Cisco Buying Sun? – Cisco Announces It’s Move Into Server Business

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This past October I posted about Cisco getting into servers and compute.  I broke the news quietly but only a few handful of insiders got the message (GigaOm reported early in March 2008).   Word has been circulating on the street for many months on this announcement and it will sure have an impact on Cisco’s partners. Now it’s been finally announced.

What is now being kicked around is Cisco’s move to buyout Sun Microsystems.

What do you think?  Should Cisco buy Sun and really get into the server business?

The Quiet Tech War: Google vs Cisco – DNS Is The Internet Oxygen – Cisco Does Deal With Infoblox on DNS At The Edge Speaks Volumes

Network World is reporting that Cisco has done deal with Infoblox for managing DNS at the edge. In enterprise speak this is about the branch office – in tech speak this is about intelligent addressing and control of the edge. Infoblox vNIOS™ software for Cisco Integrated Services Routers (ISRs) empowers branch offices by automating core network services, providing the performance benefits of local service delivery with unparalleled resiliency and centralized visibility while reducing branch network capital and operating expenses.

Here is Yankee group perspective worth noting on this Cisco Infoblox announcement…“Remember the ‘Trapper Keeper?’ That’s what Cisco’s routers are becoming for enterprise branch office: a single place to keep all critical network applications and services,” says Phil Hochmuth, senior analyst at Yankee Group. “This is being enabled largely by the AXP, which allows organizations to cram as many services — even ones beyond Cisco’s own scope, such as Infoblox IP address management — onto a single platform.” …hmmm DNS in core and edge routers.. hmmm policy at the edge… interesting.

There is a bigger picture here. DNS is the small little Internet feature that will be the focal point for the upcoming Internet war between Google and networking vendors including Cisco. Why? DNS is the Internet Oxygen. DNS made Google – no DNS – no URLs; no URLs – no Web; no Web and URLs -no search. Here we go again except instead of web pages and search, we have web services up for grabs – that includes enterprise and cloud services.

Having a technology that is automated and programmable (i.e. policy) will gives the winner the viable solution to deliver the next generation search and application paradigm from advertising to brokering transactions.

Over the past 8 years insiders at Cisco have been debating the future of Cisco. Many back in 2000 were arguing internally at Cisco that they have to “move up the stack”. Well they never did it. In fact Cisco has been spending a ton of time rewriting IOS and figuring out what to do. Meanwhile back in 2000 a little growing company named Google was scaling their DNS offering (aka URL search) to take over the online advertising market. Now it’s apparent that Google has a mission in the cloud and networking space – they have been moving down the stack – right into Ciscoland.

This middle ground (Cisco moving up and Google moving down the stack) will be where the battle of the titans will take place. This feature from Cisco is an indicator of what the battle will be for.

Update: I just found out that this has not been officially announced yet. I believe it will be discussed here at this event in San Jose this week.

Cloud Doesn’t Work Well With Infrastructure Improvements – Expect Cisco to Follow Microsoft

Steve Ballmer has been rabid about the cloud lately. Here is a detailed interview with Ballmer on the cloud direction.

Everyone is talking about applications and OSs and mobility and IP everywhere… yet everyone assumes that the infrastructure will continue to simply take on unprecedented scale, complexity and availability challenges without a rethink.

Come on people the cloud is real and it needs to develop more. It’s still unstable. Expect the traditional network infrastructure players to follow suit – mainly Cisco. This might be a problem for Cisco to go after these adjacent markets and deviate off their core business. Why? Because Cisco has to grow and this is an area that Cisco could do well in.

The pundits need to get their heads out of the clouds and on to the infrastructure that will support all of this. Cloud will have to drive a new integration of management into infrastructure… yet only Microsoft, Google, Amazon etc are really talking about this… the networking players have been relatively silent. This is collaboration and virtualization and about every other initiative over the last ten years on steroids.

Expect the big player on the infrastructure side to get into this big time. Word has it that Cisco is going to get into compute side. If Cisco jumps into the compute cloud expect them to alienate their OEMs – hello Juniper this is an opportunity for you.

Valdiation For The Real Time Web – Cisco Weights In With Jabber and XMPP

Cisco just announced that they are buying Jabber. GigaOm has a post on it. What does this mean?  What big trend is this validating?

REAL TIME WEB – It’s a hedge against the so called Unified Communications sector.  Wait — it is Unified Communications.  Why?  XMPP

Jabber is based on Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP), the same protocol being used by several open-source IM implementations. Services like Twitter use XMPP. Jabber also operates with Google Talk, and with the AIM Gateway from Jabber, it can be used to communicate with AOL users. Jabber also communicates with users of Microsoft Windows Live Messenger and Yahoo Messenger.

All the major action going on revolves around these Jabber like markets – presence, virtualization, networking, live video, real time conversations (aka social media), social graphs…etc – This is a leading indicator of what is really going on… an infrastructure evolution – From DNS to the applications on the Iphone and everything in between.

Just this week at VMWorld things like Cisco’s Virtual Switch is a indicator.  Cisco has found a way around all that bothersome metal and plastic used to make its networking gear. The company has concocted a virtual switch that it’s selling in tandem with VMware, the leader in virtualization software and a close Cisco partner (says the NY Times).

How about Amazon’s recent announcement on their CDN.  Here Amazon announced a new content delivery offering under development that they expect to make widely available before the end of the year. While the initial content delivery offering won’t compete with the major CDNs like Akamai and Limelight when it is released, it has the potential to down the road if Amazon adds some specific product functionality.

Now Jabber – hmmm  – Hello Real Time Web or Unified Communications paradigm shift.

We are seeing a convergence of web 2.0 and infrastructure change that certainly is changing what people thought Unified Communications was 2 years ago.

Digital Video Dominating the Olympics Coverage – New Paradigm in Broadcasting Live Events

The amount of coverage at the Olypmics is significant and all of the video will be in digital. I found this podcast from Cisco that talks about the challenges from a network perspective.

The podcast is here.

I’m trying to get Cisco on the phone to go into detail about the provisioning and systems level design. This could be a benchmark for all live events.

The question that I have is will this be a new model in doing massive live events or just live events. There are many companies out there now doing Live video from Lifecasting to major broadcasters.

The only issue that I have with the Olympics is that the only player is Silverlight which isn’t exactly the standard in desktops. Google is also doing some work on the mobile side and videos on YouTube.

The new broadcasting paradigm needs to connect with a new set of users. This morning I asked my 11 year old if she want to watch the Olympics (either online or on TV) – she said that she’d rather go to the movies. Very telling.

Google Infrastructure – This is Big. Next up Google Space Station

Google is building their own network. Hell why not. With policy makers rearranging the deck chairs on net neutrality this is a great move for Google and for users.

Google is sequencing from search for content to provider of content in a fully integrated stack. Thinking outside the box I think that Cisco must be scared by this. In fact Cisco must be falling off their chair as Google gravediggers prepare their fate. Cisco has been failing for years to move up the stack. Now Google is moving down the stack.

This announcement is a big signal of where things are going.

Here is an old podcast that I did with Bob Pepper ex FCC policy chief and now at Cisco.