Has Cisco Got The Right Stuff?
Feb01

Has Cisco Got The Right Stuff?

John Chambers, who handed control of Cisco to Chuck Robbins in July 2015, was bumped further upstairs a month ago when he became Chairman Emeritus, while his successor took over his role as Chairman of the Board, but more than a change in leadership, the turnover represents a new — and hopefully — improved networking, server and security vendor. The company, which has been struggling with the cloud and commodity hardware and software-based competitors for the last decade, looks poised for new life — and growth — as it hosts this week’s Cisco Live EMEA 2018, in Barcelona, Spain. Reinventing Cisco is not new. “We’re probably reinvented ourselves five or six times literally in the last two decades alone,” said Chambers shortly after moving up to the board. In an industry famous for it’s what-have-you-done-for-me-next philosophy, networking has been battered by explosive demands, increasing complexity and flat budgets, with the results that Cisco’s market domination has been mired in commodity hell. In Q3 its Ethernet switching business grew 7.4% year-over-year to $6.75 billion (56.7% market share), while the router market climbed 3% to 41.4%, up slightly sequentially (40.8%), but down year-over-year (44%). While networking accounts for the bulk of Cisco’s revenues, it’s been doing pretty well in the datacenter market with its server portfolio (i.e. UCS and HyperFlex), statistically tied with IBM for third place in 3Q17, with 5.8% of the market ($992 million), behind HPE (19.5%) and Dell (18.1%). Cisco also did very well in the converged systems market, and while it’s a much smaller segment, $2.99 billon vs $17 billon in Q3, the company held down second place between Dell (48.3%) and HPE (10.3% share, down 41.9% from a year-ago’s 18.1%), and grew its marketshare 56.4% YoY to $485.5 million. Security is another market where Cisco is growing strongly. Cybersecurity spending is expected to soar from last year’s $137.85 billion to $231.94 billion by 2022, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 11.0%. According to ESG cybersecurity guru Jon Oltsik, “Cisco is one of only a handful of $2 billion-plus cybersecurity vendors that can grow its security revenue to over $5 billion by 2020.” At 4% of total revenues, the company’s security business is never going to be more than a wagging tail, but it grew 13% YoY in 2016, and 12% in the first nine months of 2017, which is way better than the switch and router business. A week ago Cisco expanded its cybersecurity portfolio with the acquisition of Skyport — a privately held company that has secured approximately $70 million in funding — whose core product platform is SkySecure Server, a physical server...

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Cisco HCI: Spring(Path) Has Sprung
Mar02

Cisco HCI: Spring(Path) Has Sprung

Networking giant Cisco has been very busy the last few weeks, what with last month’s Mobile World Congress and the Jasper Technologies acquisition ($1.4 billion) and this week’s Partner Summit and CliQr Technologies acquisition ($260 million). While the kitchen sink wasn’t included in the recent flood of announcements — although IoE will be featured at both Cisco Live Melbourne and Cisco Connect Singapore later this month, so that’s not yet been ruled out completely — almost everything else in its solutions portfolio was. The company said yesterday’s datacenter announcements featured innovations in three areas: networking, hyperconverged infrastructure (aka HCI) and hybrid cloud orchestration. I was most intrigued by the hyperconvergence (HyperFlex Systems) announcement. We’re announcing the next generation of hyperconvergence, said Todd Brannon, Cisco’s Director of Product Marketing for the Unified Computing System portfolio. He believes the company is going to transform the market, similar to what they did with ACI (aka SDN). Unlike the first-generation vendors, Cisco is coming out with a complete solution (built around SpringPath, a hyperconvergence software vendor backed, in part, by Cisco, and the company’s UCS compute platform), he said. “We’re going to leapfrog the market,” Brannon told IT Trends & Analysis. While HCI is still a very tiny part of the overall IT market, Cisco’s timing appears to be excellent. According to a recent study from Enterprise Strategy Group, 70% of IT respondents plan to invest in HCI over the next 24 months. The overall IT market will grow 0.6% (to $3.54 trillion) this year, converged infrastructure is growing at 6.2% (to $2.5 billion), year-over-year, and HCI is heading for the stratosphere at 258X, with sales shooting up 155.3% (to $278.8 million) for the last reported quarter. The first movers in hyperconvergence — i.e. Nutanix and SimpliVity — did a good job as far as they went, but they didn’t go far enough, said Brannon. Customers tell us they want simplicity, but they don’t want silos… they’re also interested in being able to scale… and want to run more of their applications on them, he said. In short, the existing solutions are “incomplete”. “We’re coming in with a complete solution… there’s very real functional differentiation in this product.” HyperFlex “can deploy in under an hour and that includes the network… [with] 48% higher performance and 30% better TCO”. In addition to HCI, Cisco also expanded its SDN-ready Nexus 9000 switches that deliver ‘up to 10 times performance improvement at industry leading price points [and] give[s] Cisco customers a two-year innovation advantage over competitive technology.’ “We’re delivering 10/25/40/50/100Gpbs across the entire portfolio,” said Thomas Scheibe, Director of Technical Marketing & Solutions Engineering, Cisco. The...

