Cisco's New Data Center Plan Looks Promising. What Will IBM Think?

Cisco Systems revealed a major offensive today in its ongoing assault on the data center market. And more than ever, it proposes a vision in which data centers are defined not by a computer architecture, be it mainframe or PC server farm, but around the network itself. That makes sense. After all, almost every kind of software is evolving from something that was written for a particular computing platform, into something that is written to be delivered as a service via the Internet. And not static services, either, but ones that can be adapted at a moment’s notice on a users’ whim—say, by adding a new widget to Facebook, or a new customer order on Salesforce.com. These days, the communication of information—not just the processing of information—is where the action is. Specifically, the company announced the Nexus 7000, its biggest upgrade of the basic corporate network switch since Cisco started selling its now-ubiquitous Catalyst line in the mid-1990s. The box is so fast it can download all of NetFlix’ 90,000 movies in 38 seconds, or copy the entire searchable Web in 7.5 minutes, the company claims. But the speeds and feeds of the new box are not the big change.

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