Ethernet over Barbed Wire, Arcnet, 100MB Token Ring, 100Base-VGAnylan and iSCSI “¦

February 5, 2007 - 0 Comments

I do about 5 executive briefing center visits a week discussing Cisco’s data center strategy. I have a beautiful slide deck highlighting the advantages of Cisco’s end-to-end data center strategy; the builds and animation are fantastic, the graphics superb, and of course my oratory is reminiscent of Lincoln’s Gettysburg address . However, inevitably I get asked a question on Cisco’s commitment to the data center and in particular., for some odd reason, our commitment to FibreChannel.While I believe that most of this may come from competitive FUD, some of it probably arises from Cisco’s initial foray and positioning into the storage I/O market. You see, before Cisco entered into the Fibre Channel switching business, Cisco had a pretty strong position on iSCSI taking over the storage I/O business. This was not quite the Voice will be Free proclamation but certainly we had our own dogma about the direction of storage I/O. We purchased an ip storage company, co-authored the iSCSI specification and set forth to conquer the storage networking market. As we all know, the adoption curve of iSCSI in the storage networking industry has had a much shallower ramp than was initially predicted and since then Cisco has successfully entered into the Fibrechannel storage networking market. What we learned from this experience is to rely on a Cisco strength — to be transport agnostic — and let the market place and our customers drive our technology focus and investment. Cisco made its name based upon providing solutions that interconnected networks over disparate technologies. This brings me to the headline of this blog. At various times Cisco has deployed or demonstrated a variety of technologies that didn’t quite pan out from a customer or market deployment model. We demonstrated Ethernet over Barbed wire (great for war zones or cattle ranches), sold lots of products with Arcnet, contemplated 100Mb Token Ring and, my favorite, developed router interfaces for 100Base-VGAnylan. So when a customer asks me about our commitment to Fibrechannel, I say that we are as committed to Fibrechannel as long as the storage market and customers demand networked Fibrechannel connectivity. This philosophy of being transport agnostic is reflected in our current networking portfolio in the Data Center, where Cisco offers Ethernet, FibreChannel and Infiniband solutions. Ultimately the market will decide which technology (or future technology) becomes dominant.Now can someone tell me whether I should buy a Blue Ray or HD DVD player?Ed Chapman

In an effort to keep conversations fresh, Cisco Blogs closes comments after 60 days. Please visit the Cisco Blogs hub page for the latest content.