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Virtual Devices by Michael Morris

Just a quick link to our reader to check out Michael Morris’s write-up on Virtual Device Contexts. Michael, nice blog, detailed, and very well thought out. Michael’s blog.I wanted to point out that this is another example of ‘organic innovation’ brought forth by Cisco Engineers and Product Managers working intimately with our cutting edge customers. The genesis of this idea by the way came from a variety of sources, but one was Mike van Norman from UCLA’s networking group who wanted to share a large switch with four departments and optimize his infrastructure without proliferating a lot of smaller devices. Mike, wanted you to know we never forgot, and we delivered. Even though that lunch was in a deli in LA in 2003/2004 I think. Read More »

Death Star Network Design Contest

I was trolling through some stuff last night and came across this new building being proposed as a convention center in the United Arab Emirates. It’s an interesting piece from a design perspective, and in this case I would say function is clearly following form. Let’s call this for now the Death Star Convention Center. Read More »

Don’t take my Kodachrome Away…

I have to hand it to Brad Reese for being able to drive a discussion :) Ok, or maybe to fan the flames of a mild-mannered campfire into that of a forest-sweeping conflagration. But either way it is just downright funny to me the comments people are making on Network World.I guess being called a ‘Schmuck’ isn’t so bad, even though it means I am probably off of our northern neighbor’s holiday card list for eternity. Read More »

On Merchant Silicon and Mowing My Yard

Recently there was a quick write-up by one of my favorite competitors in the switching market arguing against my assertion that ‘merchant silicon’ is essentially ‘not a good thing’ in the switching space. Let me clarify…Maybe an analogy will help. If a switch is like a car then the switching silicon would be most analogous to the engine and/or transmission. i.e. the core of the car and a major point of competitive advantage and differentiation. Do major automobile manufacturers outsource engine design and development to other firms? Of course not, they design and build their engines. Do manufacturers of more consumer goods like lawn mowers outsource their engines? Absolutely, they go to specialized engine manufacturers because the core value of what they offer is either a certain price point, or the value is not tied to the engine. So the question then -- is do you want to ride to work or school in a car, or on a lawnmower? I know one would get me laughed at if I was in school, the other… not so much :)Applying it back to switching, I’d rather control my own destiny and align the core value creation in the silicon with the hardware and then with the software and continue to drive innovation at every tier and not saddle up on my Toro in my enterprise. (no offense to the manufacturer of lawn mowers, I am a good customer of yours too :)dg

Cisco & Microsoft: Optimizing the Branch Together

Some people make friends easily. Others find it a hard thing to do. Still more people are challenged to keep their friends over time.Today Cisco and Microsoft announced that they’re working hard to address some of the key IT challenges our most important friends have — our customers. Specifically in this announcement, our mutual branch IT customers and their end users.What did the companies announce?Windows Server 2008 (specifically Windows Server 2008 Server Core), will be hosted on upcoming versions of virtualized Cisco WAAS appliances later this year. What makes that so interesting to our customers? Several things: 1) The ability to flexibly design branch office IT architectures to meet information and business requirements, while actively lowering management cycles and cost.2) Reducing IT devices in the branch, while still delivering required end user experience and local services (can you say print server, DNS, DHCP?)3) Leveraging the network, and the benefits of WAN optimization (Cisco WAAS) coupled with virtualization, to enable the ideal mix of local branch and centralized data center services. Selectable by the customer.What are people saying about this? Here’s one point of view: http://www.informationweek.com/story/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=206900159 And here’s another from Microsoft’s Windows Server branch team, posted today: http://blogs.technet.com/windowsserver/archive/2008/02/26/check-out-the-latest-branch-solution-powered-by-windows-server-2008.aspxWhat are Microsoft and Cisco execs saying about it? See them yourself in video: http://www.cisco.com/go/microsoftallianceIf you’re in Los Angeles, CA tomorrow for the Microsoft Windows Server 2008 launch, or in another of the 250+ cities where events are occuring, you can see this for yourself: http://www.microsoft.com/heroeshappenhere/default.mspx. We’d be keen to hear your thoughts on this integrated solution from Cisco and Microsoft, too. Send us a reply with your thoughts…Mark WeinerMarketing Director, Data Center Solutions