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Cisco Launching Blade Servers in 2009

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the please-wear-eye-protection dept.

Networking 87

minutetraders writes "According to some sources, by next year Cisco Systems will be in the blade server business. ChannelWeb has a story, confirmed by several sources, that the San Jose, Calif.-based networking behemoth is readying blade servers, code-named California, for a release early next year. A blade server offering would put Cisco in direct competition with the likes of Dell, HP, and IBM, companies it partners with on their respective blade server offerings, for control of the enterprise data center."

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linux (4, Informative)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 4 years ago | (#26226297)

a buddy of mine (who used to work for Cisco) says they'll be pushing linux, but offer windows if that's what the customer wants to pay for.

Re:linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26226343)

Too bad all Cisco top customer are windows shops.

Re:linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26227937)

You sure about that? I work for a 30K employee international corporation and we are mostly Sun/HP Linux but do run AD for user desktops. The DC is UNIX.....

That's great. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26226401)

I'm all for flexibility. I doubt I'll find a need for a Cisco server as I deal with the SMB market.

I'd love to test one out.

I would imagine both Windows and Linux would work well with the system. With a market on the switching and routing world, would the server hardware exploit any additional unwritten rules? Is there an NSA back door?

Re:linux (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26226441)

your buddy is nuts unless he was refering to VMWare ESX(i) as the "linux" they will be pushing. Its not really a blade server as much as a whole system packaged together. I know I have sat through the VOD's internally on it :) Its going to change the game for the DC in ways that the others cant compete. They actually had Intel come to us to license some technology.

Its a good time to be at Cisco.

Re:linux (1)

eharvill (991859) | more than 4 years ago | (#26226541)

It is my understanding the will be working closely with VMWare, particularly around their NEXUS stuff and possibly having a specific Cisco/VMware cert. I am guessing it will take a good 12-18 months before they get any serious penetration in the server market.

So yes.. (1)

Junta (36770) | more than 4 years ago | (#26226593)

It is a blade server offering. Just because it will be sold as a full stack with bundles ESX and other prescribed software doesn't mean the technology isn't at its core another server offering, no more than a processor ceases to become a processor because it is sold only in a whole system by anyone. This is important in evaluating the fundamental ability of others to compete.

In terms of "changing the game in ways others can't compete", it sounds like some great pep rally morale speak, but in the end, full stack solutions for various intents can be seen across the vendors, as it seems to be all the rage among them now. I personally think the competency is useful, but pre-done vendor solutions will fall short of a company's needs compared with a customized one done by the company itself (or at least partner with a vendor rather than just buy it). Of course, in the commodity market, that fat profit margin in full stacks is appealing to the companies, hence the interest.

In any event, it will be interesting to see if anything particularly keen comes out of it. However, I don't expect much out of the servers just like I wouldn't expect much out of managed switching from a Dell badged switch. As a company, I would stick to having your own architects listening to the vendors and picking the most appropriate parts from each. There may be a simplicity of support, but in aggregate you should be able to ensure enterprise grade support even if you have something more tailored to your needs.

Re:So yes.. (1)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 5 years ago | (#26227335)

While it's folly to write off Cisco in any market, there's a lot of competition that's both mature and ready to 'go to the mat' to retain marketshare. The only one I see vulnerable is Dell, as they can't seem to break into the NOCs heavily because they don't understand the NOC very well at all.

Cisco has to also battle a lot of COGS, as they're not known to make things inexpensively, and worse, supporting systems infrastructure is different than supporting networking fabric. They also lack storage infrastructure-- a necessity for blade systems, and they're only loosely a one-stop-shop for support.

That said, Cisco plays for keeps. Doing so will hurt their earnings for a while, as this isn't an easy business to break into.

Re:So yes.. (1)

pyite (140350) | more than 5 years ago | (#26227763)

Uhm. It's common courtesy to expand an acronym the first time you use it. While I would normally assume that NOC means "Network Operations Center," it makes no sense in this context. And as for "COGS," I'm not sure where to begin.

Re:So yes.. (1)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 5 years ago | (#26227799)

Sorry.

