Welcome!

SDN Journal Authors: Liz McMillan, Hollis Tibbetts, Vinod Mohan, Chris Colosimo, Jason Bloomberg

Blog Feed Post

Strategic musings on the latest Cisco/Insieme rumors

In what is easily the most detailed press coverage of what Insieme intends to launch, Jim Duffy reported facts obtained by the ubiquitous sources in an article on Network World last Friday: http://www.networkworld.com/community/blog/ciscoinsieme-40g-coming-close-10g. If you have not read the article and you have interest in Insieme, you ought to take a look.

In the article, Duffy writes:

The impact of ACI on existing Cisco Nexus products could be significant. Its VXLAN foundation could obsolete Cisco's five-year-old Fabricpath and recently-announced Dynamic Fabric Automation, yet users needing those features and LISP, OTV and MPLS will continue to require the Nexus 7000/7700 with F3 capabilities.

If you have been following the Insieme chatter for awhile, you probably heard rumors that Cisco would announce its spin-in at any of Cisco Live, VMWorld, or Interop NY. As those events came and passed, the theory was that there was some internal jockeying as competing Cisco factions squared off against one another. This was, of course, all in support of having a coherent data center switching strategy.

While I have no doubt that there are people inside Cisco who think there needs to be a coherent data center strategy, I think that a non-overlapping technical strategy is not exactly the same thing. Said differently, if I were John Chambers, it would be perfectly fine with me if I had different teams offering competing solutions to the same space.

How can that make any sense?

Cisco is a dominant incumbent. It is hard to believe that they will ride this newest wave of disruption to even higher market share. Their primary strategic imperative has to be defense. They are facing a new push from challengers buoyed by venture capital chasing the SDN dream. They are up against a handful of white box switching companies looking to do to networking what white box servers did to compute. They face increasing competition from the mainline networking guys like Brocade, HP, Dell, and Juniper. And they have to be wary of what VMWare is up to.

All of these headwinds spell tougher times for Cisco. With the various constituents competing along different axes, Cisco will have to fight through both price and innovation. 

So how do you put together a coherent strategy against all of these different foes? The answer is: you don't.

Cisco doesn't need to have a single competitive solution to all of the different threats that face them. The way to think about this is not as a data center problem looking for a solution. Instead, picture the switching market as more of a Choose Your Own Adventure book. Cisco's job is to make it so that whatever choice you make, there is a Cisco ending that you wind up with.

This means that customers looking merely to keep their networks functioning need to have an easy upgrade path. For these Cat6k customers, Cisco continues to invest in the Cat6k. If a customer is interested in dipping a toe in the Fabric Waters, FabricPath is sitting there waiting. If a customer wants to try out more of an SDN solution, Cisco is backing OpenDaylight. Whatever a customer might want to try, Cisco's strategy is along the lines of "We have that."

The first reaction from folks is that having multiple solutions to the same problem is an expensive way to compete. This is actually a true statement. But think about this slightly differently. If you were a competing networking company, would you invest in any of legacy, fabric, or SDN if it meant grabbing 10% share? The answer is an unequivocal yes. 

So why then is it surprising that Cisco would have each of these solutions to hang onto that same 10%?

I don't mean this to say that Cisco has networking always and forever in the bag, but this is why I think some of the pundits' conclusions that SDN spells the end for Cisco are a little bit lazy. Whoever knocks Cisco down in the switching space will have to take out more than just "data center". They have to take down a few flavors of data center.

But does this mean that Cisco is invulnerable?

Absolutely not. Even the largest companies with the toughest of holds on an industry are vulnerable. If Insieme teaches us nothing else, it should teach us that Cisco has realized it cannot reinvent technologies without freeing up innovation from the somewhat stifling culture that permeates the Mother Ship. To date, they have a pretty strong track record of having employees start these offshoot companies and bring back the products. But with the VC world heating up, these spin-ins are becoming increasingly expensive.

