& cplSiteName &

Buying Into the New Cisco

Craig Matsumoto
12/11/2012
50%
50%

6:00 AM -- If it's true that tomorrow starts here, as the new Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) campaign claims, then which tomorrow is it?

Because on Monday, the same day Cisco launched that ad campaign, Pica8 Inc. announced a reference design combining a commodity switch with software-defined networking (SDN). For some people, that's the sort of development that hammers another nail into the traditional router's coffin.

So, while "tomorrow" could be the blossoming of Cisco into a whole new business, it could equally be the start of the SDN commoditization that some have predicted since they first heard about OpenFlow.

If it's the latter, Pica8 isn't even the start. Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) announced its own SDN-minded reference design, a switch called Seacliff Trail, in September.

It's no given that the existence of SDN means that all routers and switches commoditize down to zero. But if it does, Cisco's "tomorrow" offers a way out.

One thing separating Cisco from its rivals, to hear CEO John Chambers tell it, are its deep relationships with governments -- national and civic leaders. If Cisco really wants to sell more services into their big projects, such as smart highways and smart grids, maybe it should stockpile some technologies, or even some consulting knowledge, outside the traditional IT circles.

Whichever directions it heads in, Cisco seems intent on acquiring its way there, at least partially.

"We have gone too long without any major M&A," CEO John Chambers said during Friday's analyst day in New York. He said Cisco has left money on the table, turning down perhaps a 1 percent gain in revenues in recent years by not expanding its horizons. "You will see us more active in the M&A side."

Chambers is probably talking about acquiring more pieces like Meraki and NDS. But it would be telling if the company took a really bold step in some lateral direction. I don't even know what it takes to be a better urban planner, but if there's a way to merge that expertise with technology, maybe that's where the allegedly new Cisco ought to look.

That's a longshot, though. For all the talk of software and services, it's likely Cisco's moves still revolve around the preservation of the switch/router empire. Tom Nolle of CIMI Corp. has similar reservations; "the big risk for Cisco is continued self-delusion," he wrote Monday, in a blog entry about Cisco's machine-to-machine (M2M) aspirations.

— Craig Matsumoto, Managing Editor, Light Reading

(0)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
More Blogs from Craig's A-List
Already replaced as CEO, John Chambers is fully detaching as he plans to step down as Cisco chairman, truly ending his time as the face and voice of the company.
The network must be automated. And Light Reading must write about it.
Comcast joins Google in asking for a flexible-rate optical standard, rather than 400G or terabit, but that's easier said than done
Cisco, Juniper and other more traditional Interop speakers might get overshadowed by the forces of virtualization
The Open Networking Summit has climbed the hype curve, but the conference should cling to its roots as a techie discussion forum for software-defined networking
Featured Video
From The Founder
Light Reading is spending much of this year digging into the details of how automation technology will impact the comms market, but let's take a moment to also look at how automation is set to overturn the current world order by the middle of the century.
Flash Poll
Upcoming Live Events
October 18, 2017, Colorado Convention Center - Denver, CO
November 1, 2017, The Royal Garden Hotel
November 1, 2017, The Montcalm Marble Arch
November 2, 2017, 8 Northumberland Avenue, London, UK
November 2, 2017, 8 Northumberland Avenue London
November 10, 2017, The Westin Times Square, New York, NY
November 16, 2017, ExCel Centre, London
November 30, 2017, The Westin Times Square
May 14-17, 2018, Austin Convention Center
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
The Revolution Will Be Automated
Steve Saunders, CEO and founder, Light Reading, 10/10/2017
The Big Cable DAA Update
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 10/11/2017
Is US Lurching Back to Monopoly Status?
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 10/16/2017
Telecom Italia Covers 73% of Italy With NB-IoT
Iain Morris, News Editor, 10/13/2017
DT: Brutal Automation Is Only Way to Succeed
Iain Morris, News Editor, 10/10/2017
Animals with Phones
Hunt & Peck Click Here
Giving new meaning to hunt-and-peck typing!
Latest Comment
Live Digital Audio

Understanding the full experience of women in technology requires starting at the collegiate level (or sooner) and studying the technologies women are involved with, company cultures they're part of and personal experiences of individuals.

During this WiC radio show, we will talk with Nicole Engelbert, the director of Research & Analysis for Ovum Technology and a 23-year telecom industry veteran, about her experiences and perspectives on women in tech. Engelbert covers infrastructure, applications and industries for Ovum, but she is also involved in the research firm's higher education team and has helped colleges and universities globally leverage technology as a strategy for improving recruitment, retention and graduation performance.

She will share her unique insight into the collegiate level, where women pursuing engineering and STEM-related degrees is dwindling. Engelbert will also reveal new, original Ovum research on the topics of artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, security and augmented reality, as well as discuss what each of those technologies might mean for women in our field. As always, we'll also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air and chat board.

Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed