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Cisco, Juniper Ready Data Center Assault

Sources say long-anticipated products from Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) and Juniper Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: JNPR) are now imminent as both companies try to boost their standing in the data center.

Cisco's Catalyst 6500 might be getting too old for the task, some analysts say. And Juniper's lack of an enterprise switch in general has kept it out of this market.

Cisco is readying the long-awaited successor to its Catalyst 6500, a supposed series of products called DC3. The first box, reportedly to be announced soon, will be a high-end version targeting the data center with promises of high-density 10 Gbit/s Ethernet.

"Soon" has an intriguing ring to it. Sources say the DC3 likely won't surface until January or February. But Cisco is holding a worldwide press and analyst gathering on December 11 in San Jose, Calif. That would make a tempting venue to launch a new platform, notes one source.

Talk of major Cisco products has floated for the past several months, and Cisco tipped its hand a bit in August. Executives on an earnings call confessed they've got an edge router and a new switch -- the latter presumably being DC3 -- in the works. (See Cisco Drops New Product Hints.) Details of the new boxes haven't come to light, however.

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