Cisco plans datacentre shake-up

Cisco plans datacentre shake-up

Speculation that Cisco is planning to launch new datacentre offerings and enter the blade server fray has raised questions about the impact it will have on the competitive landscape.

According to multiple US media reports, the networking giant is building a blade server, codenamed California, equipped with virtualisation software. Such a product would see Cisco come into direct competition with its traditional partners and infrastructure stalwarts including HP, IBM and Dell. The offering is due to be unveiled in March.

While the networking giant remains coy on exactly what is on the drawing board, it has stressed the datacentre as a major focus. Chief technology officer, Padmasree Warrior, added fuel to the fire last week by confirming a new architectural approach called “Unified Computing”. This could see Cisco providing a virtualisation platform incorporating not only network and server technology, but also storage and software management.

“Yes, Cisco is entering new markets. We view this period of economic uncertainty as the perfect time to challenge the status quo and evolve our business,” Warrior said in her blog, dated January 19. “Unified computing is the advancement towards the next generation datacentre that links all resources together in a common architecture to reduce the barrier to entry for datacentre virtualisation.”

Warrior admitted the new approach could see Cisco go head-to-head with several vendor partners, but stressed competition was “nothing new”.

L7 sales manager, John Kara, saw Cisco’s move as an opportunity in the medium- to long-term, but said it would take time before it started impacting the market. The WA-based integrator is a Cisco Gold partner.

“For us, it’d be an opportunity – we haven’t been a large server reseller with other brands to date,” he said. “It’s a smart move by Cisco. Everything is converging and consolidating. Cisco is taking its network dominance and trying to implement more services onto it.

“Ten years ago, people would have laughed at Cisco converging voice and data onto one network, but now they’re a dominant player in voice. This is the next big play for them.”

IDC Australia server analyst, Matt Oostveen, said any future product from Cisco targeting the datacentre and server space could be expected to take advantage of the networking giant’s strong position and history in the routers and networking equipment market.

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