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Unified Fabric & Unified Computing: Is Imitation the Sincerest Form of Flattery?

I sometimes wonder when someone copies some of the things I’m doing, whether I should be flattered that someone is inspired so much that they would do such a thing? Or I should be upset about it? Personally I don’t care… But then I think about some people who would vehemently oppose your idea in the beginning, then later on imitate it and flash those same “me too” things back at you or others as if it was their own idea. Irritating isn’t it?Well, if we look at the Data Center paradigm, similar things happened when Cisco publicly introduced Unified Fabric architecture based on Data Center 3.0 vision & strategy.Initial responses from our competitors were as usual, they tried to downplay the benefits. However, a little later when they fully realized the strong customers and industry acceptance of this architecture, interesting things happened in this industry. A few months later one storage vendor had to stretch a lot and spend $3B to buy a small network switch vendor to be “positioned” to offer similar Unified Fabric technology but is still far from delivering it yet.Then there is this networking company with little data center expertise which announced a data center switch around the same time as Cisco Nexus 7000 announcement in early 2008. Recently, a few weeks back, this vendor turned around and called their own previous announcement as “legacy architecture”, even before shipping that switch. This was during this new announcement which promised a new “me too” Cisco Unified Fabric-like strategy to deliver on it years from now, which I think will be too little too late if anything. Considering the next evolutionary step of Cisco Data Center 3.0, the Unified Computing announcement by Cisco tomorrow — do you think it will force further consolidations in this or adjacent server market space and/or more companies following Cisco Data Center strategy?I care less about such industry consolidations/M&A’s just for copy -cat strategies. Or attempts to down play our Unified Computing strategy in the beginning to stall the market just like we saw in recent past after Cisco Unified Fabric announcement… What I think is more important is ONLY IF THEY LISTEN TO CUSTOMERS care-abouts & pain points, just like we do at Cisco, rather than poking holes in our innovative strategy only to copy it later, it will be in the best interests of our customers and this industry as a whole…

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2 Comments.


  1. Kash:Well said and looks like your predictions are already coming true. Two days after your entry in server market IBM is eyeing Sun to bolster it’s server business. Keep these coming.

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  2. Kash Shaikh

    Mark,Glad you liked it — we will certainly continue to share our perspective on the market dynamics so pls keep coming back to our discussions.Regards,-Kash

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