NOC==network operations center
COGS==cost of goods sold, an accounting term.

Re:So yes.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26231331)

Cobol on Cogs?

Re:So yes.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26228247)

sorry but your wrong and here is why.

Its not a "blade center" in the traditional sense. What you get with California is the ability to add a sheet metal device with no built in intelligence but just raw CPU and 4x the memory of anyone else (This is 4 times the max per CPU of Intel's spec. That is the technology that Intel wanted to get from us and what no one else can do. The majority of VM machine virtualization is memory bound ...)
When you connect this box into the fabric (Nexus switching/Data Center Bridging) all the resources of this box are now going to be managed by the network. Need more CPU just add another blade to the sheet metal. Out of space just add another sheet metal box. Connect to the fabric and its all 1 big system. Scalability beyond anything IBM/HP/Dell can imagine. With the Fabric connection you get FCoE to the box,Ethernet to the box, OOB management to the box... You get the picture by now I'm sure.

The real key is the ability to scale to 4 times the amount of memory that anyone else will be able to with the next gen Intel Processor however. Bundle that tightly with an ESX offering and you offer true virtualization in the DC, with a very green footprint and simplicity of management all with access to storage in a dynamic way.

Re:linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26226641)

[citation needed]

hahahaha!!!!!!!11!! u didnt c that 1 comin!!

Re:linux (1)

Leynos (172919) | more than 5 years ago | (#26231339)

He cited his buddy.

Re:linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26227955)

Looks like a nice opportunity to get further sued by the FSF.

delivery (4, Interesting)

ChiefArcher (1753) | more than 4 years ago | (#26226341)

If cisco delivered servers the way it delivers network gear:

  You will order your blades and get them 3 months later after harassing your rep over and over until they finally send them via VP signatures via a warehouse.

When people want servers, they want them in days... not months.
This can only end poorly.

Re:delivery (4, Informative)

afidel (530433) | more than 4 years ago | (#26226411)

Your rep sucks, our orders both directly from Cisco and from CDW arrive in a normal timeframe of several days.

Re:delivery (1)

ChiefArcher (1753) | more than 4 years ago | (#26226481)

CDW usually has things in stock... But they aren't a gold partner.. If you want support, you'll have to go to your local cisco rep which will be pissed off because he didn't get the credit for selling you those things. Anywho.

My problem tends to be not ordering products they just got released. my 4510-E's for the new office were delayed 6 months because of power supply problems and +E blade problems.

The normal lead time on any 4948 or 4948-10G I order is 4-6 weeks. Also their normal products like ASA5510's ship in days..

Re:delivery (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26229649)

CDW usually has things in stock... But they aren't a gold partner.. If you want support, you'll have to go to your local cisco rep which will be pissed off because he didn't get the credit for selling you those things. Anywho.

My problem tends to be not ordering products they just got released. my 4510-E's for the new office were delayed 6 months because of power supply problems and +E blade problems.

The normal lead time on any 4948 or 4948-10G I order is 4-6 weeks. Also their normal products like ASA5510's ship in days..

CDW IS a gold partner... as of about 3 years ago.

Re:delivery (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26230939)

and your Cisco AM gets credit regardless of who you buy through if its new or Cisco Authorized Referb. :)

Re:delivery (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26236585)

CDW is actually a Gold Partner, they attained this status with their acquisition of Wisconsin based Berbee.

Re:delivery (1)

yorugua (697900) | more than 5 years ago | (#26229461)

>>Your rep sucks, our orders both directly from Cisco and from CDW arrive in a normal timeframe of several days.

Well, I guess the thing is that CDW has its own stock of things they think are selling well, in order to have "happy customers" (c).

I worked in replying RFP's from IT customers, and when replying those, we usually had to add the usual 60-day delivery time by Cisco in our repliess. We are not us-based, tough, YMMV, yadayadayada, but at least here and now, that's the way it works.

Re:delivery (1)

dawich (945673) | more than 4 years ago | (#26226477)

Interesting - the longest I've ever had to wait for Cisco gear was 3 weeks, and it's usually 4-5 days, but my vendor was Berbee. Now that CDW owns Berbee, it may change. I'd much rather speak to TAC with an issue than HP Support.

