|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 IoTs will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, will demonstrate how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and share the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the development proc...
May. 29, 2016 01:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,970
Customer experience has become a competitive differentiator for companies, and it’s imperative that brands seamlessly connect the customer journey across all platforms. With the continued explosion of IoT, join us for a look at how to build a winning digital foundation in the connected era – today and in the future. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Nguyen, Group Product Marketing Manager at Adobe, will discuss how to successfully leverage mobile, rapidly deploy content, capture real-time d...
May. 29, 2016 12:45 PM EDT Reads: 1,664
SYS-CON Events announced today that ContentMX, the marketing technology and services company with a singular mission to increase engagement and drive more conversations for enterprise, channel and SMB technology marketers, has been named “Sponsor & Exhibitor Lounge Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. “CloudExpo is a great opportunity to start a conversation with new prospects, but what happens after the...
May. 29, 2016 10:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,290
What a difference a year makes. Organizations aren’t just talking about IoT possibilities, it is now baked into their core business strategy. With IoT, billions of devices generating data from different companies on different networks around the globe need to interact. From efficiency to better customer insights to completely new business models, IoT will turn traditional business models upside down. In the new customer-centric age, the key to success is delivering critical services and apps wit...
May. 29, 2016 10:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,264
Join us at Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo 2016 – June 7-9 at the Javits Center in New York City and November 1-3 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – and deliver your unique message in a way that is striking and unforgettable by taking advantage of SYS-CON's unmatched high-impact, result-driven event / media packages.
May. 29, 2016 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,498
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, will provide an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life ...
May. 29, 2016 09:45 AM EDT Reads: 2,022
SYS-CON Events announced today that BMC Software has been named "Siver Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2015 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. BMC is a global leader in innovative software solutions that help businesses transform into digital enterprises for the ultimate competitive advantage. BMC Digital Enterprise Management is a set of innovative IT solutions designed to make digital business fast, seamless, and optimized from mainframe to mo...
May. 29, 2016 09:30 AM EDT Reads: 2,304
SYS-CON Events announced today that MobiDev will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. MobiDev is a software company that develops and delivers turn-key mobile apps, websites, web services, and complex software systems for startups and enterprises. Since 2009 it has grown from a small group of passionate engineers and business managers to a full-scale mobile software company with over 200 develope...
May. 29, 2016 08:15 AM EDT Reads: 2,739
SoftLayer operates a global cloud infrastructure platform built for Internet scale. With a global footprint of data centers and network points of presence, SoftLayer provides infrastructure as a service to leading-edge customers ranging from Web startups to global enterprises. SoftLayer's modular architecture, full-featured API, and sophisticated automation provide unparalleled performance and control. Its flexible unified platform seamlessly spans physical and virtual devices linked via a world...
May. 29, 2016 07:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,298
SYS-CON Events announced today that Alert Logic, Inc., the leading provider of Security-as-a-Service solutions for the cloud, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Alert Logic, Inc., provides Security-as-a-Service for on-premises, cloud, and hybrid infrastructures, delivering deep security insight and continuous protection for customers at a lower cost than traditional security solutions. Ful...
May. 29, 2016 06:45 AM EDT Reads: 2,948
As cloud and storage projections continue to rise, the number of organizations moving to the cloud is escalating and it is clear cloud storage is here to stay. However, is it secure? Data is the lifeblood for government entities, countries, cloud service providers and enterprises alike and losing or exposing that data can have disastrous results. There are new concepts for data storage on the horizon that will deliver secure solutions for storing and moving sensitive data around the world. ...
May. 29, 2016 06:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,346
Companies can harness IoT and predictive analytics to sustain business continuity; predict and manage site performance during emergencies; minimize expensive reactive maintenance; and forecast equipment and maintenance budgets and expenditures. Providing cost-effective, uninterrupted service is challenging, particularly for organizations with geographically dispersed operations.
May. 29, 2016 06:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,169
SYS-CON Events announced today TechTarget has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TechTarget is the Web’s leading destination for serious technology buyers researching and making enterprise technology decisions. Its extensive global networ...
May. 29, 2016 05:15 AM EDT Reads: 3,274
SYS-CON Events announced today that Commvault, a global leader in enterprise data protection and information management, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Commvault is a leading provider of data protection and information management...
May. 29, 2016 04:30 AM EDT Reads: 3,254
SYS-CON Events announced today that MangoApps will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. MangoApps provides modern company intranets and team collaboration software, allowing workers to stay connected and productive from anywhere in the world and from any device. For more information, please visit https://www.mangoapps.com/.
May. 29, 2016 03:30 AM EDT Reads: 990
The essence of data analysis involves setting up data pipelines that consist of several operations that are chained together – starting from data collection, data quality checks, data integration, data analysis and data visualization (including the setting up of interaction paths in that visualization). In our opinion, the challenges stem from the technology diversity at each stage of the data pipeline as well as the lack of process around the analysis.
May. 29, 2016 02:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,498
Designing IoT applications is complex, but deploying them in a scalable fashion is even more complex. A scalable, API first IaaS cloud is a good start, but in order to understand the various components specific to deploying IoT applications, one needs to understand the architecture of these applications and figure out how to scale these components independently. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Nara Rajagopalan is CEO of Accelerite, will discuss the fundamental architecture of IoT applications, ...
May. 29, 2016 02:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,340
SYS-CON Events announced today that Tintri Inc., a leading producer of VM-aware storage (VAS) for virtualization and cloud environments, will exhibit at the 18th International CloudExpo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
May. 29, 2016 01:30 AM EDT Reads: 2,488
In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Adobe, will discuss 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). Bruce Swann has more than 15 years of experience working with digital marketing disciplines like web analytics, social med...
May. 29, 2016 01:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,428
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, wh...
May. 29, 2016 12:45 AM EDT Reads: 2,058