Cisco

Networks vs. Servers: The truce has ended, war is coming

There has long been an unofficial truce between networking vendors and server vendors. However, if you look at the recent actions of HP and Cisco, it's clear that truce has ended. See why, and how it could benefit IT.

There has long been an unofficial truce between networking vendors and server vendors. However, if you look at the recent actions of HP and Cisco, it's clear that truce has ended. See why, and how it could benefit IT.

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It all began when Mark Hurd took over as CEO at Hewlett-Packard. Hurd, looking for growth opportunities beyond PCs, servers, and printers, kick-started HP's ProCurve business unit.

ProCurve makes LAN, WAN, and wireless gear for powering networks and has long had a solid product line. However, until Hurd's arrival in 2005, HP wasn't aggressively pushing ProCurve, so it was never more than a blip on the radar of the networking market, which Cisco has thoroughly dominated for the past two decades.

Part of that was due to the fact that Hurd's predecessor, Carly Fiorina, sat on Cisco's board and developed a deep partnership with HP's Silicon Valley neighbor. During Fiorina's tenure, there were even times when HP reps pushed Cisco gear ahead of competitive ProCurve products.

Once Hurd arrived, he quietly put a stop to that, injected resources into ProCurve, and turned into a growth business. Since 2005, ProCurve has consistently been growing faster than the overall networking market and has been nibbling away market share from Cisco.

Now, the gloves are off. Cisco is preparing to launch a full frontal attack on one of HP's key markets: servers. Although nothing has been officially announced from Cisco, this is one of the worst-kept secrets in the technology business. ZDNet, The New York Times, GigaOm, The Register, Bloomberg, Network World, and lots of other publications have recently written about Cisco's imminent entrance into the server market.

Over the past five years, anyone who has listened to Cisco CEO John Chambers speak or watched the kinds of acquisitions that Cisco has been making - such as Webex, FiveAcross, PostPath, and Jabber - can see that Cisco has ambitions far beyond selling the switches that string together computers on corporate networks and the routers that connect networks and ISPs to the Internet.

At the same time we've watched Cisco expand its marketing beyond technology professionals to the mass market with its Human Network campaign, which has been clearly aimed at making the Cisco brand known to average consumers.

So it certainly shouldn't surprise anyone that Cisco is expanding into an adjacent market - one where it can apply its expertise in hardware and software and use its strong brand recognition among IT professionals to quickly grab market share - at a time when the server market is poised to expand with the growing strength of server-based applications, thin clients, and cloud computing.

That said, Cisco's move - combined with HP's unyielding expansion in networking - is likely to set off a chain of events that will not only pit these two as major rivals but also draw server vendors IBM and Dell into the fray. Dell is already toying with lower-end networking products and IBM could easily acquire its way into the networking market, perhaps by buying the networking division of Nortel (which is currently entrenched in bankruptcy).

Cisco has previously had strong partnerships with HP, IBM, and Dell, which led to a tacit truce in which the server vendors stuck to servers and Cisco kept its focus squarely on the network. All bets are off now.

Naturally, Cisco is downplaying the significance of its entrance into servers. Cisco CTO Padmasree Warrior told The New York Times, "We see this not as a new market, but a market transition. Any time there is a major transition occurring, there will be large companies that have to compete in some areas."

However, Brent Bracelin, an analyst for Pacific Crest Securities, thinks Cisco's entrance in the server market will be a major development. "This will be the most important and most talked-about product of the year. There will be massive competitive reactions from both IBM and HP, and we expect this will lead to a new wave of industry consolidation."

The real end-game: Utility computing

The end of the servers-networking truce was inevitable as servers became more utilitarian and networking gear got faster and smarter. Ultimately, the two are powered by similar hardware and software platforms. And since Cisco and Hewlett-Packard are public companies that need to grow every year in order to keep shareholders happy, that means expanding into new markets. So it's natural that

Nevertheless, if you were to look at Cisco's move into servers and simply think, "Okay, Cisco wants to jump into a new market so that it can tap another revenue stream," you'd be missing the forest by staring at the trees. Both Cisco's ambitions and the forces transforming the data center are much larger than that.

