"HP has a longer history pulling together multivendor solutions. Cisco has always just been Cisco," Bartoletti said. "And most companies would rather piece datacenters together by picking and choosing best-of-breed than become beholden to Cisco."
Bartoletti added that UCS was effectively Cisco's acknowledgement that virtualization will be the most prevalent datacenter tactic for the next 10 years and that, in turn, will present storage challenges IT must surmount. "The biggest problem when you do widespread datacenter virtualization is storage because even with enough capacity, storage performance always degrades," Bartoletti said. "Companies need better tools for storage and virtualization management."
To that end, VMware marched out a jam-packed band of partners supporting its vSphere launch that included both Cisco and Hewlett-Packard, as well as EMC, Intel, and Unisys. Cisco CEO John Chambers unwrapped a new virtual switch, the Nexus 1000V, while HP was there to announce the integration of vSphere into its Adaptive Infrastructure portfolio.
The common thread in these myriad moves is that the vendors are all gearing up to help companies build so-called private clouds built on virtualization and featuring storage resources quite prominently. Even though any definition of the term private clouds remains muddled -- vendors have differing monikers and descriptions, and IDC calls it a dynamic datacenter -- enterprise IT shops are embarking on that journey, according to Cindy Borovick, research vice president of datacenter networks at IDC.
"Enterprises are looking at how to make their datacenters more efficient," Borovick said. "Ideally, that means buying and using infrastructure as needed. IT shops are moving in that direction."