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You are here: Home / Data Storage / Cisco, IBM Tag Team on VersaStack
Cisco, IBM Tag Team on VersaStack Data Center Solution
Cisco, IBM Tag Team on VersaStack Data Center Solution
By Jennifer LeClaire / CRM Daily Like this on Facebook Tweet this Link thison Linkedin Link this on Google Plus
Technology trends like the cloud, big data and the Internet of Things are driving data center modernization efforts. Against that backdrop, two industry behemoths -- Cisco and IBM -- are tag teaming on an integrated solution to make the enterprise IT administrator’s job a little easier.

Dubbed VersaStack, the solution combines Cisco UCS Integrated Infrastructure with the IBM Storwize storage system. The goal is to offer enterprises ease, efficiency and versatility for cloud, big data and analytics, and mobility deployments. The platform will be optimized for Big Blue’s applications over time, while integrating with Cisco products like its Application Centric Infrastructure and Cisco Intercloud Fabric.

“Organizations today require IT infrastructure to be easy, efficient, and versatile,” said Satinder Sethi, Vice President, Data Center Solutions at Cisco. “VersaStack will help our mutual customers streamline deployment and operation of their IT infrastructure. It will also provide a foundation for innovation between Cisco and IBM -- from mobility and data analytics to Intercloud and application centric infrastructure.”

What CIOs Need

Cisco and IBM both agree that CIOs who are looking for solutions that offer fast deployment and management options are more often turning toward integrated systems. But not just any integrated systems; pre-tested and supported systems that each offer a full stack of data center technologies that can be operated and managed as a whole.

There’s no denying the rapid increase of integrated infrastructure solutions. The total worldwide spending on integrated systems is growing at 32.8 percent annually and will reach about $14.37 billion in 2017, according to IDC. That’s up from $5.4 billion in 2013.

“As cloud, mobile, and big data continue to challenge and transform data centers, more organizations are turning to innovative solutions, like the VersaStack, for help,” said Laura Guio, Vice President of Business Line Executive Storage Systems at IBM. “For its part, IBM Storwize is designed to help clients ease management and improve data center performance through virtualization and the automatic movement of data to the most strategic storage tier.”

Two Important Keys

According to the companies, the initial VersaStack solution targets data center and private cloud deployments, along with big data and analytics for large commercial and enterprise customers. Over time, Cisco and IBM will work to roll out more reference architectures. From a technical perspective, the VersaStack platform is based on the Cisco Validated Design reference architectures. Business partners who are experienced in Cisco data center technologies and IBM Storwize storage systems will sell the solution globally.

We caught up with Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT, to get his take on the collaboration. He told us the VersaStack solution highlights a pair of important points for IBM.

“First, with the sale of the company's System x organization to Lenovo complete, it demonstrates one way the company can satisfy the needs of customers who want IBM-branded Intel-based systems,” King said. “While IBM will certainly partner with Lenovo in many circumstances, that relationship is not exclusive to either company, leaving both to pursue deals like this one between IBM and Cisco.”

As King sees it, VersaStack should provide value to IBM business partners. Many of those companies focus on mid-market IT customers that largely depend on x86-based solutions, and most are developing or expanding their partnerships with Lenovo's enterprise systems group, he said. By working with Cisco, IBM can continue its relationships with business partners, and also help BIg Blue broaden its solution portfolios, he noted.

“Competitively, VersaStack has close similarities to NetApp's FlexPod solutions which also leverage Cisco's server and networking technologies and can be purchased through NetApp's business partner network,” King said. “Business partners also play a primary role in selling EMC's VSPEX offerings but those solutions support a far broader variety of server and networking technologies that either FlexPod or VersaStack.”

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