What Cisco will likely announce this spring will be blade servers powered by virtualization. In a rare statement on the subject, Cisco recently told Bloomberg, "Right now, we have virtualized local area networks, virtualized storage and virtualized servers. The challenge is integrating the management of those systems so they all work seamlessly. We think the network is the logical place to solve that challenge."

So what Cisco is talking about is a common hardware platform with networking, servers, and storage all abstracted into a virtualized layer of software that can work together flawlessly, be managed centrally, and easily failed over to redundant systems or locations for fault tolerance and disaster recovery.

There's another term for this: Utility computing. It's the idea that server systems will no longer need to be managed as a set of boxes, but instead as a pool of virtualized resources. These resources can be scaled up or scaled down as needed and will be used mainly by large service providers. Then companies and IT departments can simply buy the capacity that they need from the service providers instead of having to build out for maximum capacity and then allowing a lot of extra capacity to go unused most of the time.

"Our vision is, 'how do we virtualize the entire data center?'" said Cisco's Padmasree Warrior. "It is not about a single product. We will have a series of products that enable us to make that transition."

Like others, Cisco sees the potential to save a lot of money and energy use for lots of companies by implementing utility computing. There's also the potential to make a lot of money because computing power is moving away from PCs and toward servers. Applications and storage are migrating to "the cloud" (powered by the data center), while low-cost Netbooks and other Intel Atom-powered machines are expected to dominate PC sales in the years ahead. That will make PC profit margins razor thin while driving up the demand for high-powered servers (with much better profit margins).

Cisco knows that utility computing represents a huge market opportunity and believes that it has the expertise to be a leader in that market. Plus, it doesn't want to relegated to doing just the network plumbing to connect systems within data centers and across the Internet. But HP, IBM, and Dell have their eyes on the same data center prize. They all know that utility computing will power both the Web-based apps of cloud computing and tomorrow's adaptive enterprise data center. That's why we should fully expect to see a battle royal among the big four starting this year.

About

Jason Hiner is the Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He is an award-winning journalist who writes about the people, products, and ideas that are revolutionizing the ways we live and work in the 21st century.

54 comments
issy_3
issy_3

Just like what?s going on in the financial market today (greed) Have you heard of Jack of all trade master of none otherwise they will lose track and identity Cisco should stick with what they are know best which is networks and leave servers for HP Dell and IBM I guess it?s all about the Benjamin?s

sysop-dr
sysop-dr

Didn't we move away from mainframe computing a while ago? If I wanted to virtualize my computing and have it all on one box I would buy an IBM Mainframe and be done with it. The idea of even thinking about putting our companies servers into another companies virtual server space is just a laugh as well. These companies can't keep their systems secure and the idea of allowing an external company with employees that may not have the proper security clearance have access to our data is just crazy. And physical security is the first step of network security. Would we be able to put our armed guards in front of all doors into their computer room? Not going to happen. The technology is nice but with current issues with network security there is no way anyone should take the chance with putting any proprietary or higher security data in anyone but their own systems. Preferably isolated and fire-walled within their own corporate network (which is also fire-walled from the internet.)

hyperborean99
hyperborean99

The man raves heavily on about "Utility Computing" and then asks us if we would buy a CISCO SERVER ??? WHY would we do that ??? We just buy capacity from the UTILITY. So the heralds of the new world order are still stuck in the old, and maybe don't believe what they are saying. ANd should we trust the "UTILITY" , do we really thing our other "UTILITIES" are giving us a great deal ??? How many regulatory agencies are there to control these animals ??? So we want to go that way ??? It sounds nice and easy, but it might be worse. More thought is required.

shornsby
shornsby

IBM, & HP have had it all too easy. Cisco's intentions will surely run riot in the boardrooms and corridors of the BIG 2..!! Cisco should keep prices down, but bundle in everything else IBM or HP dont offer as standard... The wait is intense....

moabrunner
moabrunner

I think Cisco is great, but who can afford it?? They will be priced twice as much as other servers if they stick to their current model.

