Cisco Lights Up COMET
The company did make some progressive product announcements and said that orders for November met its forecasts, but the networking giant didn't change its overall financial guidance and said it still doesn't know if we've seen the bottom of the enterprise and telecom spending recession.
First, Cisco unveiled its Cisco Complete Optical Multi-service Edge and Transport, or "COMET," a clever renaming of the product group that previously made up its service provider business portfolio and some of its enterprise storage products. With the new strategy, Cisco appears to be embracing an idea that service providers and enterprises essentially are closing the gaps in their networks' differences.
"A lot of the requirements for service providers and enterprises in some areas, such as metro DWDM, are starting to look the same," says Jeff Santos, the senior director of marketing for Cisco's Photonics Business Unit.
Of course, not everyone agrees with that idea. In his keynote at the Lightspeed networking conference held in London on Thursday, Juniper Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: JNPR) CEO Scott Kriens argued that because the public networks are relied upon for both personal and national emergencies, they have very different requirements than that of a private enterprise -- namely, they can’t fail. ”These are not the same markets and they’re not the same standards,” he says.
On the products front, Cisco launched a new long-haul dense wavelength-division multiplexing (DWDM) product, the ONS 15808, a 2.5- and 10-Gbits/s box designed to address network spans up to 2,000 kilometers. Cisco also announced that Velocita Corp., one of the carriers it has helped finance, was going to be using the new product. The company wouldn't give details as to the size or scope of Velocita's commitment.
Though Velocita is a new company building a new network, Cisco insists that its long-haul boxes will appeal to older carriers and a variety of networks. "We're not asking carriers to change the way they build backbone networks. We are offering them a way to remove some costs," says Santos.
Cisco's ONS 15454 product continues to be the workhorse in the companies optical product family. The company boasts that it has shipped some 33,000 systems to 700 customers. Adding to the tally this week was Cisco's announcement that Williams Communications Group (NYSE: WCG) would be using the ONS 15454 in its metro access networks. Cisco wouldn't disclose how many systems Williams has bought or was planning to buy.
Other Cisco announcements this week included the completion of various levels of interoperability between Cisco's ONS 15540 and products or services from IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM), Metromedia Fiber Network Inc.(MFN) (Nasdaq: MFNX), and Compaq Computer Corp. (NYSE: CPQ). The company also introduced a new DWDM interface for its ONS 15200 products, allowing them to carry multiple data and storage services over the same optical fiber.
Cisco says the decision to put its products under the COMET umbrella was based on giving service providers and enterprises a single reference point for all their network needs. "It's all about providing service variety, density, and capacity at the metro edge," says Rob Koslowsky, the director of marketing for Cisco's optical networking group.
Cisco's announcements and positive momentum helped an already big tech stock rally this week. Cisco shares climbed from $19.85 to $21.54 (8.46%) between the end of trading Monday and the end of trading Wednesday.
— Phil Harvey, Senior Editor, Light Reading