Posts Tagged ‘Cisco’

In the movie “Back to the Future,” Dr. Emmit Brown built a Delorean-based time machine that when the “flux capacitor” was powered with 1.21 gigawatts (pronounced jig-a-watts in the movie), it would allow someone to go back in time (or ahead). I just got back from this year’s Interop conference and it started me thinking about the past. So let’s set the old time machine to the spring of 1995 and we’ll attend an Interop conference. Remember those days?

If you can recall the really old days of Interop, the pre-Vegas days when the event was held in D.C., the purpose of Interop was actually network interoperability. During those days interoperability in the network was a huge problem as there were many competing protocols, such as Banyan-Vines, AppleTalk, IPX and a host of other network protocols. Additionally, there were many different connection types such as FDDI, CDDI, Token Ring and the like. So buyers went to the show to figure out what worked with what and how to actually a build a network. The John Chambers proclamation that everything would move to IP seemed a bit far-fetched and Interop was in its heyday.

As I mentioned in my last posting, Cisco held its annual Partner Summit reseller conference in San Diego last week. While the overall tone of the conference was positive, there was one issue that I felt was worth bringing up, as it could have some long-term impact on Cisco and its channel.

I was sitting in the audience prior to the keynote and, looking at the stage, I saw a big rack that said “VBLOCK” on the side. So, I thought to myself that a demo was coming (of which there was a very good one). I’ve been talking to channel partners about VBlock since its launch a couple of years ago and there appears to be two schools of thought. Some partners, and I would say the majority of them, like VBlock. They can go from nothing to a fully functioning cloud in the better part of two days. Other partners, though, look at VBlock as a big threat to their business.

Last week, under the sunny skies of San Diego, Cisco held its annual reseller Partner Summit. The setting was fitting as the show itself indicated that there are sunnier skies ahead for Cisco and its Partners.

Cisco and its relationship with its huge reseller base is one of the most talked about topics in the networking industry today. Competitors accuse Cisco of taking too much business from its resellers, and Cisco, of course, steadfastly defends itself. My belief is that the truth is actually somewhere in the middle, where Cisco has a very good relationship with its partners but there are some chinks in the armor.

However, I do think the changes announced at this year’s Partner Summit indicate an improvement to the company’s channel strategy and will smooth out some of those issues.

Last week EMC launched its eagerly awaited VSPEX architecture. VSPEX is a turnkey reference architecture made up of best-of-breed partners to deliver an end-to-end cloud solution. The solution, while led by EMC, also involved collaboration from such partners as Brocade, Cisco, Intel, Microsoft and VMware. VSPEX is another option for customers who do not want to build their own from scratch nor want a converged solution like VCE. It’s a proven solution that’s been validated by EMC.

One of the main points that I think was missed by much of the press around this announcement is that it can bring a solution to the mid-market. For all the hype and media attention VCE has received, it’s really not that appealing to mid-market companies. It may work, but it certainly has a premium price tag attached to it. Since VSPEX has various different configurations (14 in total), there are a number of lower-cost options that use infrastructure like Brocades ICX switches. So while there are many expensive cloud offerings out there for large enterprises to buy directly, VSPEX is an affordable channel play. Channel partners can customize it for different customers and even put their own brand on it if they want.

On Thursday March 15th, Cisco announced its intent to acquire privately held, U.K.-based NDS for $5 billion in cash – the company’s largest acquisition since it paid $3.4 billion for Tandberg back in early 2010.

The NDS Group makes software that is used to develop interactive applications for the secure delivery of TV content and other entertainment to TVs, set top boxes, mobile phones, tablets and other endpoints. The acquisition will complement and speed up the delivery of the company’s “Videoscape” platform that enables service providers, cable companies and other media companies to deliver advanced entertainment experiences.

Cisco as a server vendor! Ha!

Remember back when the company first unveiled its “Unified Computing System” (UCS)? At the time, the thought of Cisco being in the server market seemed almost laughable. But, this was a journey that we had seen before. Similar guffawing was heard when Cisco jumped into the voice market. Way back in the day, when I was in internal IT, Cisco acquired its way into the VoIP market and rode the IP wave to market leadership in only about a decade. When you think about how, historically, extremely difficult voice share was to gain, the fact that Cisco managed to grab as much share as it did, and as fast as it did, was remarkable.

Well 2011 is winding down now and this past year was certainly a big year of change in the network industry.  The industry saw the introduction of “fabrics” into data centers with several traditional network vendors ship product this year.  In addition, hot start up Arista flexed its muscles and started making traction, particularly in the financial services vertical.  But alas, 2011 is coming to an end and its time for some predictions. So, for 2012 here is what I expect to see in the network industry. 



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