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Networkers Announcement…

I wanted to send a quick invite out to our readers about Cisco Networkers coming up in Anaheim the last week of July. Networkers is Cisco’s main user conference, customer appreciation event, training/recertification venue, etc. This year we are also having a very special Data Center track at Networkers for deep-dives into DC architecture, product design, etc.Also at Networkers we are announcing Cisco’s next-phase of our Data Center Strategy and Vision… Read More »

How will applications evolve?

When I think about Cisco and what our routers and switches and such enabled over the past 20 years I sort of home in on the Internet. It’s this massive network of devices, all running consistent protocols, working together to forward data to the right destination, with the appropriate autonomy in place to allow for organic growth without stepping on too many of each others toes. As I add a router or network to the Internet the whole Internet gets more valuable (assuming I am not adding a bot-net or something of that ilk). Read More »

Smarter than a Fifth Grader

I know that counting numbers, ratios, and comparative percentages can be challenging, even for professional adults. For example, taking a ratio like “we beat our competitor 98% of the time this quarter”. A simple enough equation — “98 of 100 times we won.” However, to make that equation have any value, you first have to get accurate underlying data. Then you can do the math and hopefully win a round at “Smarter than a Fifth Grader”. But getting the initial data right isn’t always so easy. Or maybe just not in everyone’s best interest. Take for example Cisco’s recent entrance into the rapidly growing “WAN optimization” market. A hot market by anyone’s standards — the market analysts see it as nearly $600M last year (2006) and growing to $800M-$1B over the next 2-3 years. Cisco itself can claim around 500 new customers in the last 6 months, and nearly 1000 to date. So if you extrapolate that math from the ratio we noted above — other vendors claiming 98% win rate in their external reports and reporter calls — then the total market must be HUGE, since this sample vendor must have won 25,000+ customers over that same six months (25,000 = 500 Cisco wins @ 2% of market). But here’s where the numbers and ratios we noted above can be challenging — the noted vendor in this example claims only 2000 customers to date, and that’s from a very recent announcement. The impact of these math errors can often have far reaching consequences, with even trade magazines, full-scale business publications and Wall St. analysts covering these “equations” without verifying the background data. Smarter than a fifth grader? If we’re talking about people possibly “adjusting” market data to deliver smart-sounding ratios, absolutely at high school-level. If we’re talking about actually believing those numbers without solid data to back it up, then no way — you’ll lose to the fifth grader every time. Are you smarter than a fifth grader? Am I? Let’s talk about it.

A lightbulb and a SAN Director – Can you tell the difference?

In the last two of days I have received more than a couple of emails (mostly from Cisco technical sales people) about some testing that our main storage networking competitor has done to show how the power consumption of our MDS 9500 director is higher than that of their current generation of products. Everybody was giving me tons of reasons why the comparison was not correct and how real life environment were different than the test set up.I thought about posting a very long explanation of the fallacies of such a test with all of the technical details behind that, but then I realized that there may be an easier way to explain. Read More »

Power & Cooling : More Ways to Skin the Cat

By now it’s more than clear that power and cooling are one of (if not THE) top concern for data center architects and many CIOs today. Simple data points show that power consumption by servers in data centers has doubled from 2003 (5.6 million) to 2005 (10.3 million). The power needed for these servers and associated infrastructure would require 5 power plants at 1000 megawatts output each to support this load. That was two years ago- Read More »