|By Maureen O'Gara||
|March 17, 2009 12:15 PM EDT||
Cisco CEO John Chambers Monday became the latest in a long line of visionaries to come down from the mountain top with an architectural roadmap to the Promised Land at an exploitable industry inflection point.
If the purportedly game-changing next-generation platform scheme succeeds, Chambers will be rich, even more fiendishly rich than he already is, and Cisco will own not only the data center, but the cloud, the data center's logical successor, and the computer establishment, as we know it, will be up-ended.
Cisco has dragged in a host of brand names to create a divide-and-conquer NCS ecosystem and accelerate its market adoption, folks like Intel (hey, it's a new customer), VMware (Cisco owns a piece), EMC, BMC (providing the management software under a multi-year exclusive), Microsoft (well, nominally at any rate), Red Hat, Accenture, NetApp, Wipro, Oracle, Novell and Tata to name only a few.
As prophesied, the widgetry, Cisco's answer to its slowing networking fortunes and the growth demanded of it by Wall Street, centers on a newfangled Nehalem-based blade server called the Unified Computing System, which is all about convergence with networking at its heart.
There's no guarantee it will take off; it's still slideware; and it will take time to gauge acceptance while Cisco fights what some call "rack-by-rack warfare."
UCS unites compute, network, storage access and virtualization into a reportedly scalable and modular architecture that's managed as a single system through Cisco's new graphical USC Manager and its associated APIs for handling configurations and operations.
UCS has also adopted the idea of service profiles, sometimes called templates, to automate provisioning.
Since Cisco has no history in servers, and since the UCS elements are often bought separately from different vendors, and since Cisco's stepping all over the very toes that move tons of its routers and switches, the move is pretty gutsy, not to say cheeky considering Cisco's merely a plumber.
HP, which owns the blade server market - well, 58% of it at any rate - and so stands to have the biggest black and blue toes, even more than IBM, claims there's nothing new under the sun in Cisco's architecture. It's all already been done before and better, mostly by HP.
NCS was secretly developed under the codename Project California but HP's director of strategy and architecture Gary Thome says it's more like the Hotel California where, as the song says, "You can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave."
In other words HP claims it's pure vendor lock-in and that users will have to throw out the rest of their data centers if they go with the Cisco plan.
HP can't imagine a data center scheme that doesn't support Unix; figures its own BladeSystems can handle a wider variety of workloads than Cisco can; is pretty confident it can deliver headier power and cooling efficiencies; and says Cisco's blade enclosure can't function at all without its switch and that right there is a point of failure.
Brocade, another competitor, said the same thing: Cisco's approach ain't revolutionary; it's capital intensive and - complex as the problem is - doesn't leverage open architectures and industry standards.
Since HP is out to cripple Cisco, it's believed that HP, which used to move a lot of Cisco widgetry, will attack Cisco's networking base even more than it has in the last few years - those Procurve switches, say - and that Cisco can kiss HP's billion dollar contribution to its revenue stream good-bye.
Cisco appears not to care. There are far more billions to be made in data centers; Chambers, tempted to call it an "unlimited" opportunity, settled for saying it exposes Cisco to 25% of the $100 billion-a-year data center spend it's never had a shot at before.
So as Cisco CTO Padmasree Warrior told the Wall Street Journal, "We are going to compete with HP. I don't want to sugarcoat it. There is bound to be change in the landscape of who you compete with and who you partner with." (One can almost hear agreements being shredded in the background.)
Needless to say the names HP and IBM are not among them though Chambers told the Journal IBM is likely to be a partner too; at least it's being cultivated but then IBM's got Cisco rival Juniper in its pocket.
UCS is targeted at the big enterprise and service providers, and Cisco is harnessing 250 of its resellers, the ones who know something about the data center, to get there. Historically the channel has provided 80% of Cisco's revenue.
The folks that'll be buying this stuff aren't Cisco's usual end-user account managers. It'll have to start in the C-suite with a concept sell and claims that CIOs may have to rejig their own internal organizations since NCS doesn't square with the currently separate server buyer, storage buyer, networking buyer. Cisco muttered something about "unlocking the money in the cracks between the silos."
The Cisco blades, otherwise known as the UCS B-Series, are supposed to be the start of a new family of Cisco products.
To make them special, they're fitted with a patented extended memory that's supposed to support applications with large data sets and allow significantly more virtual machines per server than usual.
See, UCS is supposed to be God's gift to virtualization, "unleashing," as Chambers likes to put it, virtualization's "full potential" by enhancing the scalability, performance and operational control of virtual environments.
Cisco is supposed to have overcome the issues of security, policy enforcement and diagnostics that can hinder virtualization.
Each UCS system is supposed to be able to support thousands of virtual machines, promising to set a new high watermark for density.
Cisco and VMware, by the way, now have an OEM arrangement, and Cisco intends, among other things, to integrate VMware vCenter management suite. They mean to play in the cloud together, pushing virtualization down to the desktop and into the home.
