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Key Points on ‘Cisco Blade Servers’ or Unified Computing

Sometimes we can’t get everything we want to say in a press release, like our recent Cisco Unified Computing announcement. This is a collection of a few points that seem to get lost in translation/distillation that we wanted to ensure were top-of-mind for anyone reading about our announcements today. 1) Cisco is creating a sub-category of the server market- a specialized market we call Unified Computing. This is not the ‘Clash of the Titans’ or us ‘coming after HP or IBM or Dell’. Some companies may choose to join us in this market, others may continue to operate the status quo. We are certain over time we will not be alone in this market.2) Unified Computing is not going to be a single-vendor closed system for the entire data center. We are not advocating going and doing a forklift upgrade or rip/replace on existing data centers customers have. This specialization of the market will make sense for some workloads, there are others it will not be right for for some time.3) This system is based on industry standard Processor architectures, Memory Architectures, Network Architectures, Storage Architectures, and Cabling Architectures. We avoided doing anything proprietary everywhere we could. Much of the innovation is in the integration and pre-engineering across a broad array of partners. Even the APIs used for management and provisioning were designed to co-exist and based on extensible semantics and open interfaces.4) This is about more than Cisco. It’s about a community of partners, some of the top companies in their areas of expertise. It’s about our customers and their increasingly common unfulfilled requirements. It’s about how best to serve our customers and bring them innovations that control and reduce recurring costs, and stop the legacy practices that led to waste and inefficiency that we all experience today.5) Virtualization made this Unified Computing market possible. It also made the test and qualification of 1000′s of applications (a traditional barrier to entry created by the incumbents to justifiably reduce customer risk) much less necessary than before. Virtualization also made the workloads portable, even across vendors, thus we fully expect to be happily inter-operating with other vendors in traditional server markets for many years in the future.dg (Follow me this fun and fulfilling day on Twitter or Friendfeed)

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16 Comments.


  1. Being a big fan of Cisco, I think Unified Computing is a great move. Virtualization is here to stay. More and more Fortune 500 companies are making it the linchpin of their data centers. Make it is to adopt virtualization and companies will beat a path to your door. Great job Cisco. Follow me @dejon97.

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  2. Hey Douglas, as I read this I have to wonder – is this a sort of extension of what CrossBeam did many years back? I realize this isn’t the same exact idea, but it seems like Cisco is building upon this type of concept of modular, multi-tasking hardware.I will say that it’s no surprise Cisco is entering relatively
    ew”” market-space as in order to expand further you have to either (a) create a new market, or (b) invade an existing market… good choice on (a); now it’s up to the execution.Good luck.”

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  3. What about smart grid technology? Internet over the power grid is a symbiotic area. New energy economy investors need to know, where are you at on R&D in this area? What can you tell us, and what can we tell our technology averse congresspeople and senators that they need to understand about smart grid and internet over the power grid?

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  4. A little disingenuous to say that you are not competing with HP, IBM and Dell for servers. There is nothing wrong with competition just come out and say it. The press release PR spin control”” is not necessary. If you have a good product\solution then people will buy it, but HP and IBM will respond with the consultancies each brings to bear on your market in core products.”

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  5. Congratulations to the team at Cisco! Like dejon97, I am a big fan of Cisco. This is a breakthrough announcement. Some may not find it
    evolutionary enough- but no one offers this combination of server and network fabric out of the box, along with network management service. With reduced prices at Capex level, and also over the lifespan of the equipment, the value proposition is compelling. What will be the next step? Will Cisco be moving up in the IT and SOA stack, to include application servers, Email and other products like Portals? No one has a compelling integrated IT and SOA stack.”

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  6. Where are the server lades”” you talk about them in the presentation but I don’t see any info on them. Are they yours, or partner built for Cisco?As for the datacenter, it looks like you’ve invented that mainframe ;D”

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  7. Glad to see the cat is finally out of the bag, and looking forward to both the industry reactions and the next steps. Lots of very cool potential. http://blogs.netapp.com/virtualization/2009/03/thoughts-on-cis.html

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  8. Doug,Looks like I owe you that Coke we bet back in April (At least one blade vendor will have a CNA NIC within one year). Although I didn’t expect Cisco to be the blade server vendor.Nevertheless, the part about not competing with HP and IBM is pure hogwash. What you’re saying is that Cisco has created it’s own server market segment, and thus, really isn’t in competition with the other blade server IHVs. C’mon. When anyone produces a product that is aimed at taking customers away from their competitors sweet spot (even if you believe that product is in a class by itself), you are competing. Pure and simple.

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  9. What’s with the almost complete lack of technical details on the new products?It’s really odd to see such a bit publicity push with so little actual content. Everything seems focused on CIO’s and op managers””, and one of the key messages is “”accelerating decisions.”” It sure sounds like Cisco has decided not try winning over the IT staff and instead is going right after the CIO.”

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  10. Cisco talked about cutting costs with this Unified System, but nowhere can I find how much this system will actually cost to acquire. We need to know that before we believe any ROI / cost savings hype, especially in this economy.

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  11. This system is based on industry standard…architectures… We avoided doing anything proprietary everywhere we could.””Will you publish the hardware interface specifications for the blade servers? Will a third party be able to build a blade for this system without restrictions from Cisco?If the answers are “”Yes””, your architecture is open, your ecosystem and range of applications will grow, and I’ll tell my clients we need to investigate switching to your technology. If the answers are “”No””, you’ve produced one more proprietary product and we’re not interested. It’s not worth making a change if we’d still find ourselves limited by your product roadmap.”

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  12. Congratulations on a great launch! It’s cool to see multiple products of the same product family announced simultaneously. While we all await for more technical details, a quick perspective is offered at:http://yescloud.wordpress.com/2009/03/18/unifying-the-data-centercloud-infrastructure/PG.

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  13. I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.Joannahhttp://linuxmemory.net

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  14. Where are the server “blades” you talk about them in the presentation but I don’t see any info on them. Are they yours, or partner built for Cisco?

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  15. Being a big fan of Cisco, I think Unified Computing is a great move. Virtualization is here to stay. More and more Fortune 500 companies are making it the linchpin of their data centers. Make it is to adopt virtualization and companies will beat a path to your door. Great job Cisco. Follow me

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  16. We really like Cisco Servers. They are highly robust and reliable. :D

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