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Cisco building an Internet of Everything router: Chambers

CEO says new ASIC disclosed at Cisco Live will be routing tech for ambitious initiative; and Insieme may include storage

By , Network World
July 16, 2013 04:36 PM ET
John Chambers

Network World - Cisco is building a router for the Internet of Everything, the company’s initiative to connect the billions of devices – or 99% of the world – that it claims aren’t already connected.

As disclosed at Cisco Live three weeks ago, Cisco’s developing a new high-end routing ASIC that will contain 4 billion transistors, 1.5 million lines of software code, and cost $250 million. The ASIC will “generate the routing technology for the Internet of Everything,” Cisco CEO John Chambers said during an exclusive interview with Network World this week.

“Our next high-end ASICs will generate the routing technology for the Internet of Everything,” Chambers said during the interview, the transcript of which will be posted later. "(It’s) half software, half hardware.”

The chip is expected before the end of the year. The platform on which it will run is unknown, but is believed to be a CRS router.
Chambers also intimated that Cisco’s Insieme spin-in is developing a product that converges switching/routing, storage and compute on a common platform, and that the Insieme architecture will spread beyond the data center to the edge of the network, including access routers.

When asked to elaborate on comments Cisco COO Gary Moore made at Cisco Live three weeks ago about routers and storage and compute converging, Chambers said:

“It looks like Insieme … and you’ve got to put in switching. If you think about it, the ability to also apply storage, whether it’s from our partners or from ourselves. It’s a single architecture first in the data center and then throughout the whole network. The ability to go all the way to the edge of the network, whether a top of pole router or any access router from Cisco. We’ll add UCS technology to every device.”

The Insieme product line is expected to debut later this year as well.

Chambers also addressed the multiple platforms Cisco is now offering for the data center – Catalyst, Nexus and soon Insieme – and the apparent overlap and inconsistencies, and perhaps confusion, they present. He said it takes “courage” to disrupt the market:

“Any time you offer multiple approaches to a market, you’ve got to spend a lot of time with your customers understanding the plusses and minuses for each way you pursue them,” he said. “What Cisco has always done is handle this transition pretty smoothly. The results speak for themselves in our ability to do this. If you manage this right, you protect your installed base, you allow people to continue down (their current) path. Then as you bring out products that skip a generation, you’ve got to have the courage to disrupt the market. And then you have to bring those two together as the best of both worlds. Think of it not as a router, or as a switch, or a server, or SDN; think of it as the architecture for the data center. We’re probably two to three years ahead of any competitor at being able to do this because the people who think you can get this from an Intel chip or a chip from Broadcom just don’t get it.

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