|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.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interoute, owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform, has been named “Bronze 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. Interoute is the owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform which encompasses 12 data centers, 14 virtual data centers and 31 colocation centers, with connections to 195 ad...
Feb. 11, 2016 03:45 PM EST Reads: 405
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...
Feb. 11, 2016 02:45 PM EST Reads: 436
The Quantified Economy represents the total global addressable market (TAM) for IoT that, according to a recent IDC report, will grow to an unprecedented $1.3 trillion by 2019. With this the third wave of the Internet-global proliferation of connected devices, appliances and sensors is poised to take off in 2016. In his session at @ThingsExpo, David McLauchlan, CEO and co-founder of Buddy Platform, will discuss how the ability to access and analyze the massive volume of streaming data from mil...
Feb. 11, 2016 01:45 PM EST
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.
Feb. 11, 2016 01:45 PM EST
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...
Feb. 11, 2016 01:30 PM EST Reads: 435
WebSocket is effectively a persistent and fat pipe that is compatible with a standard web infrastructure; a "TCP for the Web." If you think of WebSocket in this light, there are other more hugely interesting applications of WebSocket than just simply sending data to a browser. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Frank Greco, Director of Technology for Kaazing Corporation, will compare other modern web connectivity methods such as HTTP/2, HTTP Streaming, Server-Sent Events and new W3C event APIs ...
Feb. 11, 2016 12:00 PM EST
With an estimated 50 billion devices connected to the Internet by 2020, several industries will begin to expand their capabilities for retaining end point data at the edge to better utilize the range of data types and sheer volume of M2M data generated by the Internet of Things. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Don DeLoach, CEO and President of Infobright, will discuss the infrastructures businesses will need to implement to handle this explosion of data by providing specific use cases for filte...
Feb. 11, 2016 12:00 PM EST Reads: 205
SYS-CON Events announced today that Pythian, a global IT services company specializing in helping companies adopt disruptive technologies to optimize revenue-generating systems, has been named “Bronze 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. Founded in 1997, Pythian is a global IT services company that helps companies compete by adopting disruptive technologies such as cloud, Big Data, advanced analytics, and DevO...
Feb. 11, 2016 11:30 AM EST Reads: 244
SYS-CON Events announced today that Avere Systems, a leading provider of enterprise storage for the hybrid 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. Avere delivers a more modern architectural approach to storage that doesn’t require the overprovisioning of storage capacity to achieve performance, overspending on expensive storage media for inactive data or the overbuilding of data centers ...
Feb. 11, 2016 11:30 AM EST
Fortunately, meaningful and tangible business cases for IoT are plentiful in a broad array of industries and vertical markets. These range from simple warranty cost reduction for capital intensive assets, to minimizing downtime for vital business tools, to creating feedback loops improving product design, to improving and enhancing enterprise customer experiences. All of these business cases, which will be briefly explored in this session, hinge on cost effectively extracting relevant data from ...
Feb. 11, 2016 11:00 AM EST Reads: 121
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.
Feb. 11, 2016 10:15 AM EST
With the Apple Watch making its way onto wrists all over the world, it’s only a matter of time before it becomes a staple in the workplace. In fact, Forrester reported that 68 percent of technology and business decision-makers characterize wearables as a top priority for 2015. Recognizing their business value early on, FinancialForce.com was the first to bring ERP to wearables, helping streamline communication across front and back office functions. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Kevin Roberts...
Feb. 11, 2016 10:00 AM EST Reads: 394
As enterprises work to take advantage of Big Data technologies, they frequently become distracted by product-level decisions. In most new Big Data builds this approach is completely counter-productive: it presupposes tools that may not be a fit for development teams, forces IT to take on the burden of evaluating and maintaining unfamiliar technology, and represents a major up-front expense. In his session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Andrew Warfield, CTO and Co-Founder of Coho Data, will dis...
Feb. 11, 2016 09:15 AM EST Reads: 199
SYS-CON Events announced today that iDevices®, the preeminent brand in the connected home industry, 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. iDevices, the preeminent brand in the connected home industry, has a growing line of HomeKit-enabled products available at the largest retailers worldwide. Through the “Designed with iDevices” co-development program and its custom-built IoT Cloud Infrastruc...
Feb. 11, 2016 09:00 AM EST Reads: 107
Eighty percent of a data scientist’s time is spent gathering and cleaning up data, and 80% of all data is unstructured and almost never analyzed. Cognitive computing, in combination with Big Data, is changing the equation by creating data reservoirs and using natural language processing to enable analysis of unstructured data sources. This is impacting every aspect of the analytics profession from how data is mined (and by whom) to how it is delivered. This is not some futuristic vision: it's ha...
Feb. 11, 2016 06:45 AM EST Reads: 442
Silver Spring Networks, Inc. (NYSE: SSNI) extended its Internet of Things technology platform with performance enhancements to Gen5 – its fifth generation critical infrastructure networking platform. Already delivering nearly 23 million devices on five continents as one of the leading networking providers in the market, Silver Spring announced it is doubling the maximum speed of its Gen5 network to up to 2.4 Mbps, increasing computational performance by 10x, supporting simultaneous mesh communic...
Feb. 11, 2016 05:00 AM EST
The cloud promises new levels of agility and cost-savings for Big Data, data warehousing and analytics. But it’s challenging to understand all the options – from IaaS and PaaS to newer services like HaaS (Hadoop as a Service) and BDaaS (Big Data as a Service). In her session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Hannah Smalltree, a director at Cazena, will provide an educational overview of emerging “as-a-service” options for Big Data in the cloud. This is critical background for IT and data profes...
Feb. 11, 2016 01:15 AM EST Reads: 213
SYS-CON Events announced today that Men & Mice, the leading global provider of DNS, DHCP and IP address management overlay solutions, 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. The Men & Mice Suite overlay solution is already known for its powerful application in heterogeneous operating environments, enabling enterprises to scale without fuss. Building on a solid range of diverse platform support,...
Feb. 11, 2016 01:00 AM EST Reads: 235
One of the bewildering things about DevOps is integrating the massive toolchain including the dozens of new tools that seem to crop up every year. Part of DevOps is Continuous Delivery and having a complex toolchain can add additional integration and setup to your developer environment. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 18th Cloud Expo, Miko Matsumura, Chief Marketing Officer of Gradle Inc., will discuss which tools to use in a developer stack, how to provision the toolchain to minimize onboa...
Feb. 10, 2016 11:45 PM EST Reads: 118
SYS-CON Events announced today that VAI, a leading ERP software provider, 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. VAI (Vormittag Associates, Inc.) is a leading independent mid-market ERP software developer renowned for its flexible solutions and ability to automate critical business functions for the distribution, manufacturing, specialty retail and service sectors. An IBM Premier Business Part...
Feb. 10, 2016 12:00 PM EST Reads: 629