Is Insieme nigh?

Customers being briefed, competitors offering industry insights on Cisco spin-in as launch approaches

Is Insieme imminent? Sources say Cisco's been briefing customers on it and competitors are gearing up for it, pitching commentary on what it might mean for the industry, and competition between Cisco and VMware/Nicira.

Insieme is believed to be building programmable 100G Ethernet switches and a controller for programming those switches. The switches are expected to have the capability to weave in virtualized storage and compute, positioning them as the foundation of a network-based IT fabric.

[SOME CLUES: What to look for in network fabrics]

We've been expecting a Q3 launch, and we're quickly coming to a close on Q2. Also, Cisco has some significant news on tap for the Cisco Live conference later this month - might Insieme factor into that?

Cisco declined to comment. Anyway, things seem to be heating up.

Meanwhile, Cisco has a new No. 3 competitor in Ethernet switching: Dell leapfrogged Juniper to take the No. 3 spot in Q1 market share, according to Dell'Oro Group.

At just over $5 billion, the worldwide market for overall Layer 2/3 switching was up less than 2% from a year ago, but down 8% from Q4 2012, according to Dell'Oro. The first quarter is usually seasonally soft for Ethernet switching, analysts say.

Dell saw no such softness, however. The company's share has steadily risen over the past five quarters to 2.8% in Q1, up from 1.9% in Q1 of 2012 and 2.4% in Q4. Juniper saw its share remain relatively flat compared with Q1 and Q4 of last year, at 2.4%, but Dell'Oro notes Juniper had "record 1Q revenue" as well.

Cisco gained about 2 percentage points in Q1 from Q4 - 67.7% from 65.9% -- yet saw its share slip one percentage point from Q1 of last year. At 10.9%, HP lost .6% share from Q4 but gained .4% from last year.

Huawei lost almost two-thirds of its market share in Q1 from Q4: 1.1% vs. 3.2%. Huawei also lost half of the market share it had in Q1 of 2012.

Brocade was flat with Q1 and Q4 of last year, at 1.5%.

In other Cisco news, TiVo announced that it will receive a $490 million patent litigation settlement from Cisco and Google. Cisco, Google and Time Warner Cable will also license TiVo technology in exchange for dropping all pending litigation.

Cisco sued TiVo a year ago to invalidate DVR patents TiVo was seeking to enforce from sales of Cisco's Scientific-Atlanta cable set top boxes. TiVo countersued shortly thereafter.

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