Yesterday, Cisco, EMC, and VMware unveiled the next iteration of their partnership. Together, the three will offer common support, professional services (through their joint venture, Alpine), and an integrated server, networking, and storage hardware offering called Vblocks. The companies will also work together on service and support.During the announcement, all three participants highlighted the fact that Vblocks were really targeted at "private clouds." In other words, a sort of turnkey cloud infrastructure to be consumed by a single organization. Hmm. So some Fortune 500 company is going to buy a single hardware and hypervisor stack from these guys and replace all kinds of other servers, storage, networking, management tools, etc? Perhaps, but this seems like a stretch to me as this simply isn't the way IT consumes products. That said, I believe that Cisco, EMC, and VMware could be very successful with Vblocks and its other new initiatives in the broad public sector space because:* The Federal government is ga-ga over cloud computing. Since early this year, we've seen the feds allocate money for cloud initiatives, propose that GSA offer cloud services, and task NIST with developing cloud standards. Federal CIO Vivek Kundra can't speak often enough about cloud computing's potential. Sensing an emerging trend, many federal integrators like Lockheed-Martin, SAIC, and Unisys are building their own clouds believing that Federal agencies will soon buy capacity and services. Cisco, EMC, and VMware should be all over every cloud effort inside the beltway.* Governments are modernizing IT. Federal, state, and local governments are actively consolidating data centers, replacing legacy systems, and adopting virtualization technology as a foundation. Case-in-point, the Commonwealth of MA released its, "IT Strategy for the Commonwealth 2009-2011" plan in 2008. The plan calls for the Commonwealth to create, "a robust, agile enterprise IT architecture, shared services and applications, and common, effective management practices." As part of this, MA will consolidate down to 2 data centers, one of these will be a brand new facility in Holyoke. Seems to me that a massive and somewhat green-field opportunity is a perfect target for Vblocks.* Governments are already onboard. Kundra already selected Google Apps for Washington DC at his previous job and just last week the City of Los Angeles decided to abandon its own email system in favor of Gmail. These aren't pure play government cloud computing efforts but they do represent a growing trend. It is likely that more and more service providers will develop specific SAAS applications for the public sector and they will need servers, networks, storage, and virtualization when they do.The common theme here is that net-new infrastructure presents the biggest short term opportunity for Cisco, EMC, and VMware and that a lot of this activity is occurring in the public sector. This trend will only accelerate as more stimulus dollars flow to IT projects and\/or some type of healthcare reform legislation gets passed.Cisco, EMC, and VMware are leading enterprise companies but so are competitors like HP and IBM. What's more, technology migration is always ugly. Yes, these three must enter these knife fights together but a public-sector push may be more fruitful while the private sector sorts out this whole nebulous cloud thing over time.