Cisco ( CSCO), EMC ( EMC) and VMware ( VMW) have finally joined forces in a widely anticipated technology partnership, touting pre-packaged bundles of hardware and software aimed at corporate data centers.

Dubbed Vblocks, the bundles comprise EMC storage, VMware virtualization software and Cisco's UCS server hardware.

The companies have also formed a joint venture called Acadia, which is geared toward supporting private clouds managed solely for one organization. Public clouds such as Amazon's ( AMZN) S3 and EC2 offerings, on the other hand, provide services to multiple customers.

"The customer feedback from most enterprises has said that they would like the benefit of public clouds, but on equipment or infrastructure that they have on premise," Brian Byun, VMware's vice president of alliances, told TheStreet.

The pact, not exactly a bolt out of the blue, follows months of rumors about a partnership.

Cloud services, which offer compute power or data storage via the Internet, have been gaining momentum recently, with companies such as Amazon, Microsoft ( MSFT) and IBM ( IBM) all pushing the technology as a way for firms to avoid the upfront costs of hardware and software.

Virtualization, which lets users divide physical hardware into multiple "virtual" chunks, is becoming more popular among those looking to juggle several operating systems and applications. The technology also is one way that budget-minded firms can reduce the amount of hardware within their data centers.

A pre-configured, pre-tested bundle of technology is also well suited to the current economic climate, according to Howard Elias, president of EMC's global services and resource management software group.

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