If you work in the IT sector, you will have had to have been locked in a small room with no outside contact for the better part of half a year not to have heard the term “Cloud Computing” bantered around. Back in 1960 a rather insightfull computer scientist called John McCarthy stated “Computation may someday be organised as a Public Utility”.. and a mere 50 years later.. we’re getting there 😉
Last year VMWare, EMC and Cisco announced The VCE Coallition and Acadia. This Cleverly crafted acronym depicts the 3 players in this coalition… yes, you guessed it ! VMWare, Cisco, EMC ! Cunningly this 3 letter acronym also give’s them a veritable feast of marketing slogans.. as it has the letter “V” in it, so they can use the word “virtual”.. Great ! The 3 have also decided to put their money where their mouth is and started a joint venture called Acadia.. essentially a technical organisation staffed by a combination of 130 Cisco, EMC and VMWare employees for services engagement, assessments and support for what has come to pass as Vblock. But, Acadia is not going to be involved in any of the sales elements of Vblock, its simply the one throat to choke for technical and support issues…
So What is Vblock ?! Well.. what does your typical organsiation require by way of computing… Servers, storage and infrastructure; what do the 3 main players in this VCE coalition excel in ? conveniently servers, infrastructure and storage !!
The Vblock is a datacenter in a rack, consisting of Vsphere sitting on Cisco UCS Servers and EMC storage. There are 3 flavours of Vblock currently, Vblock 0, Vblock 1 and Vblock 2. The common elements within all of these is the use of Cisco’s UCS Servers, MDS and Nexus switches and VMWare’s Vsphere for server delivery. The element that does vary is the underlying storage, Vblock 0 uses Celerra for storage provision, Vblock 1 uses Clariion CX4 a and VBlock 2 sports the ever so flash VMax (Symmetrix).
The idea being that end users can minimise captital expenditure by simply renting the infrastructure they need from a provider in possesion of a Vblock environment. The software which ties all of this together comes from the Ionix range (previously named ControlCenter) and is called Unified Infrastructure Manager or UIM, this software is essentially the glue that binds the 3 different vendors technologies, one point of management for switching, Vsphere Management and Storage management and the nice thing is that as you scale out a Vblock environment (by adding more Vblocks), they are all managed via the one Ionix UIM console. Also, UIM supports multi tenancy which means that if you are using Vblock to deliver SaaS/Cloud/whatever you want to call it, you can offer customers their own management bubble, where they can log in and manage the components relating to their service. See below video from EMC from a nice walkthough of the software from EMC.
More to come, as I get stuck into some training over the comming months.