Cisco to Enter Server Market, Spurred by Cloud Trends

Cisco’s got something on its mind, and it’s got to do with the cloud.

The company plans to integrate network devices, servers, and storage utilities into a unified, next-generation data center, according to a story I read. Cisco is the leader of the networking market, and so the company’s decision, which it announced earlier this month, creates a turf war with leaders of the server market (both IBM and HP) and IBM on the data storage front.

The past is past. Cisco used to work with HP on servers, but will now market its own servers and its own software to manage all three unified elements of the data center.

The Cloud Influence

The growth of cloud computing is also a factor behind Cisco’s decision, as the cloud is changing how companies store data. Plus, social networks, virtualization, and VoIP have all taken some of the cachet away from IBM and HP when it comes to servers. So, Cisco’s move to integrate the network elements–the servers, and storage–into a unified platform, managed from a single source, is a logical next step, according to Charles King, principal analyst with Pund-IT Research, who was interviewed in the story.

“Over the long haul this could affect large enterprises seeking to deploy clouds on their own or other companies that deliver cloud-based services,” he said.

Looking back, it shouldn’t be a shock to me that Cisco would enter the server market, considering that it bought more than a dozen software app companies over the last couple of years, some of them leading players in the cloud computing market.

Look out smaller server firms! You’ll have competition on your hands soon enough, as Cisco’s a reliable, great brand, and I think companies would feel pretty safe trusting their data on Cisco servers. Of course, to feel even safer, both large enterprises and SMEs are continuing to rely on server monitoring. There’s too much at risk to trust your data to a server without an independent party looking over their shoulder for signs of trouble.