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Chambers: Cisco will become the number 1 IT company

John Gallant | July 23, 2013
Cisco boss talks about how SDN fits into its architecture, what Insieme is all about and why the Internet of Everything matters to IT pros.

I want to get to that Internet of Everything, but I have one more question about this architecture. At Cisco Live, Gary Moore [President and Chief Operating Officer] said the company absolutely sees routers, compute and storage converging, perhaps in the same platform. Can you elaborate on that?  What does that look like?
It looks like Insieme, and you've got to put in switching. So if you think about it, the ability to also provide storage, whether it's from our partners or from ourselves. It's a single architecture, first in the data center and then throughout the whole network. So go all the way to the edge of the network, whether it's a top-of-pole router or any access product, switch or router we have from Cisco.

We're not only going to make the ASICs programmable to that, with north- and south-faced APIs, we're going to literally empower that group to move with the speed where our customers can implement it and we'll move UCS technology to every device. So with our own ASICs, which have been designed for these types of features, and programmability, as well as a standard server technology, X86.

There's the combination of the two, not one at the exclusion of the other. You can't design into the ASICs of a classic server the networking capability you need with the intelligence and security that we've done for 20 years. If you think about a true router technology, it's 36 million lines of code. To think that you're going to take 36 million lines of code and you're going to overlay something like SDN, very complex software, to solve the problem of very complex software without an ASICs architecture combining that and an architecture play on it probably is insanity. This is where we think it will be a strong architectural play, and it took us a little bit longer than I would like to really be able to articulate this and bring it through.

So back to your question, there will be layers of server technology, layers of switching technology, layers of routing technology, layers of top-of-rack capability to the servers, to the routing technology, to the software, to the storage. What we're going to try to do is combine those architecturally and to shrink the seven layers down to three.

Does that include combining, say, UCS server blades and Cisco routers? Are we talking different types of boxes here?
Absolutely. If we do this right you're not even going to know what a box really entails. Remember, we've already got these ASICs out there, that's why our products have the investment protection. Merchant [silicon manufacturers] puts their features into the silicon.


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