V-Blocks: it's a new form of packaging for servers, switches and storage for your datacentre, and it looks like the future.
EMC and Cisco have announced that they'll be selling aggregated systems that simply slot into your datacentre. Or 'private cloud', in today's shiny new, updated nomenclature.
Inside the black box will go all the complexity you currently have to manage separately, and the glue to bind them together comes from VMware. It seems like a unique concept, for while Sun tried selling a datacentre in a box and got some traction, this is a different kettle of fish, on a different scale (sorry).
Only HP, with its just-launched Converged Infrastructure concept is anywhere close to this, it seems. The aims of both are similar: to virtualise the hardware and provide a single view of the infrastructure that takes care of the messy details of what VM runs where, what's connected to what, and how. All you need to concern yourself with is the energy bill, security, and general management.
This is the new battleground. Other players are fighting back, including Dell, whose deal with Juniper Networks will allow its resurgent services division to sell combined packages. And IBM has a cloud of products, but it's unclear as yet how well they fit into this new paradigm.
Of course, what this means is that, if you're not in the box, you're locked out. If you're buying, do you care? It's somewhat analogous to the blade server chassis market. There's little commonality and so much vendor lock-in there too, but it's not an issue for most enterprises. And this is a much bigger play which, if successful, promises to bring riches to the pockets of vendors inside the tent.
Will those outside might spend some time getting wet, and find themselves searching for a V-Brolly?