As external investments become more pricey, it reduces the margin of error. So long as the big blockbuster movie pays off, the studio can afford more. But with a more intense competitive landscape than in any time in recent memory, it will be interesting to see if the success rate takes a hit at all. 

And of course there is the broader industry trend toward heterogeneous integration. Much of the hope (and hype?) of technologies like SDN, NFV, Network Virtualization, and DevOps is predicated on an ability to unify multiple solution components through some overarching shim layer (call it orchestration or management or integration or whatever you like). That unification of disparate IT silos might ultimately spell the end for a couple of the Choose Your Own Adventure endings. As these endings disappear, there is a very real question about where those customers wind up. 

I personally believe that Cisco has been fairly crafty in keeping its strategic options open. I see the in-fighting as a bit more Machiavellian than dysfunctional. But I do think the number of endgames is narrowing. I suspect that this will force a sharpening in what has probably seemed to many as a fairly blunt strategy for the past several years. The Insieme launch on November 6 will likely be our first collective chance to get a peek at how Cisco views this whole thing.

To read more posts on this topic, check out:

The post Strategic musings on the latest Cisco/Insieme rumors appeared first on Plexxi.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Michael Bushong

The best marketing efforts leverage deep technology understanding with a highly-approachable means of communicating. Plexxi's Vice President of Marketing Michael Bushong has acquired these skills having spent 12 years at Juniper Networks where he led product management, product strategy and product marketing organizations for Juniper's flagship operating system, Junos. Michael spent the last several years at Juniper leading their SDN efforts across both service provider and enterprise markets. Prior to Juniper, Michael spent time at database supplier Sybase, and ASIC design tool companies Synopsis and Magma Design Automation. Michael's undergraduate work at the University of California Berkeley in advanced fluid mechanics and heat transfer lend new meaning to the marketing phrase "This isn't rocket science."

