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Summary:

The movement toward blade servers in the enterprise data center has been growing steadily for some time, backed by manufacturers like IBM and HP. But expect to soon see networking giant Cisco Systems enter this market as well, setting themselves up for a tense battle with […]

The movement toward blade servers in the enterprise data center has been growing steadily for some time, backed by manufacturers like IBM and HP. But expect to soon see networking giant Cisco Systems enter this market as well, setting themselves up for a tense battle with blade server manufacturers for control of the enterprise data center.

Earlier this year Cisco introduced their next generation of data center switches, the Nexus 7000 series. While many in the industry saw this announcement as playing catch-up to the likes of Force10 in the data center switching market, the blade server market took notice. Cisco is not a blade server manufacturer -– they are a networking company pushing the envelope of their areas of expertise in an attempt to keep their place in the enterprise data center. They already produce Linux-based blades for their Catalyst 6500 Series switches, so it seems logical to expect that a blade server will appear shortly in the Nexus 7000 Series.

Both Cisco and the blade server manufacturers know they’re in the midst of a revolution in the enterprise data center, one based on blades and virtualization. Data networking, an important component of the enterprise data center, is no longer the central force driving the vision of the future. Losing that visionary status means that account control, the prize coveted by all enterprise sales organizations, is moving from Cisco to others like IBM, HP and VMware (which may explain Cisco’s investment in VMware as a toehold in the virtualization space).

IBM currently sells Cisco switch ports attached to their blade servers. Once Cisco reverses this selling dynamic and announces their blade server for the Nexus 7000 switch you can bet that the folks in control of the enterprise accounts will take notice and go on the offensive.

In the long run, the enterprise data center is all about providing computing resources for an organization. Who do you think can provide those resources more effectively -– a blade server manufacturer using virtualization with networking added to the system or a data networking manufacturer adding blade servers and virtualization?

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  1. [...] read more | digg story Share and Enjoy: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages. [...]

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  2. Blade servers are the way to go, if you are in IT.
    Good to see Cisco moving in the right direction that will help the market to reconsider it’s rusting technology.

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  3. [...] and shape throughout series and are comatable with all models, whilst hp are only series specificread more | digg [...]

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  4. [...] The movement toward blade servers in the enterprise data center has been growing steadily for some time, backed by manufacturers like IBM and HP. But expect to soon see networking giant Cisco Systems enter this market as well, setting themselves up for a tense battle with blade server manufacturers for control of the enterprise data center. http://gigaom.com/2008/03/21/coming-soon-the-cisco-blade-server/ [...]

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  5. This is an interesting question. From a customer’s point of view, which option gives the warm and fuzzy feeling of knowing that the computing infrastructure is “up”? I think that question reduces to one of recovery; how hard is it to recover from bad network engineering versus bad server engineering.

    How does it happen? I argue that the recovery from bad network engineering has a clearer path to success. You cough a relatively bounded sum of money for new networking equipment, deploy it in a relatively bounded time, and fix the problem. Recovery from bad server engineering has a much less clear path to success. Because the success of the application has many connections between servers, VMs, memory, caches, disk storage, and networking, the recovery from bad server engineering is much less deterministic. It is harder to predict when you will recover, and if you have enough money to recover.

    In the market you describe, IBM has the server engineering expertise, while Cisco and IBM both have the network engineering expertise. Having Cisco peddle blade servers won’t change that.

    I’d go with IBM. If Over time Cisco builds branded enterprise server engineering expertise with a “Cisco Global Services” group (or something like that) that is well known, then I would give them the same advantage as IBM.

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  6. [...] opción tendrá más éxito? y ¿Qué harán los fabricantes de blade servers para desquitarse? Fuente: GigaOm __________________ Chilehardware – TecnoSquad – BotonTurbo – UrbanPower – Twitter – [...]

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  7. [...] via gigaom [...]

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  8. @Timo – agreed that Cisco has rusting technology :)

    @Jay – thanks for the thoughts on IBM having better server expertise. And, as you imply, you have IGS there to help you out.

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  9. Seen it all before Sunday, March 23, 2008

    Cisco has tried this before, and it was squashed by IBM before it ever saw the light of day.

    Why do you think Andy Bechtolsheim left Cisco to form an AMD blade company? (which was smartly bought by Sun!)

    Frankly, I don’t trust Cisco to be able to execute on this type of product. They’re simply too big and politicial to pull it off.

    Also the Nexus 7000 would be a waste of that platform.
    Each slot on the Nexus 7000 can push 80Gb. You’d need at LEAST 8 machines per slot to make the backkplane useful. There would be little point as a customer in spending so much on a chassis and backplane to only run a few gigs per slot.

    So I think you’re way off on a few points here, but it’s fun to talk about.

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