"VMware, EMC and Cisco remain strategic partners, and will continue to shape the future of the data center together. A key aspect of our partnership is a shared focus on bringing greater programmability and flexibility to physical and virtual network and data center infrastructure via an open-standards-based approach. Cisco and VMware will continue working closely together toward that goal during the next phase of our partnership, as VMware expands its product portfolio through the acquisition of Nicira."
While it appears to be business as usual on that front, other major vendors are stockpiling their converged infrastructure arsenals, with systems and software folks nabbing the network virtualization pieces for this.
"It's becoming a game of stacks," says Zeus Kerravala, principal of ZK Research. "Oracle's not going to use this to steal share form Cisco. But if it was very tough to penetrate the Oracle (server and networking stack), this makes it tougher. It creates more of a closed market for the other guys."
Cisco's stack includes switches -- virtual switches, fabric interconnects, access and core switches - that serve as "pivot points" to its Unified Computing System servers, FCoE converged networking strategy, and virtualization and security offerings, Oltsik says. He believes server and server virtualization vendors like Oracle and VMware are trying to catch Cisco and the breadth of its stack.
"(Cisco's) is a broader position than the virtual networking guys have," Oltsik says. "Xsigo (with Oracle) has a similar position but Oracle's virtualization footprint is marginal."
Expect the consolidation to continue. Kerravala believes HP and Dell will have to respond to the network virtualization/SDN acquisition activity. OpenFlow controller start-up Big Switch Networks is believed to be an apple for someone's eye.
"What the heck are (Dell and HP) doing?" Kerravala asks. "I would have expected so much more from HP right now. But I think you'll see more M&A activity in this space."
Kerravala says Citrix might appeal to Cisco to complete its stack. Citrix's XenDesktop virtualization technology could allow Cisco to add desktop control through its network offerings, he says.
A Cisco/Citrix union has been rumored in the past.
So has one involving Cisco and NetApp. In addition to honing its messaging, Oltsik believes that the data center/cloud stack wars might have Cisco looking a little more closely at this storage component, now that Oracle and VMware are stockpiling.