Re:delivery (1)

kicker485 (846301) | more than 5 years ago | (#26227905)

HP Support = People from Colorado I can understand that take a while to solve the issue, even after I've told them exactly what it is and how to reproduce it. Cisco Support = People from India or Mexico I can't understand that fix the problem quicker. I'll take the guy who understands the product that I can't understand any day

Re:delivery (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 5 years ago | (#26229089)

Get better HP contracts and it will be Atlanta and they won't mess around (especially with 6hr call to repair contracts, only about 20% more expensive than a normal 4hr onsite contract but they really seem to pay attention when you mention the 6hr ctr). Also I've yet to have a significant issue fixed by TAC India, my best luck has been with the Aussies.

Re:delivery (1)

jo42 (227475) | more than 5 years ago | (#26227159)

...and they will be hugely overpriced.

Re:delivery (3, Informative)

Rick Bentley (988595) | more than 5 years ago | (#26227889)

If Cisco builds servers the way it builds network gear:

...You will get a 1GHz P4 single core server for only $9,990. Unless, of course, you want the OS pack, antivirus pack, and browser pack, which pushes the prices to $23,486. Plus support contract. The software on it, however, will be quite nice, if a bit simple.

The margins Cisco gets on HW is obscene (over 90%). I don't know what value they can add to blade servers to get anything like the margin they are used to.

Yet, that won't stop some clueless VP of Engineering from saying "get the Cisco ones, they'll be more reliable".

Re:delivery (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26231889)

I don't know how you can make such a sweeping statement about margin; some kit Cisco sells heavily custom engineered, but some is basically PCs in a fancy case running Linux [ASA series, for example].

Re:delivery (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26352905)

Not even Microsoft's gross margins are over 90%. Cisco's are more like 65%. Companies pay it mainly for 3 reasons:

- The stuff lasts so although it is really expensive up front, even after processor upgrades every 4-5 years, it ends up being only slightly expensive in the long run.

- Like other companies that write millions of lines of code Cisco's has bugs in it. It's just that relatively speaking, theirs has fewer bugs in it and they publish them publicly so most of the time you know what you're getting into. I've had some core boxes that, minus maintenance time, have been running continuously for 5+ years.

- When (not if) you do run into a bug they have someone that will answer the phone and help you resolve your issue. 24 hours a day. 365 days a year.

Having said all of that, servers? Really? Seriously? For what reason? Let HP and IBM run with that market.

Now, if htey want to buy EMC and sell me storage then that's sonther story.
 

Re:delivery (1)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 5 years ago | (#26234093)

And yet, Cisco keeps making a profit and people keep buying Cisco and Cisco support contracts. They must be doing something right.

I'm not saying I agree; I'm just saying it's working for them.

Any role for Linux? (1)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 4 years ago | (#26226349)

I am wondering whether there will be any role for Linux. But if there is any, then the politics of which distro CISCO chooses will be a subject of great and diverse opinion here at Slashdot. I can't wait.

Re:Any role for Linux? (1)

Neil Blender (555885) | more than 4 years ago | (#26226425)

The distro will Red Hat enterprise. At best, you could hope for the option of CentOS (or no OS at all).

Re:Any role for Linux? (1)

Wesley Felter (138342) | more than 5 years ago | (#26227505)

This is the enterprise we're talking about. It'll be RHEL and SLES, preferably on ESX. Of course, you can install whatever you want.

Compliant? (4, Interesting)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 4 years ago | (#26226375)

I wonder which pre-installed Linux distro they won't give you the source to.

Re:Compliant? (4, Interesting)

ChiefArcher (1753) | more than 4 years ago | (#26226449)

Agreed... If i'm not mistaken
the 6500 NAM and NAM2 blades run linux.
and the older Cisco Content Manager caching engines ran linux (I rooted one).

So.... You're right about the compliance part.

Re:Compliant? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26226779)

NAM2 ran a BSD-based OS as I recall -- not that it's an important point

Re:Compliant? (1)

rwyoder (759998) | more than 5 years ago | (#26227627)

Agreed... If i'm not mistaken the 6500 NAM and NAM2 blades run linux. and the older Cisco Content Manager caching engines ran linux (I rooted one). So.... You're right about the compliance part.

