webster (December 20, 2010). "Capellas-led coalition making strides by the Vblock". CNET news. Retrieved August 11, 2013. 
  13. ^ "VCE Coalition Combines with Acadia, Simplifies Name to VCE". The VAR Guy. January 21, 2011. Retrieved August 9, 2013. 
  14. ^ "VCE Coalition and Acadia Combined and Renamed VCE, the Virtual Computing Environment Company". Press release (VCE). January 20, 2011. Retrieved August 9, 2013. 
  15. ^ "VCE, Major Cloud Computing Company, Plans Major Expansion in Richardson". Press release (VCE, The Virtual Computing Environment Company). March 15, 2011. Retrieved August 9, 2013. 
  16. ^ Priyanka Dayal (December 11, 2011). "Cloud computing allows companies to outsource IT services". Worcester Business Telegram. Retrieved August 21, 2013. 
  17. ^ Brandon Butler (October 13, 2011). "EMC, Cisco, Intel & VMWare Launch Joint Venture in Marlborough". Worcester Business Journal. Retrieved August 21, 2013. 
  18. ^ "VCE Appoints Praveen Akkiraju Chief Executive Officer". Press release (VCE). July 19, 2012. Retrieved August 9, 2013. 
  19. ^ Chad Berndtson (July 19, 2012). "VCE Taps Cisco Veteran As New CEO". CRN. Retrieved August 21, 2013. 
  20. ^ Bridget McCrea (September 15, 2011). "Taking College IT Out of the Hardware Business". Campus Technology digital magazine. Retrieved August 21, 2013. 
  21. ^ "Vblock Video Success Story – MS Community College Board". Press release. Venture Technologies. July 11, 2012. Retrieved August 21, 2013. 
  22. ^ Chris Mellor (August 8, 2011). "Vblocks bleed out EMC money: VCE = virtual cash erosion". The Channel. Retrieved August 21, 2013. 
  23. ^ Mark Hopkins (August 17, 2011). "Is VCE a Flailing Startup? A Study of Snark in New Media". Silicon Angle. Retrieved August 21, 2013. 
  24. ^ Chad Berndtson and Joseph F. Kovar (November 26, 2012). "The VCE Gamble: You Got To Know When To Hold 'Em, Know When To Fold 'Em". CRN. Retrieved August 13, 2013. 
  25. ^ Chris Mellor (February 24, 2012). "Cisco's 3-ring circus: Xsigo CEO on bait and switches". The Register. Retrieved August 13, 2013. 
  26. ^ Quentin Hardy (December 6, 2011). "Cisco’s Bigger Bundle of Networking". New York Times Bits. Retrieved August 13, 2013. 
  27. ^ Charles Babcock (December 8, 2011). "Cisco CloudVerse: Build One Private Cloud, Multiple Hypervisors". Information Week. Retrieved August 13, 2013. 
  28. ^ Joseph F. Kovar (August 2, 2012). "EMC Lenovo Deal Raises Questions For EMC-Cisco VCE Partnership". CRN. Retrieved August 13, 2013. 
  29. ^ Paul Kunert (August 15, 2012). "EMC hands disties licence to assemble VSPEX: Tells resellers to build it themselves or get someone else to do it". The Channel. Retrieved August 13, 2013. 
  30. ^ Larry Walsh (April 12, 2012). "EMC Intends VSPEX for Data Center Flexibility". Channelnomics. Retrieved August 13, 2013. 
  31. ^ Adrian O'Connell (November 30, 2012). "Market Share Analysis: Data Center Hardware: Integrated Systems, 1Q11-2Q12". Gartner. Retrieved August 9, 2013. 
  32. ^ a b "2013 Virtualization 50". CRN. May 24, 2013. Retrieved August 9, 2013. 
  33. ^ Larry Dignan (February 21, 2013). "Cisco, EMC tout VCE market share, but report losses". Between the Lines (ZDNet). Retrieved August 11, 2013. 
  34. ^ EMC Corporation (November 2, 2012). "Quarterly Report for period ended September 30, 2012". Form 10-Q. SEC. Retrieved August 11, 2013. 
  35. ^ Cisco Systems, Incorporated (February 19, 2013). "Quarterly Report for Quarter ended January 26, 2013". Form 10-Q. SEC. Retrieved August 11, 2013. 
  36. ^
  37. ^
  38. ^
  39. ^$1B
  40. ^
  41. ^ a b c d e Joseph F. Kovar (February 21, 2013). "VCE Intros Entry-level Vblocks, Unveils Pre-Configured SAP HANA Appliances". CRN. Retrieved August 9, 2013. 
  42. ^ Joerg Hallbauer (November 5, 2009). "Virtual Computing Environment Coalition". Gestalt IT. Retrieved August 9, 2013. 
  43. ^ David Owen (May 9, 2011). "VCE Vblock Update". vMackem. Retrieved August 13, 2013. 
  44. ^ Joseph F. Kovar (May 22, 2012). "VCE Intros Entry-level Vblocks, Unveils Pre-Configured SAP HANA Appliances". CRN. Retrieved August 13, 2013. 
  45. ^ Charles Babcock (April 12, 2012). "VCE Vblocks Converged Infrastructure Gets Update". InformationWeek. 
  46. ^ Aaron Delp (August 29, 2011). "VCE's FastPath Desktop Virtualization Platform is Here". Blog. Retrieved August 21, 2013. 
  47. ^ Mini Swamy (June 18, 2012). "VCE FastPath Platform Simplifies VDI on Vblock Systems". TMC news. Retrieved August 21, 2013. 
  48. ^
  49. ^
  50. ^
  51. ^ Joseph F. Kovar (March 31, 2011). "Partners Welcome Appointment Of EMC Veteran As VCE President". CRN. Retrieved August 13, 2013. 
  52. ^ Chad Berndtson (April 12, 2012). "Exclusive With Cisco's Lloyd: Take A Look At Us Now". CRN. Retrieved August 13, 2013. 

External links

  • VCE Website
  • VCE Company Information Page on linkedin
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