Through a variety of initiatives including the Insime spin-in and the acquisition of Cloupia, Cisco is signalling that it is heading in the direction of becoming a management software vendor for virtualization and the cloud. This amounts a sharpening of the competitive knives with respect to VMware, and may position Cisco to become a factor in the disruption of the legacy management software businesses of IBM, BMC, HP and CA.
Taking your cloud from a dev/test/pilot/training use case to an enterprise cloud introduces significant new requirements that first generation cloud management platforms were not designed to meet. Elasticity and self-service are nice features, but these features alone fall far short of what is needed to provision and run enterprise applications in clouds. With the acquisition of DynamicOps, VMware has signaled that it understands this, and now has a product that is fully capable of supporting heterogeneous enterprise class clouds. We will likely now see a divergence in Cloud Management offerings with some (the list above) focusing upon these demanding use cases, and others (like Embotics) focusing upon addressing elasticity and self-service with the highest possible level of convenience and fastest time to value for the customer.
Cloupia and DynamicOps make managing a private cloud on converged infrastructure much easier than it is with vendor provided cloud management solutions. Both cloud management vendors and converged infrastructure vendors should be evaluated on the breadth and depth of their partnerships with their counterparts in the ecosystem.