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Cisco Sets Sights on Switches

Cisco is planning to boost its data center story with the launch of new switches and storage technology, according to execs at the firm's annual analyst conference in New York today.

The vendor is planning to launch easy-to-use networking switches with virtualization features sometime this year, according to Charlie Giancarlo, Cisco's chief development officer. Although he did not go into specifics, Giancarlo promised that the switches will benefit from what he described as "automated services provisioning," which is essentially easy configuration. Users, he added, are looking "to use no more than a screwdriver" to configure their switches.

Cisco's future offerings will also cover "the new storage switch market," according to Giancarlo, who says the firm is extending its blade portfolio to encompass both fabric switches and director technologies. "We think that we're in the middle of redefining a very large marketplace."

At least one analyst thinks that this move will plug a gap in the Cisco product family. "The thing that seems to be missing at the moment is a Fibre Channel switch that will slot into a blade server," says Tam Dell'Oro, founder and president of analyst firm the Dell'Oro Group. "They don't have that within their portfolio."

Nonetheless, storage was one of the highlights in Cisco's recent quarterly results, with fourth quarter storage revenues rising more than 65 percent year over year, thanks to the performance of the company's new 4-Gbit/s 528-port MDS 9513 Director, as well as traction in the fabric switching market. (See Cisco Reports Q4, Cisco Goes 4-Gig & Big, and EMC Certifies Cisco Director.)

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