This is a guest post from Andrew Nusca of TechRepublic’s sister site ZDNet. You can follow Andrew on the ZDNet blog Between the Lines, or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Cisco, EMC, and VMware announced Tuesday a joint venture to sell a new integrated data center product called V-Block.

Their venture, called the “Virtual Computing Environment coalition,” will sell and provide maintenance and service support for V-Block, and will combine EMC storage equipment, Cisco virtualized servers and networking equipment and VMWare virtualization technology.

[EMC statement] [Cisco] [VMWare]

Rumors of the deal – code-named “Alpine” – have been going around since September.

The companies say their coalition offers businesses “dramatic efficiencies” promising “significant reductions” in capital and operating expenses, without forcing organizations’ hands to choose between the companies.

The companies are selling Vblock Infrastructure Packages as “fully integrated, tested, validated, and ready-to-go/ready-to-grow infrastructure packages” that can scale. Together, the venture offers unified presales, services and support.

Citing McKinsey and Company figures that worldwide spending on datacenter infrastructure and services exceeds $350 billion annually – half on capital expenses and half on operating expenses – the companies say $85 billion, or 20 percent of the entire market, can be addressed with virtualization and private cloud technology by 2015.

Cisco and EMC currently have a partnership to collaborate around Cisco’s new data center platform, which the company calls “Unified Computing.” EMC owns almost 85 percent of VMWare.

Cisco and EMC also announced on Tuesday a joint venture called Acadia to build, sell and support products for corporate datacenters. The goal? “Accelerating customer build-outs of private cloud infrastructures through an end-to-end enablement of service providers and large enterprise customers.”

The targets? HP and IBM.

Here’s EMC chairman and CEO Joe Tucci, VMWare president and CEO Paul Maritz and Cisco chairman and CEO John Chambers making their case: