It started with Cisco adding servers to its datacenter communications products on a project codenamed California and marketed as the Unified Computing System. Then in late July IBM announced that it was teaming up with Juniper to do the same thing, and HP already has its own line of switches and servers. This week Stacey Higginbotham at GigaOm is reporting that Dell and Brocade are teaming up, along with enterprise cloud software maker Scalent, to get in on the unified computing market.
According to the article Dell will put its name on Brocade’s switches.
Dell’s partnerships means that HP, which is combining its own servers with its Pro Curve networking gear, IBM, which has signed the partnership with Juniper and Brocade, and Cisco are all offering some type of networking and server product to manage some of the chaos caused by the ability to run multiple applications on one server. After Cisco launched its servers, a Dell executive told Om that its ability to offer its customers gear from multiple vendors, rather than a box from a single vendor would be its answer to the Cisco threat, and it’s still pitching openness with this announcement. Only now the focus is on openness as a result of adhering to industry standards rather than grouping its servers with switches from any vendor.
I agree with Stacey’s assessment that the partnership route here seems a little weak. Furthermore, it’s not really clear yet that this strategy even makes sense for customers. It might have been smarter for Dell to wait and see if the market really responds to this offering and, if it does, to swoop in as a second mover fixing all the errors the first movers made and take over the market.
For those of you who might have been considering clusters from these vendors, does the unified story matter to you?