Cisco data center chief discusses hottest topics

John McCool talks about trends, new architectures, FCoE ramp but not Alpine

John McCool, Cisco's senior vice president and general manager for the Data Center Switching and Services Group, recently spent some time with Network World to discuss recent trends and market drivers in data center networking. The full interview can be found here, but some of the salient points he discussed were:

  • Changes in the data center switching market precipitated by virtualization, storage/compute convergence, 10G Ethernet, etc.;
  • Why customers should buy a blade server from a networking company like Cisco, rather than a switch for a blade server company;
  • The company's plans to address cloud security and disaster recovery;
  • The role of Cisco's MDS FibreChannel SAN switching line as customers migrate to FCoE; and whether Nexus will eventually subsume all of the storage connectivity capabilities of the MDS;
  • And how Cisco is accelerating it services push for the data center opportunity, both internally and through partners. In this regard, McCool would not comment on the recent speculation that Cisco and EMC, and perhaps VMware, and entering into a joint venture, code named Alpine, for data center installation and integration services.

There are reports circulating that an announcement on Alpine could come this week -- indeed, Network World received a pitch from a Cisco data center partner's PR firm asking if we'd like that partner's perspective on the "announcement." We started asking a few preliminary questions before agreeing to talk with the partner -- like, what announcement? -- and the e-mails from their PR firm suddenly ceased...  

McCool was also mum on the probability of Cisco's Unified Computing System eventually integrating a storage array. The Alpine joint venture is believed to be working on this.

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