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Cisco paints its IT portrait

In first Interop keynote in six years, Chambers splashes broad strokes of the application centric landscape to come

It's been six years since John Chambers delivered a keynote address at the Interop conference and exhibition. He returned to the Interop stage this week in New York when a few weeks ago attendees and yours truly expected him to paint the backdrop for Cisco's new Nexus 9000 line of Application Centric Infrastructure switches developed by spun-in subsidiary Insieme Networks.

That backdrop will have to wait until November 6. But that didn't stop Chambers from splashing a few broad strokes for the Interop admirers and whetting their palette (pun intended) for the portrait to come.

[DEJA VU: Is Insieme Cisco's Nuova 2.0?]

Since his last Internet keynote, Chambers says everything is now, or about to be, connected to the Internet. It's a time for the industry leader (guess who?) to be The Disruptor.

It's all about the application and the ability to access them from any device - not just a PC. There's going to be an explosion of these connected devices - 500 billion of them by 2020, Chambers says -- requesting application downloads. In 2014, there will be 77 billion application downloads, 7x the amount of downloads in 2012.

This will lead to a fundamental transformation in the way businesses operate and will power the IT industry for the next decade at least, Chambers says. We will grow from a networked economy of digitized businesses to a digitized world: an Internet of Everything (IoE).

Applications in the IoE world need inherent scalability and security. Software by itself will not get the job done, Chambers declared. IT needs an Application Centric Infrastructure.

Chambers then brought on artistic collaborator Jim Grubb to demonstrate the landscape of his portrait-in-progress: an automated and customized hospital check-in that can prepare a patient room before arrival with lighting, TV preferences, attendant notifications, etc., all without a prolonged sign-in at the hospital registration desk. This sign-in can be accomplished through a patient's Facebook profile via a new partnership between Cisco and Facebook. The customization occurs via one-click provisioning of patient QoS from a hospital administrator's dashboard through a location-aware network.

The landscape is dotted with Cisco routers and switches like the Catalyst 6800 and Nexus 7000 (we didn't see a Nexus 9000 in the demo schematic... yet) stitched together with software like Cisco's Connected Mobility Experience, Extensible Network Controller, Unified Communications Manager collaboration, security, and video.   

It sure looked from here like a Cisco SDN... er, Application Centric Infrastructure (what was I thinking????). And it could apply to hospitality as well as hospitals, airports as well as ambulance destinations.

"Here's where the industry is going and here's where we're going as the industry leader," Chambers declared with chilling determination and clarity. "Watch what we announce or are about to announce. Application infrastructure is going to be the future. It's a given.

"We're entering the next era of IT. IT will be three layers, not seven. And there's going to be a brutal consolidation in this industry."

Perhaps that portrait will depict the battle to come.

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Cisco reveals its Internet of Everything router

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