And the WAAS/WAE devices, (descendents of the CCM), and the Wireless LAN Controllers are all running Linux.

Re:Compliant? (1)

gollito (980620) | more than 5 years ago | (#26232833)

not all wlc's run linux. The stupid crappy wireless lan express engine or whatever it was called ran linux. Worthless piece of crap IMO.

Seems like a logical progression (3, Interesting)

cruff (171569) | more than 4 years ago | (#26226427)

Cisco has been pushing into the Fibre Channel switch market also, and those switches have control processors running Linux on them. They were pushing various software companies to port things like SAN backup applications onto those processors. Ironically they refused to let us consider porting a custom data mover application from our archive software into the switch because we were an end user.

Re:Seems like a logical progression (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 4 years ago | (#26226853)

Their Fibre Channel switches SUCK. I had the most downtime I've ever had in my career recently due to their sucky designs. They massively oversubscribe things and they have way too few hardware B2B credits. Their big switches are an absolute joke. Look at Brocade's DCX vs a 9513, the Brocade can do full 8Gb full duplex bandwidth between every port on a 48 port blade and has 256Gbps of backplane which doesn't even get touched if your storage and hosts are on the same blade because the blades do local switching. By comparison the brand new gen 2 9513 fabric has 96Gbps and no local switching between ASIC's! In the real world even the old 48000 series is better with "only" 64Gbps of backbone due to the local switching. After having been bitten by Cisco it will be a loooong time before I even reconsider them.

p.s.
For a good comparison see this [brocade.com] page, yeah I know it's from Brocade but it's all truthful information.

Ah, so... (1)

Junta (36770) | more than 5 years ago | (#26227301)

They run their FC business much like their ethernet business ;) If you want high performance, Cisco is definitely not the brand even in ethernet. In ethernet, at least, they live on the strength of their manageability, not much more.

I know Cisco has some ethernet switches than can handle line rate on all their ports, but it's more rare than it should be. For example, I don't think any vendor other than Cisco has an entry level 48 port gigabit switch that doesn't have the fabric to handle it all concurrently (I speak of the 2960 specifically). I know a lot of places don't need that performance, but it is an odd omission given the current state of competitor technology.

Re:Ah, so... (2, Informative)

pyite (140350) | more than 5 years ago | (#26227781)

The 2960 may be a "gig switch" but it is not a gig switch. Get a 3750. Better yet, get an HP 3500yl and be done with it. Unless you have real pull for pricing with Cisco (some of us do), HP makes way more sense with the 3500yl and the 8200zl than Cisco with 3750 and 6500.

Re:Ah, so... (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 5 years ago | (#26228071)

The difference is in an ethernet/TCP network you generally just get poorer performance unless you are really pushing things, in a FC environment things fall over when delivery can't be made. Our 9140's fell over at about 1.7Gbps max total throughput, they claimed to support 2Gbps on the first 8 ports and 4Gbps on each group of 4 for the other 32 ports. They tried to blame it on our storage array even after being shown the proof from their own tech captures and the detailed logging from our storage controllers. We replaced them with Brocades and all of our problems went away.

Re:Ah, so... (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 5 years ago | (#26228085)

Oh, and I don't buy Cisco gear for performance, I buy it for reliability. Their chassis based switches are simply tanks and I have a very good track record with them, but they've always been overkill for the environments I've used them in, not sure how they fare when you really push them to the wall.

Yet another "Blade Runner" . . . (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 4 years ago | (#26226439)

A blade server offering would pit Cisco in direct competition against the likes of Dell, HP and IBM, companies it partners with on their respective blade server offerings, for control of the enterprise data center.

I never really did think I understood what that film was really about.

Now I think I am beginning to get an idea.

Apple?

Show us your iBlades!

Sunsetting (1)

deanston (1252868) | more than 4 years ago | (#26226519)

If true this should be yet another slice off Sun's stocks.

