Virtualisation giant VMware's push into the networking space may have strained its relationship with partner Cisco - which specialises in the area - but VMware believes that it will patch things up with the San Jose, California-based firm.
VMware and Cisco's partnership is believed to have soured over recent acquisitions and changes in strategy by the firms.
Most recently, Cisco announced its intention to buy scalable solid state memory system provider Whiptail in a deal worth about $415m (£259m). This was the firm's first move into the storage market, and put a question mark over its relationship with storage vendor EMC, which has a majority stake in VMware.
EMC had provided storage components for Cisco's UCS, and alongside Cisco and VMware, it formed a venture called VCE in 2009 to develop an end-to-end data centre solution spanning hardware and software, dubbed Vblock.
VMware has also made acquisitions that overlapped with Cisco's offerings - most notably its $1.2bn (£750m) purchase of software defined networking (SDN) start-up Nicira last year. This led to the launch of VMware's NSX network virtualisation platform, with 20 vendor partners signed up to support it, but Cisco was not mentioned as one of those.
The networking company, which has recently announced a switch upgrade that could support some NSX use cases, talked down the idea of a software-only approach to network virtualisation. Its chief technology and strategy officer, Padmasree Warrior, said in a blog post that the approach places "significant constraints on customers".
While VMware's head of pre-sales in EMEA, Jon Cairns, suggested that the question should be posed to Cisco on why it did not decide to publicly support the NSX platform, VMware's group product marketing manager, Michael Adams, told Computing that the firms would repair any damage caused by the announcement of the NSX platform.
"The relationship with Cisco is a complex entity, they sell our stuff and we sell theirs and we have VCE together and I think we'll sort all of it out. They have their SDN strategy, which is completely fine, but our relationship with them is a complex entity and I think we will sort it out over time," he said.
Adams characterised the firms' relationship as "co-opetition" and used an example of the server space a decade ago as evidence that what may appear as friction between partners does not have to lead to irreparable damage.
"Cisco is a great partner of ours, a great user of our technology and we are of theirs - and then there are things that we know we'd be competitive over," explained Adams.
"The networking space can be likened with servers and storage, in that any time you [move into another space], the incumbent players aren't too happy about it. For example, when we first did server virtualisation, the likes of HP and Dell weren't happy about it, but you look nearly 14 years on and they like virtualisation because it helps them to sell other bits of kit that they didn't have at the time."
But Adams suggested that just because VMware has entered the networking space does not mean that it intends to become "the next big player in this area" or control the entire networking and virtualisation estate for its customers.
"[All of the technology] does not have to be from VMware," he said.