'Unified computing' and virtualization at the heart of Cisco's new data center push

Speculation that Cisco is preparing to launch new data center gear, including a new Cisco blade server system - codenamed California Server - to compete with those from IBM and HP, plus energy efficiency improvements across Cisco's switching portfolio - the Big Bang project - has resurfaced. Fuelling the speculation is a blog post by Cisco CTO Padmasree Warrior, who writes that Cisco's data center push is around 'unified computing' and virtualization.

She writes:

I am sure you have all read the blogs and reports in traditional media asserting that Cisco is going to enter new markets, compete for new business, and build new products.  The answer? Yes, Yes and Yes, of course!

She adds:

Yes, Cisco is innovating around an architectural approach we call “Unified Computing”.  Unified Computing is the advancement toward the next generation data center that links all resources together in a common architecture to reduce the barrier to entry for data center virtualization. In other words, the compute and storage platform is architecturally “unified” with the network and the virtualization platform.  What are the benefits in doing this? Virtualization architectures today are very much “assembly required” islands where the burden of systems integration is on the customer. This increases costs and deployment times while decreasing efficiency. Unified Computing eliminates this manual integration in favor of an integrated architecture and breaks down the silos between compute, virtualization, and connect. 

Some pundits are speculating that Cisco could be launching the California server as soon as next Monday. Meanwhile, the New York Times is reporting that "Cisco could show off the first of its new systems as early as March."

On the issue of a Cisco blade server going up against products from its partners, Warrior writes:

Yes, there are markets where Cisco will compete with a few of our current partners.  Cooperation among competitors in the tech industry is nothing new.  Our responsibility as leaders of the technology industry is to constantly pioneer new ways to enhance our customers’ IT needs.  This new environment will require even greater cooperation among major industry players.  Our customers expect that and we are committed to them.

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