Back planes (2, Informative)

Sniper98G (1078397) | more than 4 years ago | (#26226551)

Cisco has been pushing into the data center for a long time. It seems to me this is a good move. They could build an enterprise class switch and a router right into the backplane of the blade server chassis and sell you a data center in a box. All you would need to do is plug a couple of fiber cables right into you backbone and be done.

Re:Back planes (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 4 years ago | (#26226877)

You already have that with enclosure like the HP C-class, only it involves well engineered and supported blades and your choice of fiberchannel switches and/or Infiniband. They even offer storage and backup blades so you can do a datacenter in a box for midsized remote offices.

And IBM, and now even Dell. (1)

Junta (36770) | more than 5 years ago | (#26227321)

All of them have integrated switches (the Dell M-series, IBM from its inception). Hell, Cisco even makes a switch to put into the IBM product, probably the others too. Will note that none put them into the backplane, but in modular form factors, as it should be. Backplane should be as simple and reliable as can be (as passive as possible, redundant power and data traces, etc etc.)

software vs hardware (4, Informative)

glitch23 (557124) | more than 4 years ago | (#26226559)

Since ChiefArcher mentioned a gripe about Cisco (delays in shipping hardware), I'll mention mine too. They make great hardware. I don't think anyone can dispute that. However their server software for managing that hardware is just....crap. Cisco Security Manager is slow, non-clusterable except with 3rd party (Veritas) software, and has some really dangerous default behavior which can't be changed. The backend runs on a server and a thick client is an administrator's interface to the backend and/or to network devices. In the case of CSM the devices are IDSs, firewalls, and VPNs. THe thick client is just that, thick. It is developed in Java and is just horrendously slow. A change in the thick client running on XP can require a restart of the services *on the server* thereby basically requiring an administrator to make the change anyway. It is ludicrous.

Their other management app, LAN Management Solution, is just a cobbled together bunch of stuff that seems to barely work. If you breathe wrong it can break. We use the Solaris version at work. It doesn't have a thick client; all management is through a web browser. Managing it on the CLI at the OS level though is dog slow (takes 10 minutes to completely startup). The least little change in the GUI requires a restart. It is also expensive just like CSM (CSM is mid 5 digits for a single server to manage 500 devices). We've found many faults with both apps at work over the last 6 months beyond what I've mentioned above. I recommend staying away from them. I hope that their adventures into blade servers is better. They seem to do better at hardware than software.

Re:software vs hardware (1)

Sniper98G (1078397) | more than 4 years ago | (#26226599)

I will give you that some Cisco applications are slow and cumbersome. You seem to use a couple of the worst ones. But Cisco does make a lot of other software that is very good. Take Network Compliance Manager (NCM); its interface uses no java (html only) and it is extremely responsive.

Re:software vs hardware (1)

Junta (36770) | more than 4 years ago | (#26226639)

I will add that I'm not impressed with their hardware, but am impressed with their *firmare*. In terms of price performance, speed of switching, density, etc etc, they have competitors that beat them handily, without compromising fundamental reliability.

Now in terms of managing complex networks and chasing problems down, I don't know of a competitor that provides compelling features in the firmware to detect and locate all the various conditions I've seen Cisco make easy. It's not fundamental to the hardware, all the required data to identify this is by its nature is resident in most all ethernet switches, but it is the firmware that does the requisite analysis and identification of troublesome situations.

Re:software vs hardware (1)

glitch23 (557124) | more than 4 years ago | (#26226955)

I will add that I'm not impressed with their hardware, but am impressed with their *firmare*. In terms of price performance, speed of switching, density, etc etc, they have competitors that beat them handily, without compromising fundamental reliability.

I agree with the hardware comment to a point. We have FWSMs and IDSM-2s at work. The following numbers are my best recollection from a recent round of performance testing a few weeks ago. The FWSMs can only do 2.5Gbps with TCP (3.0Gbps with UDP). Peak throughput for the IDSMs are only 500Mbps I believe(whatever it is it is much lower than the switching throughput). We have a 20Gb backbone but it is useless when you are having to use FWSMs and IDSMs between segments which severely drop your throughput. Other vendors can reach 20Gbps with their firewalls. Why can't Cisco? I'm not a networking person but maybe the problem is the fact that the FWSMs and IDSMs are modules instead of stand-alone devices. Any ideas?

