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EMC, Cisco, Oracle team up for e-biz 'blueprints'

by John S. McCrightEMC Corp., Cisco Systems Inc. and Oracle Corp.

by John S. McCright

EMC Corp., Cisco Systems Inc. and Oracle Corp. are adding their voices to the chorus of vendors touting new test centers to help companies more quickly deploy Internet infrastructure solutions.

The three companies today jointly announced their ECOstructure initiative to develop blueprints of highly reliable IT infrastructures that use networking products from Cisco, storage products from EMC and database and other software from Oracle.

ECOstructure blueprints, designed at a center on Oracle's Redwood Shores, Calif., campus, incorporate information from previous e-business customer implementations, combining best business practices and technical configurations for the implementation, operation and support of various aspects of an Internet infrastructure, said officials from the three companies. These configurations will be available to corporate IT departments and systems integrators for free at www.ecostructure.com.

The first blueprint, called The Resilient ECOstructure, provides a plan for building what officials call a "bullet-proof data center." The plan, available now at the ECOstructure Web site, draws from a knowledge base assembled from implementations at the 90 percent of Fortune 50 companies that are joint customers of the trio, officials said.

The next blueprint will show how to set up failover of applications between geographically dispersed data centers, said Roy Sanford, vice president for enterprise alliances at EMC, in Hopkinton, Mass.

The center is up and running now as a test bed for finding out the best way to make use of the parallelism in products from each of the companies. The initiative is working only on systems built with processors from Intel Corp. or Sun Microsystems Inc.

The trio chose not to include a server vendor in the initiative because it wants to remain server independent, Sanford said. ECOstructure comes on the heels of other efforts by systems makers to provide pre-tested solutions for enterprise sites and dot-com companies that want to set up Internet-based commerce and supply-chain software. For instance, IBM last week christened its new eTransactions Design Centers in New York and France. However, whereas IBM touts its RISC-based servers for high availability, the ECOstructure trio is playing up its strengths in the Intel-based system market.

"We've learned a lot on how to deploy these systems," said Sanford. "We can almost guarantee high availability, resilience and performance in the Intel space. This distinguishes us."

Officials would not specify how much money each partner put into the ECOstructure initiative, other than to say it is a joint multimillion-dollar effort. Since the blueprints are free, the trio hopes to back its investment by selling more products. EMC is at www.emc.com. Cisco, of San Jose, Calif., is at www.cisco.com. Oracle is at www.oracle.com.