Cisco planning significant data center assault

Cisco Blade servers, green switches and collaboration on tap as company morphs into overall IT giant

Cisco has a number of significant product introductions on tap for 2009 as the company continues to morph from a pure networking player into an overall IT supplier.

Expected next year are internally developed data center blade servers; energy efficiency improvements across Cisco's switching portfolio; and a new release of the company's unified communications software for intercompany collaboration.

The product launches are intended to buttress Cisco's strategy to become not just the leading network vendor to corporations and services providers, but to become the leading supplier of overall IT architectures to these constituents.

"The network will enable all forms of communication and IT," said Cisco CEO John Chambers during his keynote address at the company's annual C-Scape analyst conference here last week. "IT is not enabling our strategy, it is our strategy."

California dreamin'

Perhaps the most important example of that will be a new Cisco blade server system expected next year. This will take the company into the data center compute space, right up against longtime stalwarts -- and up to now, Cisco partners -- IBM and HP.

Cisco officials interviewed at last week's C-Scape conference would neither confirm nor deny that this system is in development -- its code name is "California Server," according to sources -- but its impact will be substantial in the market and on its current relationships with compute partners.

"I've seen the product," says Vikram Mehta, CEO of Blade Network Technologies, a supplier of blade server switches to IBM, HP, Dell and others. "I think I know what Cisco's trying to do. Servers are a US$60 billion market. And if you're the size of Cisco -- [US]$40 billion -- you're looking for the next multibillion dollar market to jump into. There aren't a lot of adjacent markets so they decided to step on their partnerships and take these guys head-on to get a slice of the server action."

Blade, a private company which just announced a record fourth fiscal quarter in terms of Ethernet port shipment growth, believes Cisco's entry into the market will only strengthen the ties Blade has with IBM and HP, Mehta says.

Mehta says there's not much difference between "California" and existing blade servers for data centers, but there will be a Cisco-specific twist on it to justify its cost and profit margins. Other sources say it is an internally developed system based on Intel x86 processors and a Linux operating system, and it also embeds its recently introduced Nexus 5000 data center switches.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags cisco'Data Centre

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jim Duffy

Network World
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?