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Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Cisco Challenges HP, IBM With Unified Computing

Cisco today unveiled an open ecosystem of partners to accelerate the market adoption of Unified Computing, an new data center architecture which unites compute, network, storage access, and virtualization resources in a single system.

John Chambers, the chief executive of Cisco, unveiled the shift into an area dominated until now by HP and IBM. Cisco's move into building blade servers is part of its Unified Computing System (UCS), a next-generation data center platform for corporations seeking to boost efficiency and save energy costs.

Cisco highlighted its collaboration with data center industry leaders including Accenture, BMC Software, EMC Corp., Intel, Microsoft and VMware. These companies will offer their expertise in software and other areas such as "virtualization," which increases efficiency by allowing a single computer to perform multiple tasks.

Unified Computing is an architecture that bridges the silos in the data center into one unified architecture using industry standard technologies. Key to Cisco's approach is the Cisco Unified Computing System which unites compute, network, storage access, and virtualization resources in a single energy efficient system that can reduce IT infrastructure costs and complexity, help extend capital assets and improve business agility well into the future.

Cisco also today launched a suite of new Unified Computing Services which range from architecture design, planning, and migration, to operations, and remote management.

Cisco said that it would initially go to market with a select group of Cisco Data Center Specialized channel partners that already possess the networking, compute, virtualization, storage, and integrated services practices to help customers make the transition to a Unified Computing architecture. Later, Cisco will enlist additional channel partners into the new Cisco Unified Computing Authorized Technology Provider Program.

The Cisco Unified Computing System and associated services will be generally available starting in the second quarter of 2009.

"With today's announcement, Cisco is unleashing the power of virtualization through Unified Computing, the industry's first unified architecture for the virtualized data center. We've built an open ecosystem of industry leaders to help our customers realize the value of this exciting market transition," said Rob Lloyd, executive vice president designate, Worldwide Operations for Cisco.

Cisco's move positions the company against other networking and server giants such as HP and IBM. Until now, HP, IBM and Cisco had been working largely as partners. For example, HP manufactured the servers for the Internet and for corporate data centers, where companies store and process information, and Cisco provided the switches and routers which tied them together. But now Cisco is competing against IBM and HP.

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