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Cisco Rocks the Server Party

It's St. Patrick's Day, so there must be a party somewhere. (Keep in mind that we're writing from suburban Boston, where the party just sort of rages on all around us this time of year.) And who likes to rock the party? Cisco does, apparently.

Not content with being an absolute monster in networking hardware, Cisco is now...a server company. Or at least a provider of blade servers for big datacenters, meaning the company is now in competition with the likes of HP, IBM and Dell in that space.

Keith Ward, editor of Virtualization Review, offers a more comprehensive analysis here than your editor could ever hope to create, so you'll just have to click Keith's story if you really want to know more about this announcement.

From what we at RCPU can tell, Cisco figured it was time to branch out into something new, as pretty much every company is well-stocked on stuff like routers and switches these days. So Cisco is going for the old Microsoft approach of integration, calling its offering the Cisco Unified Computing System (that's UCS, in case you needed another set of initials in this industry) and touting storage management and, well, networking as part of the deal.

As Keith explains, it's all underpinned by virtualization, which more or less can turn one server into many servers, as you know, and can exponentially increase scalability and help cut the costs of running a big datacenter. Of course, Cisco isn't the only company doing this kind of thing, and it's just getting into the blade server business for the time being.

But we like having another company rocking the server party. Cisco's got a big list of partners lined up, including Microsoft and VMware, so channel players who aren't currently Cisco partners might be able to wedge themselves into this business somewhere. Beyond that, more companies in a market mean more innovation and, possibly, lower costs as a result of cheaper prices. It might sound -- it might be -- cliché, but it's still true. So, Cisco, welcome to the party. It's about time you got here.

What's your take on Cisco's server play? Share it at lpender@rcpmag.com.

Posted by Lee Pender on March 17, 2009 at 11:55 AM