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Rack & Rule: Dell Updates 4-Socket 4U R920 Server
Apr29

Rack & Rule: Dell Updates 4-Socket 4U R920 Server

With the x86-server market growing, but undergoing a lot of turbulence – converged/engineered systems, Lenovo taking over IBM’s System X business and HP getting closer to its expiry date (in November it will become two mini-HPs), Dell is looking to increase its second-place position with new rack servers targeted primarily at the fading but still significant Unix market (the non-x86 market presents a $9.1 billion addressable market in 2015). According to the company, the 4-socket 4U PowerEdge R930 is designed for such enterprise applications as in-memory databases, customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP). In addition to the R930, Dell also updated its PowerEdge VRTX and M1000e converged platforms, and introduced the PowerEdge FC830 and the M830 blade servers. We’re pushing double-digit performance gains on something that was already leading the world, said Brian Payne, Executive Director, Dell Server Solutions. The company launched the R930’s predecessor, the R920 high-end server, 14 months ago, targeted at workhorse applications such as ERP, e-commerce and a wide-range of databases, i.e. workloads that often aren’t virtualized over reliability concerns. He said Dell will continue to sell the R920 for the remainder of 2015: a number of web sites are already offering discounts up to 40% on the line. “There’s still a strong market opportunity for x86 servers and specifically 4-socket servers,” Payne told IT Trends & Analysis. One size will not fit all needs in the X86 server space, so Dell will continue provide a broad array of server solutions, he added. Two weeks ago Dell extended its PowerEdge FX converged architecture, which was initially introduced six months ago, positioned as yet another Cisco killer (this time the alleged victim is UCS, not Catalyst). In addition to announcing three new FX modules, it stated the x86-based platform can host 72% more virtual desktop users in 10X less space than UCS. According to the latest numbers from Gartner, server shipments grew 4.8% in Q4, while revenues increased 2.2%. Dell came in second behind HP (27.9% of revenue, up 1.5% year-over-year), with 17.3% ($2.42 billion), up a very respectable 16.9%. Not unexpectedly, the biggest swing came courtesy of the Lenovo purchase of IBM’s System X business, which saw the former soar 743.4% and the latter plummet 50.6%. Dell’s server numbers are impressive, but they mask another trend reshaping the server market, the emergence of engineered or integrated platforms (i.e. workload-specific systems like Oracle’s Exadata platform) and modular or converged systems (i.e. Cisco/VCE/HP), according to IDC. While still just a fraction of the overall server market, since IDC started tracking these segments in Q1 13, sales of engineered systems have grown by about a...

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Can Oracle’s VCA Wrest Share from VCE?

Larry Ellison and Oracle have EMC’s VCE and Cisco’s UCS square in the crosshairs. The question is, can Ellison’s “highest performance, lowest purchase price” converged infrastructure value proposition be enough to sway IT buyers to adopt Oracle’s Virtualized Computing Appliance (VCA)? To read the complete article, CLICK HERE

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Cisco: Where We Are (Part 2of3)
Dec17

Cisco: Where We Are (Part 2of3)

SAN JOSE: The IT industry has weathered a lot of changes over the last 30 years, many of them either pioneered – or at least cashed in on – by Cisco Systems, including switches, routers and converged systems. The history of Cisco is market transitions, Chairman and CEO John Chambers told a group of journalists and analysts during a three-day Cisco-thon. “We see around corners… we see the things 3, 5, 10 years ahead of the opportunity.” While the 30-year-old remains networking’s 800-pound gorilla, and has captured the lion’s share of the surging converged infrastructure market – some combination of servers, storage and/or networking – it has been active in a variety of other segments, including analytics, cloud, collaboration and security. While Chambers called data analytics the “one area we were missing”, he added that the company has been heavily involved in analytics for many years, but the Internet of Everything, which the company has been calling a $19 trillion opportunity by 2020, requires a new approach, bringing the analytics to the edge where most of the data resides. The key is the edge, where the analytics goes, he said. However IoE and big data analytics (AKA Cisco Connected Analytics) are Cisco’s future (i.e. Part 3). According to company executives, Cisco’s today includes the usual networking suspects, as well as a variety of other segments, including security. “We have security as the number one, number two, number three, number four concern for all of our customers,” said Chuck Robbins, SVP Worldwide Field Operations. Just in case the 25% revenue jump last quarter didn’t indicate just how important Cisco thinks security is, IDC just reported that Cisco hung on to its lead in the security appliance market, growing its share 2.8 points to 18.7% of revenues, well ahead of second-place Check Point and more than twice the revenues of third-place Palo Alto Networks. The company also announced its intent to acquire Neohapsis, a privately held, Chicago-based security advisory company providing risk management, compliance, cloud, application, mobile, and infrastructure security solutions to Fortune 500 customers. Cisco’s key focus is addressing customers’ security issues, said Marty Roesch, Vice President/Chief Architect, Security Business Group/Sourcefire CTO, but solving them is more of an aspirational goal. “Over the last decade we’ve seen the industrialization of hacking.” They’re really getting professional in how they attack, with QA testing and even guarantees, he said. According to Ponemon data, the average cost of a breach in 2014 is $5.4 million per incident, and in a recent Cisco survey, 100% of the sample was compromised. The good news, said Roesch, is that means there is a huge opportunity in...

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