Re:software vs hardware (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26226701)

amen, I often referred to one of their larger server side products as Cisco Doesn't Works. I found that it was cumbersome and involved lots of product troubleshooting to even use it to manage Cisco devices while it was considerably easier to just script what you wanted to do across all of your Cisco products and monitor them with 3rd party (and OSS) tools.

Re:software vs hardware (1)

wiz_80 (15261) | more than 5 years ago | (#26229213)

NetworkWorld says that the management software comes from BMC, which should mean their recent BladeLogic acquisition if Cisco has any sense. Sorry, no URL as I'm writing this post on my iTouch.

The NW article says that this could be the beginning of a management software partnership, or perhaps an acquisition, which could be interesting.

Re:software vs hardware (1)

glitch23 (557124) | more than 5 years ago | (#26230543)

Their Cisco MARS appliance was an acquisition of Protego Networks. Their LMS suite that I mentioned in my first post also came from another company (or at least some of the individual apps did and then Cisco tried to glue them together) but I don't recall which one. Despite the MARS appliance and software now being under Cisco's control for at least 3 years (since I've known about it) and the same with Cisco LMS you would think that Cisco would perform some assimilation and make the apps integrate better with their native products. I'm not too thrilled to hear that they are yet again possibly acquiring software outside the company because they don't hardly take any time to do assimilation development or fix any glaring problems that the original company never bothered to fix.

Re:software vs hardware (1)

lanner (107308) | more than 5 years ago | (#26259879)

I support your statement regarding crappy software. ACS is a real pile -- given it's importance, you might think they would improve upon it a little more. Call Manager has annoying issues up the wazoo. MARS looks kinda neat, until you actually try to use it and end up fighting against it all the time.

I look more and more fondly upon Juniper. Their new EX series switches and smaller routers could start hurting Cisco here in a few years in the SMB market, rather than just carrier.

With a law suit on the way? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26226569)

Am I the only one who wonders what the impact of the FSF's compliance law suit will be on this?

Re:With a law suit on the way? (1)

Wesley Felter (138342) | more than 5 years ago | (#26227517)

None? Why would it have any impact?

Great, more Cisco garbage... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26226585)

You do realize of course, that it will probably just be a rebranded Dell.

Cisco's Product Manufacturing Manual:

- Buy hardware from someone else.
- Spray paint it blue / grey
- Call it a Cisco X where X is any 4 digit number
- Release it with Linux but call it a new version of IOS.
- Offer shitty support on it as it's not a router or switch and we therefore have no clue what we're doing
- Require a paid CCO account for simple driver updates

Oh yes, and ensure the product uses technology at least 4 years behind all competition. No need to stay current, people will pay for it because it says Cisco on the box. Suckers!

Almost certainly not... (1)

Junta (36770) | more than 4 years ago | (#26226651)

They would rebadge whatever Dell is rebadging, skip the middle man.

Re:Almost certainly not... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26230259)

I Think blade servers should always be a cluster of 1U servers, mounted sidewayz. that really cuts out the vendor specific crap.
Whats the advantage to mounting a server sideways? for starters, its easier to add and remove them.

Re:Great, more Cisco garbage... (1)

dlb (17444) | more than 5 years ago | (#26228621)

Their higher-end ASA firewalls and Call Manager systems are just HP servers with a different paint job.

The ASA5580 is just a HP DL580. http://www.cisco.com/en/US/products/ps6120/index.html [cisco.com]

Probably twice as expensive too.

Blades with 70% porfit margins? (2, Insightful)

ishobo (160209) | more than 4 years ago | (#26226603)

With their growth stagnating in networking gear, especially with all the competion from such companies as Juniper and HP, they decided into move to servers. It is going to be difficult for them to maintain their 70% profit margins.

Not interested in x86 servers.. (1)

Junta (36770) | more than 5 years ago | (#26227339)

In this play, the x86 servers are a necessary evil to push the fat profit margin product, the 'solution', including fat software margins.

