EMCVMware (VMW) and Cisco Systems (CSCO) continue to partner on VCE. But Nicira news, developments and milestones at VMworld 2013 may introduce new stress on the VMware-Cisco relationship, The VAR Guy has heard. Here's the chatter.

It sounds like VMware NSX -- Nicira's next generation software-defined networking (SDN) technology -- will enjoy a bright spotlight at VMworld. Some pundits think VMware's SDN strategy is a huge threat to Cisco's established networking dominance. Taken one step further, Nicira could put new stress on the VCE business -- which includes investments from Cisco, EMC and VMware.

Keeping Score

What's the truth? The VAR Guy thinks Cisco's networking empire won't collapse anytime soon. But he offers these three reality checks:

  • The Good: Cisco has pumped nearly $500 million into VCE so far. EMC, VMware and Cisco have each seen VCE's upside (i.e., customer adoptions). There's no way Cisco will walk away from that success anytime soon. Overall, The VAR Guy believes Cisco, VMware and EMC are firmly committed -- at least financially -- to VCE's ongoing success.
  • The Chatter: While top Cisco executives will continue to publicly endorse VCE, keep a really, really, really close eye on Cisco's marketing efforts. As VMworld approaches and VMware's Nicira push enters the spotlight, it's a safe bet Cisco will turn down its VCE messaging volume even while continuing to jointly fund VCE.
  • The Speculation: Cisco and NetApp (NTAP) get far tighter, perhaps inviving Citrix Systems (CTXS) to the party. Sure, that speculation has been around for quite some time. But it's getting louder again.

What does The VAR Guy know for sure? VMworld is approaching. VMware's SDN and software-defined data center (SDDC) ambitions are real. The VMware NSX noise will be very loud starting at VMworld.