There's support for a "wire once" unified fabric over a low-latency, lossless 10 Gbit/s Ethernet foundation that consolidates LANs, SANs and HPC networks. This is supposed to reduce the number of network adapters, switches and cables needed and so lower both cost and energy.
As a matter of fact, although it has yet to say what it's going to charge, Cisco claims that UCS will cut capital expenditures by 20% ands operational expenditures by 30%. Promises of cost savings are particularly timely right now. So is Cisco's focus on the cloud, which is heavily dependent on networking.
Cisco says the unified fabric provides consolidated access to SANs and NAS over Ethernet, Fibre Channel, Fibre Channel over Ethernet and iSCSI, which ought to satisfy just about everybody.
Cisco owes NCS development to a start-up acquisition it made called Nuova Systems, which has reportedly been working on the blades for the last two years. What Cisco can do with the $30 billion it has it the bank - more than any other tech company - can only be guessed at, especially in a down economy.
"The key takeaway," Chambers said at the end of his star-studded, mutual-grooming webcast Monday, "is it gives us a chance to perhaps become the leading company not just in communications but also in IT."
NCS isn't expected out until next quarter. It's currently in beta at a reportedly10 beta sites such as Savvis and is deployed internally at Cisco.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing rapidly by extending current technologies, products and networks. By 2020, Cisco estimates there will be 50 billion connected devices. Gartner has forecast revenues of over $300 billion, just to IoT suppliers. Now is the time to figure out how you’ll make money – not just create innovative products. With hundreds of new products and companies jumping into the IoT fray every month, there’s no shortage of innovation. Despite this, McKinsey/VisionMobile data shows "less than 10 percent of IoT developers are making enough to support a reasonably sized team....
Nov. 28, 2015 01:00 PM EST Reads: 469
Just over a week ago I received a long and loud sustained applause for a presentation I delivered at this year’s Cloud Expo in Santa Clara. I was extremely pleased with the turnout and had some very good conversations with many of the attendees. Over the next few days I had many more meaningful conversations and was not only happy with the results but also learned a few new things. Here is everything I learned in those three days distilled into three short points.
Nov. 28, 2015 12:00 PM EST Reads: 330
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York and Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound cha...
Nov. 28, 2015 12:00 PM EST Reads: 547
DevOps is about increasing efficiency, but nothing is more inefficient than building the same application twice. However, this is a routine occurrence with enterprise applications that need both a rich desktop web interface and strong mobile support. With recent technological advances from Isomorphic Software and others, rich desktop and tuned mobile experiences can now be created with a single codebase – without compromising functionality, performance or usability. In his session at DevOps Summit, Charles Kendrick, CTO and Chief Architect at Isomorphic Software, demonstrated examples of com...
Nov. 28, 2015 11:45 AM EST Reads: 399
As organizations realize the scope of the Internet of Things, gaining key insights from Big Data, through the use of advanced analytics, becomes crucial. However, IoT also creates the need for petabyte scale storage of data from millions of devices. A new type of Storage is required which seamlessly integrates robust data analytics with massive scale. These storage systems will act as “smart systems” provide in-place analytics that speed discovery and enable businesses to quickly derive meaningful and actionable insights. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Paul Turner, Chief Marketing Officer at...
Nov. 28, 2015 11:15 AM EST Reads: 411
In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).
Nov. 28, 2015 11:00 AM EST Reads: 510
In his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Adobe Campaign, explored the key ingredients of cross-channel marketing in a digital world. Learn how the Adobe Marketing Cloud can help marketers embrace opportunities for personalized, relevant and real-time customer engagement across offline (direct mail, point of sale, call center) and digital (email, website, SMS, mobile apps, social networks, connected objects).
Nov. 28, 2015 10:30 AM EST Reads: 308
We all know that data growth is exploding and storage budgets are shrinking. Instead of showing you charts on about how much data there is, in his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Scott Cleland, Senior Director of Product Marketing at HGST, showed how to capture all of your data in one place. After you have your data under control, you can then analyze it in one place, saving time and resources.
Nov. 28, 2015 10:00 AM EST Reads: 187
Two weeks ago (November 3-5), I attended the Cloud Expo Silicon Valley as a speaker, where I presented on the security and privacy due diligence requirements for cloud solutions. Cloud security is a topical issue for every CIO, CISO, and technology buyer. Decision-makers are always looking for insights on how to mitigate the security risks of implementing and using cloud solutions. Based on the presentation topics covered at the conference, as well as the general discussions heard between sessions, I wanted to share some of my observations on emerging trends. As cyber security serves as a fou...