PhilippeV
PhilippeV

Given the very bad shape of HP, it will not resist to Cisco. Cisco can certainly make servers (and is free to use any OS that is convenient for its purposed marked, such as file servers as appliances, or media servers... HP is loosing much moeny with its variosu PC sales divisions, and does not have the technology to compte very well with Cisco if there's a price war (HP lacks too many technolgies and has to pay expensive licences, including with its "partnership" with Microsoft). Now with netbooks and smart phones, Cisco has another clear advantage with mobile networking technologies, and its many partnerships with ISPs and Telcos worlwide. Cisco controls the infrastructure, it can adapt it with the technologies he wants, and can promote on it the standards he wants because it will be widely and rapidly deployed. I've not seen any significant improvement in networking techologies by HP that must buy everything. Only IBM or Intel could seriously rival Cisco (but Intel is embarassed in its alliance with Microsoft, which is clearly loosing feet now in the business of servers and in its enterprise deployment, when you can see that Unix/Linux is winning more places, including in most adminitrations worldwide, that employ a lot of people and are now pushing their workers and citizens to adopt open software technologies.) HP does not even have any good software solutions (its servers are antiquited, and there's no good long term future in building PCs, except in low-cost markets of Asia, with little ROI elsewhere in marketing it). The power and money lives now clearly in the network and in the data that it transports (that's also a place where Goole successes a lot, as it controls the information). So who will stay in the future? Those that build and control the network infrastructures and make it evolve to support more contents, those that transport the information with good returns in terms of monthly billings of billions of customers, and those that allow accessing this information by organizing it. For a more longer term, this will be those that create the information (media producers, content owners, knowledge databases...) or create value with it (training...), but for now the traditional big medias have severe problems and will continue to have until they realize that their interest is in promoting their content on the network (but they should recover rapidly if they make alliances with transporters, i.e. ISPs and Telcos, so that the content will be billed monthly and will have value only if its interactive and requires a network connection: the game producers have already realized it!) and that's a place where Cisco is also taking some grounds now. The loosers will be the OS vendors (and HP is also one of them), because the OS becomes an utility with little value in itself. Fro the rest of the technology markets, there will remain the two big chip makers (Intel and AMD), that will invest moer in mobile hardware (Will Nokia resist?) What can Cisco do now? Even if a price war starts in networking equipements, there's a resistance in the domain of technology licences: this is not just a question of hardware (which is also becoming an utility). What will happen there is the same as in the market of PCs and peripherals. We are going to more intensive concentration with 2 or 3 leaders in each segment: two chip makers (AMD and Intel) driving all the other ones (working in niche markets like expensive medical equipement and imagery); 2 or 3 graphic chip makers (AMD, NVidia, and may be Intel), 2 or 3 ISPs/Telcos per country (they are generaing the most massive revenues in Europe, North America, Japan, and BRIC); only one web search engine ? Not sure, because users will want better contents no the net that match their desires and give them access to it (national Telcos and ISPs could gain once again their share as they have local alliances with media producers, and also have good penetration in homes for the delivery and service of products sold online). We are also returning to the age where fundamental needs will have more value (energy, food, distribution, health and even housing): the computing industry will become a subsidiary service for these market drivers, because these fundamental needs are permanent and they are almost immune to severe collapse risks (and they are less impacted by competition): this permanent need generates a permanent need for renewing the products regularly and this is what the network will allow them to continue and promote.

Amathar
Amathar

Cisco would be wading into a "war" on numerous fronts. VMware, Microsoft, Sun all have strong interests in that area. I think that kind of "taking on the world" strategy would make shareholders far too nervous unless partnerships were in place to support it. I think a partnership with a virtualisation vendor makes sense - they can acheive the utility computing goal without entering into the full-blown OS support market.

