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Taneja Blog / Software Defined/Virtualized Infrastructure

Cisco’s Virtual Awakening

On Monday the 16th, Cisco is expected to announce its entry into the server market. This competitive assault by the king of networking is a game-changer and will shatter the comfortable territorial boundaries we've fortified in the IT market over the last twenty years. The headlines will read, "Network Giant Makes Aggressive Leap Into Server Territory," which is true. However, I think a more accurate headline would read, "Virtualization Forces Cisco To Redefine What A 'Network' Vendor Is."

The key driver for this bold move, in my view, is not to grab a larger portion of device marketshare, but to grab a significant chunk of IT buyer mindshare. Virtualization hasn't only shredded traditional IT architecture and deployment processes, it has also upset the balance of power in the data center. We're all comfortable with the silos of server, storage and network control and expertise, and vendors have relied on those silos to nurture and protect relationships. The rise of the virtual environment and the "virtualization administrator" changes the game.

Virtualization, at its core, is about abstraction and mobility. By redefining the links between applications and all types of devices they require, workloads are freed from server, array, or switch constraints. This freedom in turn drives the need for new IT management tools that operate at the virtual infrastructure level and ease the burden of juggling alerts and resource contention along three dimensions at once.

Cisco is doing more than adding servers to its product line Monday; it is repositioning itself as a virtual infrastructure management vendor. In my experience, the best way to compete in the management arena against well-established incumbents is to focus on the gaps. Cisco should deliver targeted point solutions quickly that solve the most critical server-network management challenges faced by virtualization-savvy customers, to accelerate Unified Computing from concept to reality.

  • Premiered: 03/14/09
  • Author: Taneja Group
Topic(s): Cisco virtual infrastructures


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