VCE rolls out an all-in-one system with EMC's all-flash XtremIO array

The joint venture also refreshed the large-scale 700 line and smaller 200 series

VCE is expanding its line of all-in-one cloud systems, adding one with all-flash storage and offering more options for enterprises that want an easier path to the cloud.

The company, formed by Cisco and EMC, integrates storage, networking, computing and virtualization into pre-validated systems it calls Vblocks. As demand grows, customers can roll in more Vblocks to add capacity.

Many organizations have embraced the pre-integrated system approach because it gets the technology out into production faster than either putting the components together in-house or turning to a third-party integrator, analyst Charles King of Pund-IT said. VCE ships each system with a custom configuration for the customer, and then it tests all software updates before delivering them to the customer's site, he said.

"They've taken a lot of the crushing, mundane tasks off the shoulders of their customers and let them get along and do what they need to do," King said.

On Monday, VCE introduced three new Vblocks, as well as systems with cloud management software built in and extensions to Vblocks for adding storage and computing power.

EMC is bringing its all-flash XtremIO storage array into play in VCE for the first time with the Vblock System 540, which the company calls the first all-flash converged infrastructure system in the world. The XtremIO array is EMC's flash flagship, with what the company calls sub-millisecond application response times and more than 1 million IOPS (I/O operations per second). It also performs in-line data deduplication to make efficient use of capacity without slowing down the movement of data.

XtremIO arrays themselves are sold in modular units called X-Bricks, so enterprises can scale up capacity and processing power at the same time. The smallest Vblock System 540 will be built with a single X-Brick, and customers will be able to add more X-Bricks as their needs grow, according to VCE.

On the computing side, the system can accommodate as many as 192 Cisco UCS (Unified Computing System) M4 blade servers, which have 1.5 times the memory of the previous-generation M3 blades. Networking is handled by Cisco's Nexus switching technology, which can be configured for the company's ACI (Application Centric Infrastructure) software-defined networking system.

The Vblock System 740, also announced on Monday, is the new version of VCE's biggest platform, which uses EMC VMax 3 storage. It has higher storage performance and a 50 percent lower total cost of ownership, according to VCE. The Vblock System 240 is a new iteration of VCE's smaller line that's designed for medium-sized enterprises and remote offices. All the new hardware can be ordered now.

VCE also announced new software options, so customers can now order Vblocks with cloud management software from either Cisco or VMware built in and pre-validated. The VCE Integrated Solution for Cloud Management with Cisco incorporates the Cisco UCS Director software for virtual resource provisioning. The corresponding product with VMware utilizes the VMware vRealize Suite management platform. Both are designed to automate the provisioning of virtual data centers. Both will be orderable within 90 days.

Also on Monday, the company introduced what it calls VCE technology extensions for adding more resources to Vblocks. There will be one for EMC Isilon, the company's scale-out NAS (network-attached storage) system, and one for additional Cisco UCS technologies, including graphics rendering with Nvidia K1 and K2 GPUs (graphics processing units) for applications such as seismic modeling and digital media transcoding. The VCE technology extensions will also be orderable within 90 days.

Stephen Lawson covers mobile, storage and networking technologies for The IDG News Service. Follow Stephen on Twitter at @sdlawsonmedia. Stephen's e-mail address is stephen_lawson@idg.com

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