TheSwabbie
TheSwabbie

Cisco has almost "type cast" themselves into the Networking role. I put them hands down as one of the best and most robust networking products. However, I have to say I kinda balk at thinking about a Cisco server. Whereas I believe HP could easily stick it toes into the Networking market... They are already known for Printers and other devices. Cisco got stuck where its at now. I would not buy server acreage from a service provider. I want boxes onsite. I do NOT trust just anyone to manage my servers. You start putting your golden eggs in someone else's basket you're asking for trouble.

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

Why not just purchase a *nix server?

bob_bernard
bob_bernard

The reports that Cisco is planning to invade the domain of the server companies has to have greater significance than just server sales, which doesn't fit Cisco's traditional skim-pricing business model. This article quotes its CTO as suggesting far more lofty expectations, nothing less than a "grand unified field theory" of IT, and products to support it. The big cloud/virtualization idea sounds really desirable, until you consider the security implications. An organization shouldn't never entrust its information life, more and more tied to its corporate existence, to services based on such a hazardous concept, not with the security of the internet at its current or even dreamed-of lower risk state. Imagine what damage a customer company would incur if Cisco's virtualized cloud was hacked. Remember the old saying about a pilot landing with gear up; it's never if, but when.

fvc
fvc

Interesting, but how about Technical support. I have had the misfortune dealing with Cisco Tech support. Outsourcing tech support to India has been a problem. I do not dealing with them. They are difficult to understand and it takes forever...

RichFL1
RichFL1

Timely, topical, well focused - worthwhile read.

jmarkovic32
jmarkovic32

Now IT professionals will have to get Cisco certifications once Cisco has brainwashed employers into believing that seasoned server admins won't be able to configure a Cisco server without a mutli-thousand dollar Cisco certification. And soon we'll have to get Cisco Certified Server Hardware Professional (CCSHP) certifications just to pass the HR keyword filter. But I digress... I've long since abandoned most Cisco hardware in my environment. I'm vendor agnostic but HP Procurve is just the better deal for SMB. Why? Mostly because of the quality hardware, but the Lifetime NBD replacement warranty seals the deal. Seriously, anyone who has their network infrastructure running on Procurve knows that SMARTNET is for dummies.

daileyml
daileyml

If Cisco can deliver a server platform that seamlessly integrates with the switching platform for application optimization, QoS, traffic engineering, etc. It would definitely be a product worth looking in to. I can see major benefits in extending the switching logic to the server platform. However, and I could certainly be wrong here, isn't this the sort of thing Microsoft was blasted for with the integration of IE in to Windows? I know, apples and oranges comparison, but isn't this the same type of thing that got MS in to hot water? Unless Cisco offered this type of advanced server/switch integration technology as an open standard it could be used as the basis of a monopoly/unfair competition claim, could it not?

chrisman.kyle
chrisman.kyle

A Cisco / Google partnership would be lethal in the industry. Whatever the focus they decide on is (VM, bare metal, etc.) I really hope they forgo Microsoft as a whole and adopt a mainstream Linux distribution such as RHEL or Suse. And for those who don't want to use that they should allow for alternatives such as CentOS. That combination would make Cisco more of a success. The main thing IMO is to keep Microsoft out of the picture as much as possible from an OS perspective. Cisco has the only real potential to pose as real competition for the boys in Redmond. This would help stimulate the economy if they can undercut the competition instead of inflating it with "support contracts" few ever use thanks to in house certified techs. They should call it The Gibson. Cisco has the potential to become the next Cray and HP all in one house. I for one would buy them and openly support them.

gary
gary

The cozy relationship among CEOs helps to explain why monopolies thrive and anti-trust laws are rarely enforced for the consumer's benefit.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Do they have a product yet? I'd focus on systems for virtualization hosting and so-called 'cloud computing'. Things that keep Redmond awake at night: a Cisco / Google partnership.

