Are We Surprised Cisco Will Build Cloud Computing Servers to Compete With HP, Dell, et al?
Posted by Bob Warfield on January 20, 2009
A fascinating article from the NY Times just hit Techmeme. It’s all about how Cisco is planning to start building servers. To be precise, servers equipped with virtualization software.
The article expresses some surprise at this move, but it seems terribly obvious now that the news is out. After all, there is already a move afoot to create Cloud Servers. These a stripped down machines best suited to doing nothing but being the commoditized ubiquitous guts of some massive Cloud data center where there will be thousands of them. The emphasis will be on reliability and cost efficiency. I’ve likened the advantages of such highly standard machines to the business advantage Southwest Airlines gets by standardizing all of their aircraft as 737’s. Companies like Google have already seen the light and taken these steps.
When you look at a server not as a complex machine optimized for maximum performance, but as an interchangeable box optimized for value and low cost of ownership, doesn’t it suddenly sound a lot more like the boxes Cisco has traditionally been making? Don’t they know a lot about how to do that sort of thing? And what did we think was inside those Cisco network boxes anyway? Surprise, they’re mostly just computers with special software. Cisco already has a huge leg up on how to do this stuff.
Mind you, these boxes are not strictly for the Cloud, but the vision of highly standardized corporate datacenters where the important thing about the machines is virtualization and efficiency more than absolute maximum throughput is pretty much what the Cloud wants anyway.
It’s going to be interesting to watch, but this isn’t the first or the last time that the Cloud will change the dynamics of the marketplace.