Now that VMware(s vmw) has bought Nicira and its software-defined networking expertise, doubts about the future of the VCE Vblock effort have multiplied. VCE is the three-year-old partnership between EMC(s emc), Cisco(s csco) and VMware. The goal was to sell Vblocks — converged bundles of EMC storage, Cisco servers and networking and VMware virtualization. The theory was that companies want pre-integrated data center technology as opposed to piece parts.

There was strife early as could be expected when three tech powerhouses with their own agendas try to make nice. What’s new is that with Nicira in the fold, VMware gets more directly competitive with Cisco, further stressing the partnership. Cisco is attacking software-defined networking with its $100-millionInsieme spin-in.

“I think [the VMware-Nicera deal] is the last nail in VCE’s coffin,” said Vanessa Alvarez, president of Alvarez Consulting.

Even Vblock fans cool to VCE

Even VCE reseller partners once jazzed about selling…

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