triniweb
triniweb

I think that the Cisco market direction is suited for expansion of the server "appliance" solutions, I have seen little to think they would be as successful or even seen as an attractive prospect for a full server market. Could it be that a Cisco Server VM appliance is in the works or are some manufacturer acquisitions being planned

howlingengines
howlingengines

Assuming the world economy eventually rights itself , what are the medium-term market needs in India/China etc? I suspect not exactly what we require in the West.Will they evolve along their own path , or , more likely leapfrog straight into a western 21st century model ( as happened , partially , in eastern Europe)?

mile
mile

They say it even in SouthPark: "Sometimes partnerships meed to end" I support Cisco in their new business strategy

steven.bamford
steven.bamford

Many companies express grandiose visions but whether this will actually be achieved is another story that time will tell. They are helped of course by brand name but naturally people are sceptical about new entrants to new markets. If they do follow through with proven reliability, they may start to win hearts.

wdewey@cityofsalem.net
wdewey@cityofsalem.net

Basically to get away from physical connections and provide more centralized management of virtual resources. The article did not specify if Cisco would be providing an OS or if they were simply providing the hardware and environment (could be seen as something similar to ESX server from VMWare but extending into the network more). If Xen can do vlans then something similar may be possible with a *nix server, but it would take a lot of engineering and I am still not certain that it would work correctly. It defiantly wouldn't have the management pieces without some additional software development. Bill

jdclyde
jdclyde

did it mention the OS the servers would be running? I would think any company that wants to sell servers would be intelligent enough to offer ALL options?

TheSwabbie
TheSwabbie

I'm with you there brother. Its frustrating enough to try to understand someone who fluently speaks your language talking you through issues but add that in.. its a nightmare. Because of the economic climate we've seen the last few years I have BIG BUGS to pick with any company who outsources. Compaq use to have fantastic service - then it went to hell, or should I say "overseas".

wdewey@cityofsalem.net
wdewey@cityofsalem.net

There is enough competition in the field that Cisco could not force people to go to this platform. With Microsoft there was not enough competition. Bill

Forum Surfer
Forum Surfer

Would you want to exclude a giant like Microsoft? If you rule out SQL, Sharepoint and other Microsoft apps you are automatically eliminating a huge number of customers. Doesn't sound like a good business plan IMO. Even if they could topple Microsoft...have you ever dealt with Cisco licensing and smartnet? It makes Microsoft license management sound appealing. Like others have saif, they should remain OS-agnostic and leave options open to customers on both sides of the fence. I'm betting they'll end up selling an overpriced Intel box with your choice of *nix or windows server installed. And of course a line of price blade solutions. I'd be surprised to see anything all that different than what hp, dell and countless others already offer.

garnerl
garnerl

What's funny about that view is that servers are deployed to run applications of some sort. Cisco (and anyonw) would be truly foolish to create hardware that prohibits companies from running SQL Server and Exchange. They'd be almost as foolish to specifically exclude Linux and real Unix. Their best approach is to be OS-agnostic.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

A Cisco / Google partnership would be big enough to market its own distribution, and already has name recognition among consumers. What's the OS Google's using on its phones, Android or something? Isn't that Linux-based? If so, some of the work is already done. Geez, I wonder if we can post enough on the subject to start investor buzz and affect their stock prices? You heard it hear first...

brian
brian

We've all seen good/great quality server manufacturers get washed out (Digital, Compaq,....) The longer standing brand with proven reliability has them now. Cisco's entry into the server market would be no more than a rebranding of someone else's hardware, not anything new or different. Servers are being commoditized into a "cloud." Non-fat Vanilla yogurt has more flavor than this generic data center plan. If we want our servers local to us, we'll either part them together ourselves for cost savings, or buy from an upper end, trusted and established brand. Cisco won't fit into either one of these categories. They won't beat SuperMicro on low end stuff, and they have no hope of direct compete with the high end server market. No one would make a 5 year plan with the possibility of this late entrant even staying the course. If Cisco really wanted to leapfrog everyone into the cloud, then they should purchase Sun Microsystems and fill it with Sunfire and E10k type servers. "The computer is the network" and "the network is the computer" merge to become "The computer and the network are one." (TM) Think about it!