Nov. 28, 2015 08:45 AM EST Reads: 331
The Internet of Everything is re-shaping technology trends–moving away from “request/response” architecture to an “always-on” Streaming Web where data is in constant motion and secure, reliable communication is an absolute necessity. As more and more THINGS go online, the challenges that developers will need to address will only increase exponentially. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Todd Greene, Founder & CEO of PubNub, exploreed the current state of IoT connectivity and review key trends and technology requirements that will drive the Internet of Things from hype to reality.
Nov. 28, 2015 08:45 AM EST Reads: 433
With all the incredible momentum behind the Internet of Things (IoT) industry, it is easy to forget that not a single CEO wakes up and wonders if “my IoT is broken.” What they wonder is if they are making the right decisions to do all they can to increase revenue, decrease costs, and improve customer experience – effectively the same challenges they have always had in growing their business. The exciting thing about the IoT industry is now these decisions can be better, faster, and smarter. Now all corporate assets – people, objects, and spaces – can share information about themselves and thei...
Nov. 28, 2015 06:00 AM EST Reads: 242
Continuous processes around the development and deployment of applications are both impacted by -- and a benefit to -- the Internet of Things trend. To help better understand the relationship between DevOps and a plethora of new end-devices and data please welcome Gary Gruver, consultant, author and a former IT executive who has led many large-scale IT transformation projects, and John Jeremiah, Technology Evangelist at Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), on Twitter at @j_jeremiah. The discussion is moderated by me, Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions.
Nov. 28, 2015 05:30 AM EST Reads: 730
Too often with compelling new technologies market participants become overly enamored with that attractiveness of the technology and neglect underlying business drivers. This tendency, what some call the “newest shiny object syndrome” is understandable given that virtually all of us are heavily engaged in technology. But it is also mistaken. Without concrete business cases driving its deployment, IoT, like many other technologies before it, will fade into obscurity.
Nov. 28, 2015 05:00 AM EST Reads: 359
Discussions of cloud computing have evolved in recent years from a focus on specific types of cloud, to a world of hybrid cloud, and to a world dominated by the APIs that make today's multi-cloud environments and hybrid clouds possible. In this Power Panel at 17th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed the importance of customers being able to use the specific technologies they need, through environments and ecosystems that expose their APIs to make true change and transformation possible.
Nov. 28, 2015 04:00 AM EST Reads: 538
The Internet of Things is clearly many things: data collection and analytics, wearables, Smart Grids and Smart Cities, the Industrial Internet, and more. Cool platforms like Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Intel's Galileo and Edison, and a diverse world of sensors are making the IoT a great toy box for developers in all these areas. In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists discussed what things are the most important, which will have the most profound effect on the world, and what should we expect to see over the next couple of years.
Nov. 28, 2015 03:30 AM EST Reads: 473
Microservices are a very exciting architectural approach that many organizations are looking to as a way to accelerate innovation. Microservices promise to allow teams to move away from monolithic "ball of mud" systems, but the reality is that, in the vast majority of organizations, different projects and technologies will continue to be developed at different speeds. How to handle the dependencies between these disparate systems with different iteration cycles? Consider the "canoncial problem" in this scenario: microservice A (releases daily) depends on a couple of additions to backend B (re...
Nov. 28, 2015 03:00 AM EST Reads: 450
The cloud. Like a comic book superhero, there seems to be no problem it can’t fix or cost it can’t slash. Yet making the transition is not always easy and production environments are still largely on premise. Taking some practical and sensible steps to reduce risk can also help provide a basis for a successful cloud transition. A plethora of surveys from the likes of IDG and Gartner show that more than 70 percent of enterprises have deployed at least one or more cloud application or workload. Yet a closer inspection at the data reveals less than half of these cloud projects involve production...
Nov. 28, 2015 03:00 AM EST Reads: 482
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Day 2 Keynote at 17th Cloud Expo, Sandy Carter, IBM General Manager Cloud Ecosystem and Developers, and a Social Business Evangelist, wil...
Nov. 28, 2015 02:00 AM EST Reads: 579
PubNub has announced the release of BLOCKS, a set of customizable microservices that give developers a simple way to add code and deploy features for realtime apps.PubNub BLOCKS executes business logic directly on the data streaming through PubNub’s network without splitting it off to an intermediary server controlled by the customer. This revolutionary approach streamlines app development, reduces endpoint-to-endpoint latency, and allows apps to better leverage the enormous scalability of PubNub’s Data Stream Network.
Nov. 28, 2015 02:00 AM EST Reads: 328
Container technology is shaping the future of DevOps and it’s also changing the way organizations think about application development. With the rise of mobile applications in the enterprise, businesses are abandoning year-long development cycles and embracing technologies that enable rapid development and continuous deployment of apps. In his session at DevOps Summit, Kurt Collins, Developer Evangelist at Built.io, examined how Docker has evolved into a highly effective tool for application delivery by allowing increasingly popular Mobile Backend-as-a-Service (mBaaS) platforms to quickly crea...
Nov. 28, 2015 02:00 AM EST Reads: 361