GuidesCisco, EMC and VMware Going Orange

Cisco, EMC and VMware Going Orange

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The cloud is getting an infusion of color thanks to a new global alliance among Cisco, EMC, VMware and Orange Business Services. Orange, a global IT service provider, is a unit of France Telecom.

New Flexible 4 Business alliance aims to deliver turnkey cloud computing services around the globe.

With the new alliance, Orange is aiming to deliver a turnkey managed private cloud approach to users around the world, leveraging technologies from Cisco, EMC and VMware. The new Flexible 4 Business alliance builds on the Virtual Computing Environment (VCE) coalition that Cisco, EMC and VMware forged in 2009.

During a conference call with reporters announcing the new venture, Orange CEO Vivek Badrinath explained that the managed cloud model for pay-per-use IT services is a natural extension of the telco model for delivering services. He added that Orange will now use the cloud as a way to help its customers transform their IT operations with new managed services.

What financial impact the new effort might yield is unclear. Cisco, EMC, VMware and Orange each declined to respond to a question from about the potential financial implications and value of the new Flexible 4 Business alliance.

Initially the offering will be targeted at providing private cloud services, with a move toward hybrid public/private cloud offerings slate for some point in the future.

“We bring together a combination of assets all the way from the operational space to the technology space to provide a rainbow of solutions for full coverage of a cloud rollout,” Badrinath said.

The key technology component of the new alliance is the integrated vBlock solution from Cisco, EMC and VMware. The vBlock provides networking, servers, storage and virtualization components into an integrated solution set.

Howard Elias, president and chief operating officer of EMC’s information infrastructure and cloud services division, explained that the VCE coalition of the three companies jointly provides the vBlocks, which are foundational elements for building a private cloud.

“The VCE coalition has been very clear from day one that the key charter is to develop a partner-enabled ecosystem to deliver capabilities to customers,” Elias said. “In addition to that, each of the three partners is also working with Orange Business Services beyond just vBlocks.”

Those additional components include unified communications and security technologies from Cisco as well backup and deduplication services from EMC.

Though Orange is moving to a cloud foundation provided by EMC, VMware, Cisco, the alliance says it is not aiming lock in users or their data to the new platform. Carl Eschenbach, executive vice president of global field operations at VMware, noted that the solution includes support for the Open Virtualization Format (OVF), which enables virtual machine portability.

“We don’t want customers to get locked in to any specific type of cloud service,” Eschenbach said. “The business benefit of cloud is about being able to very easily move workloads between public and private clouds. If you get locked in, you lose the business benefit of cloud computing.”

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at, the news service of, the network for technology professionals.

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