ora_apps_dba_y
ora_apps_dba_y

If you look at Cisco's track record, they have always been very good at moving into the right market at the right time. Cisco's acquisitions have almost always turned out right (compared to HP's acquisitions). In addition, Cisco has been very stable when it comes to the CEO (John Chambers) and top management (vs. the turmoils at HP) and that is a very important component when you consider the rough waters ahead.... Sun was too late getting into the lower end and held on to Solaris too long, and IBM got out of the server market without a fight. I also believe Cisco's cash reserves are a-plenty and the one who has both the muscle and the will to hold on will win.

jeff.mott
jeff.mott

None of us knows for certain what a "server" from Cisco will look like. For all we know, it could be an IBM box in the inside with Cisco on the outside. HP did the same with storage a few years ago. They took a storage array from Hitachi and rebranded it with some HP intelligence and called it an XP Storage Array. There's not much in the way of innovation of technology when you have a business partnership like HP/Hitachi or Cisco/????. Only good business decisions. I predict Cisco is doing the same. I think they will partner with another server vendor and market that new product as a Cisco server.

Not that we need more servers and server types to contend with but how much of this will be Cisco proprietary software and OS? I now pay a lot of money to Cisco for SmartNet and related services. Is the same going to happen with servers? Will they play nice with Microsoft/Linux servers or will we see a Cisco only environment? Are they really going to be something different or just Intel inside? The real product here is the Network Operating System, which will be all Cisco, and I am sure very complex. Bigger revenue stream I guess so. Better than VMware at running servers and protecting data and resources, we will just have to see. The Cisco servers we have now are just HP?s in a different box.

stewagd
stewagd

Are we moving back to the days of mainframe computing, where one, central MIS controls access to resources and users login through dumb terminals? In a way, yes (IMNSHO) and, in a way, there's nothing wrong with that (again, IMNSHO). The old MIS management structure of the 1960's and early 70's had advantages over the modern "IT" structure: resource capitalization, consistency, security, cost-benefit, and built-in redundancy, among them. It also had some serious drawbacks and deep flaws; a lack of flexibility and a lack of growth potential, among them. Still, the idea of utility server computing and "The Cloud" can't help but remind one of the days when MIS controlled every clock cycle and the lads and ladies in white coats ran the data centers. The PC revolution is over... and we lost.

road-dog
road-dog

Cisco is currently using HP manufactured platforms under the Cisco label for their voice over IP systems. I suspect that Cisco will make the transition, at least as relates to servers supporting their VOIP offerings. I installed 12 HP Procurve switches in the last month and I'll tell you I'd rather drop in a Cisco PoE switch any day. The Procurves have something hinky going on where they will see themselves on CDP. You look at the front of the switch and three or so ports show link and traffic with no cable connected. Bounce the switch and it goes away, for a while.... If a customer cannot afford Cisco, they can't afford me....

seanferd
seanferd

rather than what this development will do for the market in general. I was hoping to see more opinion in that regard. Guess I'll have to check back later. :)

Forum Surfer
Forum Surfer

They get by in networking by having a superior product with unparalleled support...providing you have a fat wallet. This won't fly in the server world because regardless of how good your hardware is, you're still running *nix or windows server. It's not like their networking equipment and proprietary IOS. I'm not paying $20000 for a server running windows server that has Cisco's name on it if I can have the same capabilities from Dell or HP for $15k less. I'll go before management and argue Cisco vs HP on the networking end any day of the week. But I can't see myself doing that for servers if there's the same price premium. However, if they come up with some VM Ware type solutions that are prepackaged and priced nicely that come with support on par with their network support, then I may look at it seriously. But how often does anyone actually use server support? I have the occasional hard drive failure and that's it. So support for me is a priority, but if it's a huge premium I will have my doubts as t it's value. I am curious to see their products either way. I'll definitely arrange a trip to one of their tech centers to see it in action regardless of price.