Honest Question (1)

Seraphim_72 (622457) | more than 4 years ago | (#26226633)

Not being a network person and working at a college that is pure Cisco on the networking side, what percent of the market do they own? Close enough that one of the big boys might gripe a bit about (ahem) unfairly leveraging their markets?

Sera

Re:Honest Question (1)

tfskelly (1205060) | more than 4 years ago | (#26226839)

I doubt it. Cisco is not comparable to Microsoft in terms of market leverage. There are several sites that cite numbers far less that what M$ enjoys:

http://blog.tmcnet.com/the-hyperconnected-enterprise/business-aspects/cisco-just-at-37-market-share-in-ethernet-switching.asp [tmcnet.com]

http://www.networkworld.com/community/node/22780 [networkworld.com]

Also, while Microsoft is dominant at home and on workstations(as well as in the Enterprise), Cisco is primarily used in medium-large businesses. Therefore it's visibility is far less that what Microsoft has. Cisco may be a household name for anyone in the IT field, but Microsoft is a household name period.

If they stopped making blade switches for HP, IBM, and Dell, they would be shooting themselves in the foot. My company saved about $60,000 by using HP switches with our HP blades rather than Cisco switches. Do you really think people would complain much if the Cisco offering disappeared? Furthermore, do you think I'm going to switch to more expensive, untested Cisco blades when I already have something that works?

Cisco needs to tread carefully. Their marketshare has been eroded by high-quality, lower cost options from Nortel, HP, and Juniper. Expanding into new markets while their primary bread-winner is getting hammered is not smart business.

Re:Honest Question (1)

Anonymous Psychopath (18031) | more than 4 years ago | (#26227039)

I've seen estimates that Cisco is less than 4% of total IT spend. Not really DOJ territory.

Software Support (2, Informative)

Kronik Gamer (518652) | more than 4 years ago | (#26226739)

Hopefully they will provide better software support than they do with their VPN clients.

Still no Windows 64-bit support for their IPSEC client... very annoying to have to run a virtual machine to connect to a Cisco VPN.

Re:Software Support (1)

kicker485 (846301) | more than 5 years ago | (#26227923)

The AnyConnect works great with 64-bit Windows...

Re:Software Support (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26228421)

Support for the old IPSec client is being phased out in favor of the AnyConnect client -- give it a try, it works on more platforms than the older client does.

Cisco nonsense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26227115)

Well speaking from a government standpoint I am sure we will end up with their piles. If it weren't for someone important up the food chain hopping into bed with Cisco, we wouldn't be the reason they maintain that 70% profit margin!

Cisco's growing lack of focus (1)

skingers6894 (816110) | more than 5 years ago | (#26227149)

Even though we have been a Cisco house for years our latest high end routing purchase went to Juniper.

Our team is lamenting the lack of focus by Cisco on their traditional core competency - a situation Juniper seems to be taking advantage of right now.

The curse of success... (1)

Junta (36770) | more than 5 years ago | (#26227363)

Too many good companies attract sharks known as shareholders and executives that just want to pimp out the name, and not maintain efforts to lead their original advances. As you say, Cisco is letting their networking slide as they chase whatever flavor of the month executives want to slap the name onto. Guess this is good in a way, provides a bizarre, but eerily ubiquitous mechanism of preventing monopolies, self-destruct through greed.

If lucky, they will be like other companies that at least come to their senses once in a while (i.e. like HP did after the exit of Carly). But right now and for a significant amount of time they've let their leadership slip. Even if I like their firmware features, I can't exactly ignore the hardware advances the competition makes...

Re:Cisco's growing lack of focus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26353017)

I have to agree to some degree with this. Juniper has made a nice market for themselves selling straight IP routers that are fast and pretty stable.

Cisco has good routers that will route IP packets, answer phone calls, take voice mail messages, do deep packet inspection, run my wireless APs and cook my breakfast in the morning.

This is great in many remote site instances but what about the core where I a) don't need all of those features and b) definitely don't want to pay for them.

The 7200 is just plain old. Admittedly, it is a great router that I have beat the crap out of and it keeps coming back for more but now we need a router that can do multiple 10GB circuits at line rate with QoS and other services not impacting performance. Bye, bye 7200.

