Greg Ferro

Upcoming Events

Where the Cloud Touches Down: Simplifying Data Center Infrastructure Management

Thursday, July 25, 2013
10:00 AM PT/1:00 PM ET

In most data centers, DCIM rests on a shaky foundation of manual record keeping and scattered documentation. OpManager replaces data center documentation with a single repository for data, QRCodes for asset tracking, accurate 3D mapping of asset locations, and a configuration management database (CMDB). In this webcast, sponsored by ManageEngine, you will see how a real-world datacenter mapping stored in racktables gets imported into OpManager, which then provides a 3D visualization of where assets actually are. You'll also see how the QR Code generator helps you make the link between real assets and the monitoring world, and how the layered CMDB provides a single point of view for all your configuration data.

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A Network Computing Webinar:
SDN First Steps

Thursday, August 8, 2013
11:00 AM PT / 2:00 PM ET

This webinar will help attendees understand the overall concept of SDN and its benefits, describe the different conceptual approaches to SDN, and examine the various technologies, both proprietary and open source, that are emerging. It will also help users decide whether SDN makes sense in their environment, and outline the first steps IT can take for testing SDN technologies.

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Cisco’s Spending Spree: An Analysis

There is no coherent, companywide strategy in these acquisitions. Instead, we're seeing piecemeal deals struck by different business units as these units compete to grow within a shrinking and changing market. Cisco continues to look for more revenue and profits to keep its shareholders content, but when a company has more than 65% of network infrastructure marketplace, and gross margins of 65%, the only competition is really yourself. The fact is, Cisco is many fragmented businesses that compete with each other as much as external companies.

The Cariden acquisition shows that Cisco's Service Provider team understands the threat that software platforms pose to device sales. Having control of the incumbent software "controller" gives Cisco better control of the market.

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Cloupia boosts the existing orchestration tools for Cisco's server and virtualization team by adding decent automation for non-Cisco products. This also positions Cisco better in the VBlock /Flexpod market for converged orchestration.

Finally, Meraki will be used in the Borderless Networks team to provide cloud-hosted management services for resellers to pass on at cost plus 10%, and further undermine the reseller revenue of professional services.

It's worth noting that none of these acquisitions is all that large by Cisco standards. Yes, Meraki was picked up at a premium for $1 billion, but mostly in shares rather than cash. Cariden was a $141 million deal and Cloupia went for $125 million.

Compare those sums to March 2012, when Cisco acquired NDS for $5 billion. NDS offers "video software and content security solutions that enable service providers and media companies to securely deliver and monetize new video experiences" (whatever that means). Clearly, John Chambers' apparent fascination with video remains insatiable.

If there is one overarching theme to these acquisitions, it's software. Cisco's various business units are buying the expertise they need to build software products. Cisco has repeatedly failed to deliver acceptable software in the past--products like CS-Mars, Access Control Server, Java clients and Cisco Works have highlighted the poor quality of Cisco executive leadership when it comes to software. We'll have to see if the injection of new software developer blood will have a positive effect.

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