Click here to close now.

Welcome!

SDN Journal Authors: Carmen Gonzalez, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz

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
With the arrival of the Big Data revolution, a data professional is expected to master a broad spectrum of complex domains including data processing, mathematics, programming languages, machine learning techniques, and business knowledge. While this mastery is undoubtedly important, this narrow focus on tool usage has divorced many from the imagination required to solve real-world problems. As the demand for analysis increases, the data science community must transform from tool experts to "data...
In today's digital world, change is the one constant. Disruptive innovations like cloud, mobility, social media, and the Internet of Things have reshaped the market and set new standards in customer expectations. To remain competitive, businesses must tap the potential of emerging technologies and markets through the rapid release of new products and services. However, the rigid and siloed structures of traditional IT platforms and processes are slowing them down – resulting in lengthy delivery ...
15th Cloud Expo, which took place Nov. 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, expanded the conference content of @ThingsExpo, Big Data Expo, and DevOps Summit to include two developer events. IBM held a Bluemix Developer Playground on November 5 and ElasticBox held a Hackathon on November 6. Both events took place on the expo floor. The Bluemix Developer Playground, for developers of all levels, highlighted the ease of use of Bluemix, its services and functionalit...
In today's application economy, enterprise organizations realize that it's their applications that are the heart and soul of their business. If their application users have a bad experience, their revenue and reputation are at stake. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Anand Akela, Senior Director of Product Marketing for Application Performance Management at CA Technologies, discussed how a user-centric Application Performance Management solution can help inspire your users with every applicati...
The 3rd International @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo – to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY – is now accepting Hackathon proposals. Hackathon sponsorship benefits include general brand exposure and increasing engagement with the developer ecosystem. At Cloud Expo 2014 Silicon Valley, IBM held the Bluemix Developer Playground on November 5 and ElasticBox held the DevOps Hackathon on November 6. Both events took place on the expo fl...
"Our premise is Docker is not enough. That's not a bad thing - we actually love Docker. At ActiveState all our products are based on open source technology and Docker is an up-and-coming piece of open source technology," explained Bart Copeland, President & CEO of ActiveState Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at Cloud Expo®, held Nov 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The truth is, today’s databases are anything but agile – they are effectively static repositories that are cumbersome to work with, difficult to change, and cannot keep pace with application demands. Performance suffers as a result, and it takes far longer than it should to deliver new features and capabilities needed to make your organization competitive. As your application and business needs change, data repositories and structures get outmoded rapidly, resulting in increased work for applica...
Docker offers a new, lightweight approach to application portability. Applications are shipped using a common container format and managed with a high-level API. Their processes run within isolated namespaces that abstract the operating environment independently of the distribution, versions, network setup, and other details of this environment. This "containerization" has often been nicknamed "the new virtualization." But containers are more than lightweight virtual machines. Beyond their small...
Enthusiasm for the Internet of Things has reached an all-time high. In 2013 alone, venture capitalists spent more than $1 billion dollars investing in the IoT space. With "smart" appliances and devices, IoT covers wearable smart devices, cloud services to hardware companies. Nest, a Google company, detects temperatures inside homes and automatically adjusts it by tracking its user's habit. These technologies are quickly developing and with it come challenges such as bridging infrastructure gaps,...
A new definition of Big Data & the practical applications of the defined components & associated technical architecture models This presentation introduces a new definition of Big Data, along with the practical applications of the defined components and associated technical architecture models. In his session at Big Data Expo, Tony Shan will start with looking into the concept of Big Data and tracing back the first definition by Doug Laney, and then he will dive deep into the description of 3V...
The move in recent years to cloud computing services and architectures has added significant pace to the application development and deployment environment. When enterprise IT can spin up large computing instances in just minutes, developers can also design and deploy in small time frames that were unimaginable a few years ago. The consequent move toward lean, agile, and fast development leads to the need for the development and operations sides to work very closely together. Thus, DevOps become...
NuoDB just introduced the Swifts 2.1 Release. In this demo at 15th Cloud Expo, Seth Proctor, CTO of NuoDB, Inc., discussed why scaling databases in the cloud is challenging, why building your application on top of the infrastructure that is designed with this in mind makes a difference, and what you can do with NuoDB that simplifies your programming model, your operations model.
You use an agile process; your goal is to make your organization more agile. But what about your data infrastructure? The truth is, today's databases are anything but agile - they are effectively static repositories that are cumbersome to work with, difficult to change, and cannot keep pace with application demands. Performance suffers as a result, and it takes far longer than it should to deliver new features and capabilities needed to make your organization competitive. As your application an...
The consumption economy is here and so are cloud applications and solutions that offer more than subscription and flat fee models and at the same time are available on a pure consumption model, which not only reduces IT spend but also lowers infrastructure costs, and offers ease of use and availability. In their session at 15th Cloud Expo, Ermanno Bonifazi, CEO & Founder of Solgenia, and Ian Khan, Global Strategic Positioning & Brand Manager at Solgenia, discussed this shifting dynamic with an ...
Hovhannes Avoyan, CEO of Monitis, Inc., a provider of on-demand systems management and monitoring software to 50,000 users spanning small businesses and Fortune 500 companies, has surpassed 1.5 million page views on the SYS-CON family of online magazines, which includes Cloud Computing Journal, DevOps Journal, Internet of Things Journal, and Big Data Journal. His home page at SYS-CON can be found at Montis.SYS-CON.com
Leysin American School is an exclusive, private boarding school located in Leysin, Switzerland. Leysin selected an OpenStack-powered, private cloud as a service to manage multiple applications and provide development environments for students across the institution. Seeking to meet rigid data sovereignty and data integrity requirements while offering flexible, on-demand cloud resources to users, Leysin identified OpenStack as the clear choice to round out the school's cloud strategy. Additional...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Liaison Technologies, a leading provider of data management and integration cloud services and solutions, has been named "Silver Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Liaison Technologies is a recognized market leader in providing cloud-enabled data integration and data management solutions to break down complex information barriers, enabling enterprises to make sm...
The 17th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. 17th International Cloud Expo, to be held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, APM, APIs, Microservices, Security, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps 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 bu...
The speed of software changes in growing and large scale rapid-paced DevOps environments presents a challenge for continuous testing. Many organizations struggle to get this right. Practices that work for small scale continuous testing may not be sufficient as the requirements grow. In his session at DevOps Summit, Marc Hornbeek, Sr. Solutions Architect of DevOps continuous test solutions at Spirent Communications, will explain the best practices of continuous testing at high scale, which is r...
Collecting data in the field and configuring multitudes of unique devices is a time-consuming, labor-intensive process that can stretch IT resources. Horan & Bird [H&B], Australia’s fifth-largest Solar Panel Installer, wanted to automate sensor data collection and monitoring from its solar panels and integrate the data with its business and marketing systems. After data was collected and structured, two major areas needed to be addressed: improving developer workflows and extending access to a b...