Welcome!

SDN Journal Authors: Pat Romanski, Destiny Bertucci, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Amitabh Sinha

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
Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo have announced the conference tracks for Cloud Expo 2018. Cloud Expo will be held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, and November 6-8, 2018, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA. Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DX Expo within the program. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive ov...
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, whic...
Sanjeev Sharma Joins June 5-7, 2018 @DevOpsSummit at @Cloud Expo New York Faculty. Sanjeev Sharma is an internationally known DevOps and Cloud Transformation thought leader, technology executive, and author. Sanjeev's industry experience includes tenures as CTO, Technical Sales leader, and Cloud Architect leader. As an IBM Distinguished Engineer, Sanjeev is recognized at the highest levels of IBM's core of technical leaders.
Smart cities have the potential to change our lives at so many levels for citizens: less pollution, reduced parking obstacles, better health, education and more energy savings. Real-time data streaming and the Internet of Things (IoT) possess the power to turn this vision into a reality. However, most organizations today are building their data infrastructure to focus solely on addressing immediate business needs vs. a platform capable of quickly adapting emerging technologies to address future ...
Mobile device usage has increased exponentially during the past several years, as consumers rely on handhelds for everything from news and weather to banking and purchases. What can we expect in the next few years? The way in which we interact with our devices will fundamentally change, as businesses leverage Artificial Intelligence. We already see this taking shape as businesses leverage AI for cost savings and customer responsiveness. This trend will continue, as AI is used for more sophistica...
With tough new regulations coming to Europe on data privacy in May 2018, Calligo will explain why in reality the effect is global and transforms how you consider critical data. EU GDPR fundamentally rewrites the rules for cloud, Big Data and IoT. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Adam Ryan, Vice President and General Manager EMEA at Calligo, examined the regulations and provided insight on how it affects technology, challenges the established rules and will usher in new levels of diligence arou...
In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Dumas, Calligo’s Vice President and G.M. of US operations, discussed the new Global Data Protection Regulation and how Calligo can help business stay compliant in digitally globalized world. Greg Dumas is Calligo's Vice President and G.M. of US operations. Calligo is an established service provider that provides an innovative platform for trusted cloud solutions. Calligo’s customers are typically most concerned about GDPR compliance, application p...
"I focus on what we are calling CAST Highlight, which is our SaaS application portfolio analysis tool. It is an extremely lightweight tool that can integrate with pretty much any build process right now," explained Andrew Siegmund, Application Migration Specialist for CAST, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
As many know, the first generation of Cloud Management Platform (CMP) solutions were designed for managing virtual infrastructure (IaaS) and traditional applications. But that's no longer enough to satisfy evolving and complex business requirements. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Scott Davis, Embotics CTO, explored how next-generation CMPs ensure organizations can manage cloud-native and microservice-based application architectures, while also facilitating agile DevOps methodology. He expla...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Evatronix will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Evatronix SA offers comprehensive solutions in the design and implementation of electronic systems, in CAD / CAM deployment, and also is a designer and manufacturer of advanced 3D scanners for professional applications.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Synametrics Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Synametrics Technologies is a privately held company based in Plainsboro, New Jersey that has been providing solutions for the developer community since 1997. Based on the success of its initial product offerings such as WinSQL, Xeams, SynaMan and Syncrify, Synametrics continues to create and hone inn...
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices to ...
DevOps promotes continuous improvement through a culture of collaboration. But in real terms, how do you: Integrate activities across diverse teams and services? Make objective decisions with system-wide visibility? Use feedback loops to enable learning and improvement? With technology insights and real-world examples, in his general session at @DevOpsSummit, at 21st Cloud Expo, Andi Mann, Chief Technology Advocate at Splunk, explored how leading organizations use data-driven DevOps to close th...
Continuous Delivery makes it possible to exploit findings of cognitive psychology and neuroscience to increase the productivity and happiness of our teams. In his session at 22nd Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo, Daniel Jones, CTO of EngineerBetter, will answer: How can we improve willpower and decrease technical debt? Is the present bias real? How can we turn it to our advantage? Can you increase a team’s effective IQ? How do DevOps & Product Teams increase empathy, and what impact does empath...
Most technology leaders, contemporary and from the hardware era, are reshaping their businesses to do software. They hope to capture value from emerging technologies such as IoT, SDN, and AI. Ultimately, irrespective of the vertical, it is about deriving value from independent software applications participating in an ecosystem as one comprehensive solution. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Kausik Sridhar, founder and CTO of Pulzze Systems, discussed how given the magnitude of today's application ...
There is a huge demand for responsive, real-time mobile and web experiences, but current architectural patterns do not easily accommodate applications that respond to events in real time. Common solutions using message queues or HTTP long-polling quickly lead to resiliency, scalability and development velocity challenges. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ryland Degnan, a Senior Software Engineer on the Netflix Edge Platform team, will discuss how by leveraging a reactive stream-based protocol,...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Raju Shreewastava, founder of Big Data Trunk, provided a fun and simple way to introduce Machine Leaning to anyone and everyone. He solved a machine learning problem and demonstrated an easy way to be able to do machine learning without even coding. Raju Shreewastava is the founder of Big Data Trunk (www.BigDataTrunk.com), a Big Data Training and consulting firm with offices in the United States. He previously led the data warehouse/business intelligence and B...
Digital transformation is about embracing digital technologies into a company's culture to better connect with its customers, automate processes, create better tools, enter new markets, etc. Such a transformation requires continuous orchestration across teams and an environment based on open collaboration and daily experiments. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Alex Casalboni, Technical (Cloud) Evangelist at Cloud Academy, explored and discussed the most urgent unsolved challenges to achieve f...
"Digital transformation - what we knew about it in the past has been redefined. Automation is going to play such a huge role in that because the culture, the technology, and the business operations are being shifted now," stated Brian Boeggeman, VP of Alliances & Partnerships at Ayehu, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
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. What do you do?