Server virtualization, converged networking, and scalable intelligent storage are rapidly becoming de facto standards for data center infrastructures everywhere. Sizing a new infrastructure is no longer a question of exactly how many of what brand of server you might need to buy, but one of how much raw compute power and storage capacity and performance you require -- regardless of how it might be assembled. Although huge differences exist between various vendors' implementations of these features, this phenomenon is ultimately leading to a commoditization of data center infrastructure tech.
At the leading edge of that commoditization are four of the largest infrastructure tech players; Dell, Hewlett-Packard, and a partnership among Cisco Systems, EMC, and EMC's VMware subsidiary, called VCE. Through partnerships and acquisitions, these vendors have each worked to produce soup-to-nuts virtual infrastructure bundles that include all the hardware and software comprising a data center -- including virtualization hosts, networking hardware, storage, and in some cases, private cloud management software to tie it all together.
For organizations looking for a very fast and easy way to deploy greenfield data center infrastructure without having to deal with the hassle of a detailed design and a stack of compatibility matrices, these all-in-one bundles can be an enormous time-saver. However, this bundling is not always good for customers.