jmarkovic32
jmarkovic32

Cisco's "a network ain't a network unless it's running Cisco" marketing brainwash tactics won't fly in this economy. Unless their support costs are in line with HP, Dell, IBM and Sun, they'll crash and burn. They simply don't have the mindshare in the server market. They'll probably just create another certification program that puts "Engineers" (Cisco marketing drones) on the streets that turn their companies into "Cisco shops" (because it's the only thing they know). That's Cisco's only hope.

bulldurn
bulldurn

Nothing is said about the cost... Was not Cisco's pricing the cause of some of HP's success? Will Cisco compete in the market price-wise? With today's economy, money is very tight. Will Cisco be allowed to "come out and play"?

BlazNT2
BlazNT2

One of my big worries here would be the cost of drivers for your server. I have had big problems getting anything from Cisco. You must have log on with paid warranty to fix a know issue. Cisco and I dont really see eye to eye on this.

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

What value are they going to add? Why not just use my managed switches, routers, and existing servers? I've already got my Citrix farm up and running, why should I start the migration? Why not *nix or Windows? Why would I want some overly complicated server structure (if their current router/switch IOSs are any indication)... No reason not to enter the market, I'm just not sure WHY I would buy it...

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

Why wouldn't they use a Linux kernel? I've no idea what Cisco is going to do, but I really don't get it...It seems like a rough thing to do...

jmarkovic32
jmarkovic32

Based on Cisco's current business model: --You'll need a Cisco certification just to understand Cisco's terminology --You'll have to pay for a SMARTNET contract just for OS updates and patches. --It will be more expensive than the competition. Cisco will turn Linux into a more frustrating and expensive alternative to Windows Server.

Forum Surfer
Forum Surfer

CCNA's and CCNP's are hardly drones. You can't get those qualifications without having a good grip on networking. Sure, the focus is on Cisco products but the knowledge gained can be applied however you see fit. If you've ever worked with a CCNP I can't see where you would refer to that person as a "drone." Those guys have a vast networking knowledge in general. Sure, they know the Cisco product line up and down but they are far from "drones."

alain.peraux
alain.peraux

Eventually Cisco will have to endorce new price-tactics to keep up with HP and the likes. Up to now they were sole master of their universe, which is now getting populated by others, maybe not as sofisticated but that's a matter of time... I wonder what the learning academies will be in the near future...

jdclyde
jdclyde

as cisco got where it is now by purchasing much of the technology as it goes along. If they can hurt HP on one front, it will weaken them on another. Maybe it is just to get HP to pull back out of the switch market?

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

As in, "Who would benefit from distro with Google and Cisco's names on it?" Google and Cisco, of course.

Forum Surfer
Forum Surfer

Don't give them any ideas! And you thought Microsoft licensing was a nightmare!

daileyml
daileyml

as they are called are easy to get, agreed, but 20 minutes in a meeting room with someone that knows their stuff and the paper shows through. I'm a CCNP/CCDP and I do recommend solutions other than Cisco when its warranted. I would never recommend ProCurve switches in the Data Center, for example, as they simply do not have the track record that Cisco has in that area. Is that biased? No, not if I'm looking out for my customer/clients best interests. I've used ProCurve in the Data Center before and regretted it within time. I'll temper this by saying that this is merely my experience; it doesn't mean you had the same results. As anyone with a cert we are paid for our experience, so mileage may vary.

jmarkovic32
jmarkovic32

I'm a CCNP. I wasn't insulting their intelligence. I called them "marketing drones". I've never met a Cisco certified professional that didn't suggest anything outside of Cisco equipment even if alternatives like Procurve would be better for the customer. They usually go with what they know or what they're comfortable with. This works out well for Cisco. The same is true of other vendor-specific certifications. They're more of a money-making/marketing stunt by the likes of Microsoft and Cisco to increase their marketshare. Edit: By the way, anyone off the streets can pay $3k for a two week bootcamp and get a Cisco certification. Seriously.

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