Hopefully the ASR solves this issue for Cisco but I don't know what they cost.

welcome to the competition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26227283)

The way this article talks sounds to me Cisco is invading the territory of HP and IBM. On the other hand, HP has been making switches and its ProCurve series actually poses the second largest vendor in the access switch market.

There should not be so-called this-is-my-world thought for those companies, I would like to see them to go into competitions and thus come out better products.

Ericsson already does this, what is new? (1)

Mindjiver (71) | more than 5 years ago | (#26227559)

Cisco is behind the telecom giant Ericsson here, they already have a blade system delivered to Telstra:

http://www.ericsson.com/solutions/news/2008/q4/081121_telstras_network.shtml [ericsson.com]

Cisco, behind old and boring telecom? :)

Re:Ericsson already does this, what is new? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26227973)

they already have a blade system delivered to Telstra>

But it's Telstra, so it doesn't count.

It's already begun. (1)

damu (575189) | more than 5 years ago | (#26227679)

I work for a Cisco partner in the VoIP space. Cisco has already put their PBX on Linux, as well as their SIP proxy. It is only a matter of time where every Cisco product which sits on top of Windows will remove that dependency. dam

utroll (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26228433)

project 7aces a set

competition ftw! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26229889)

This is really interesting for my company as we are a HP house for servers but Cisco for network. Looks like i will be able to play one off against the other now. hehe

Lack of new projects (1)

slashbeard77 (1435781) | more than 5 years ago | (#26230065)

The number one goal of any firm is to increase shareholder wealth. Cisco has a history of buying a product and squeezing the life out of it and this firm is having difficulties finding new networking related projects that have a required rate of return high enough to satisfy investors. Another point is that John Chambers recently announced they may begin paying dividends soon.

Sweet Code Name! (1)

afabbro (33948) | more than 5 years ago | (#26230717)

code-named California

Wow, they're clever.

HP and IBM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26230813)

All newcomers to enterprise servers and data center management will need to catch up quickly. the single most slant towards HP and IBM are the fact that they have their own " so called open" OS. HP/UX and IBM/AIX. Both also embrace Linux. IBM has also strongly supported Linux on their zVM mainframe platform. What else can drive hardware prices lower for an organization than buying everything from a single vendor? Go Cisco, Dell, etc...Need the competition.

The subject should read Cisco to RE-launch... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26232871)

Cisco used to be in the blade business. Some of us got to be guinea pigs with the ICS 7750 [cisco.com] . Then the abandoned us. How will this be different?

Because they are "data centers in a box" (1)

almondjoy (162478) | more than 5 years ago | (#26236949)

You can fit one of the latest bladeserver chassis from IBM,HP etc into about 12U or so of rack space. Inside that box you can combine a bunch of powerful servers, storage, multiple switched networks and I/O buses across mid planes, back planes, FC switches, etc. And some also make room for a disk array inside the same chassis. You can really call them "data centers in a box". This is not good for Cisco. HP/IBM, etc. will OEM Cisco I/O devices as part of the config options for their blade platforms. But in that scenario it doesn't say Cisco on the front of the box anymore. As blade centers proliferate Cisco becomes marginalized in this market.

I wouldn't be surprised if Cisco's blade platform ends up supporting blade servers from the other vendors. To me that makes more sense from Cisco's point of view. With blade platforms its not about the server - its about the infrastructure devices you plug into it along side all those thin little blades. Does Cisco really want to become a server vendor? I don't think so. Blade servers themselves are commodotizing rapidly. The most expensive parts are the special switches & other I/O devices that you add to it to convert it from a bunch of blade servers sharing a common power supply and cooling to a complete data center in a box. Cisco wants their name on that box. And maybe you'll see little IBM, HP, Dell etc. logos on the blades that are installed in them.

Core Network Services (1)

makousks (861432) | more than 5 years ago | (#26257231)

I hear you can run Infoblox on the Cisco NME cards, so now you can have DNS/DHCP running at remote sites with zero added footprint and central manageabiltiy!! Sweet!
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