New technology that helps direct the flow of information around data centers is becoming increasingly common in gear made by Cisco Systems Inc.’s competitors, challenging the Silicon Valley pioneer’s dominance in its core router-and-switch market.
The concept, called software-defined networking, or SDN, allows companies to treat the mish-mash of equipment that underpins their data centers as if they were a single, seamless system. Many products use a standard known as OpenFlow, which analysts say could allow companies to buy more generic routers and switches and then reprogram them for their networking needs.
Using SDN could save companies money and enable them to employ fewer technicians. It’s not known how big the market is for software-defined networking products because the concept attracts many different definitions, but major providers of business technology–including VMware Inc., Hewlett Packard Corp. and International Business Machines Corp. are moving aggressively into the area.
For its part, Cisco has approached the so-called SDN trend with a standard they say is more complete than OpenFlow. Executives there are taking a wait-and-see attitude toward adopting the OpenFlow technology, which could undermine the company’s 68% enterprise-market share in routing and 74% hold on switches, according to research firm Gartner Inc.
“This is an unusual position for Cisco to be in that they’re in the incumbent position and trying to protect their market share and profit margin,” Gartner analyst Joe Skorupa said. “For the first time in recent memory, six guys in a garage can potentially write an application and sell it into the networking world and not have to raise $100 million.” - Joe Skorupa, Gartner - October 24, 2012
Cisco confirmed that it would halt production of its Application Control Engine (ACE), but the company says it may not be out of the load balancer business.
The changing nature of the virtual data center and the cloud have placed entirely new demands on load balancers and application optimization tools, and this leads Gartner Inc. distinguished analyst Joe Skorupa to believe that Cisco may be working on a larger data center solution in which a home-spun load balancer would only be one supporting element.
“We have already said that we believe Cisco will be in the storage market by 2015,” Skorupa said.
Ultimately Cisco could have an integrated storage, compute and networking solution and an application delivery controller could be part of that.
Whatever Cisco decides to do, there is little time to waste before it loses any opportunity in the market. Within 24 hours of the news that Cisco would be ending ACE, load balancer rival F5 saw share value jump 8%, and A10 offered a Cisco ACE trade-in program that offered users who switched to A10 a rebate of $24,000 and a series of installation and migration services.
“Coming back is going to be hard, especially once the channel starts selling something else,” said Skorupa, who said he heard rumors swirling among engineers and the channel nearly a month ago that ACE was ending. - Joe Skorupa, Gartner - Sept. 2012
Today Adam Skorupa is very well known as composer of soundtrack to popular role-playing game The Witcher by CD Projekt RED (based on novels by Andrzej Sapkowski), but here’s the one of the early Adam’s works for you. It’s one of in-game tracks from CLASH, TBS game by Longsoft Multimedia (published in UK by Arena Games in 1998). Pretty nice tune, probably my favorite in CLASH, but personally I think that in his early works Adam tried to be copycat too often. Can’t stop thinking about Matt Uelmen’s soundtrack to Diablo while listening to this track for example.