@CloudExpo Stories
IBM helps FinTechs and financial services companies build and monetize cognitive-enabled financial services apps quickly and at scale. Hosted on IBM Bluemix, IBM’s platform builds in customer insights, regulatory compliance analytics and security to help reduce development time and testing. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Tom Eck, Industry Platforms CTO at IBM Cloud, will discuss how these tools simplify the time-consuming tasks of selection, mapping and data integration, allowing developers ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Outscale, a global pure play Infrastructure as a Service provider and strategic partner of Dassault Systèmes, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Founded in 2010, Outscale simplifies infrastructure complexities and boosts the business agility of its customers. Outscale delivers a secure, reliable and industrial strength solution for its customers, which in...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Progress, a global leader in application development, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Enterprises today are rapidly adopting the cloud, while continuing to retain business-critical/sensitive data inside the firewall. This is creating two separate data silos – one inside the firewall and the other outside the firewall. Cloud ISVs oft...
Regardless of what business you’re in, it’s increasingly a software-driven business. Consumers’ rising expectations for connected digital and physical experiences are driving what some are calling the "Customer Experience Challenge.” In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Marco Morales, Director of Global Solutions at CollabNet, will discuss how organizations are increasingly adopting a discipline of Value Stream Mapping to ensure that the software they are producing is poised to o...
Interested in leveling up on your Cloud Foundry skills? Join IBM for Cloud Foundry Days on June 7 at Cloud Expo New York at the Javits Center in New York City. Cloud Foundry Days is a free half day educational conference and networking event. Come find out why Cloud Foundry is the industry's fastest-growing and most adopted cloud application platform.
In order to meet the rapidly changing demands of today’s customers, companies are continually forced to redefine their business strategies in order to meet these needs, stay relevant and continue to see profitable growth. IoT deployment and development is integral in this transformation, and today businesses are increasingly seeing the value of investing their resources into IoT deployments. These technologies are able increase ROI through projects such as connecting supply chains or enabling sm...
Most DevOps journeys involve several phases of maturity. Research shows that the inflection point where organizations begin to see maximum value is when they implement tight integration deploying their code to their infrastructure. Success at this level is the last barrier to at-will deployment. Storage, for instance, is more capable than where we read and write data. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Josh Atwell, a Developer Advocate for NetApp, will discuss the role and value...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloud Academy will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Cloud Academy is the industry’s most innovative, vendor-neutral cloud technology training platform. Cloud Academy provides continuous learning solutions for individuals and enterprise teams for Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and the most popular cloud computing technologies. Ge...
When NSA's digital armory was leaked, it was only a matter of time before the code was morphed into a ransom seeking worm. This talk, designed for C-level attendees, demonstrates a Live Hack of a virtual environment to show the ease in which any average user can leverage these tools and infiltrate their network environment. This session will include an overview of the Shadbrokers NSA leak situation.
As cloud adoption continues to transform business, today's global enterprises are challenged with managing a growing amount of information living outside of the data center. The rapid adoption of IoT and increasingly mobile workforce are exacerbating the problem. Ensuring secure data sharing and efficient backup poses capacity and bandwidth considerations as well as policy and regulatory compliance issues.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interoute has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Interoute is the owner operator of Europe's largest network and a global cloud services platform, which encompasses over 70,000 km of lit fiber, 15 data centers, 17 virtual data centers and 33 colocation centers, with connections to 195 additional partner data centers. Our full-service Unifie...
SYS-CON Events announced today that delaPlex will exhibit at SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. delaPlex pioneered Software Development as a Service (SDaaS), which provides scalable resources to build, test, and deploy software. It’s a fast and more reliable way to develop a new product or expand your in-house team.
In his opening keynote at 20th Cloud Expo, Michael Maximilien, Research Scientist, Architect, and Engineer at IBM, will motivate why realizing the full potential of the cloud and social data requires artificial intelligence. By mixing Cloud Foundry and the rich set of Watson services, IBM's Bluemix is the best cloud operating system for enterprises today, providing rapid development and deployment of applications that can take advantage of the rich catalog of Watson services to help drive insigh...
Amazon started as an online bookseller 20 years ago. Since then, it has evolved into a technology juggernaut that has disrupted multiple markets and industries and touches many aspects of our lives. It is a relentless technology and business model innovator driving disruption throughout numerous ecosystems. Amazon’s AWS revenues alone are approaching $16B a year making it one of the largest IT companies in the world. With dominant offerings in Cloud, IoT, eCommerce, Big Data, AI, Digital Assis...
The 21st International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Digital Transformation, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding busin...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 21st International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. @ThingsExpo Silicon Valley Call for Papers is now open.
For financial firms, the cloud is going to increasingly become a crucial part of dealing with customers over the next five years and beyond, particularly with the growing use and acceptance of virtual currencies. There are new data storage paradigms on the horizon that will deliver secure solutions for storing and moving sensitive financial data around the world without touching terrestrial networks. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Cliff Beek, President of Cloud Constellation Corporation, w...
DevOps is often described as a combination of technology and culture. Without both, DevOps isn't complete. However, applying the culture to outdated technology is a recipe for disaster; as response times grow and connections between teams are delayed by technology, the culture will die. A Nutanix Enterprise Cloud has many benefits that provide the needed base for a true DevOps paradigm. In his Day 3 Keynote at 20th Cloud Expo, Chris Brown, a Solutions Marketing Manager at Nutanix, will explore t...
As enterprise cloud becomes the norm, businesses and government programs must address compounded regulatory compliance related to data privacy and information protection. The most recent, Controlled Unclassified Information and the EU’s GDPR have board level implications and companies still struggle with demonstrating due diligence. Developers and DevOps leaders, as part of the pre-planning process and the associated supply chain, could benefit from updating their code libraries and design by in...
You know you need the cloud, but you’re hesitant to simply dump everything at Amazon since you know that not all workloads are suitable for cloud. You know that you want the kind of ease of use and scalability that you get with public cloud, but your applications are architected in a way that makes the public cloud a non-starter. You’re looking at private cloud solutions based on hyperconverged infrastructure, but you’re concerned with the limits inherent in those technologies.