Cisco has to earn market leadership, CTO says

Cisco Chief Technology Officer Padmasree Warrior struck a humble note in a keynote address at the Cisco Live user conference in San Francisco on Wednesday, saying Cisco needs a broad architecture and services to become a true market leader.

“Having a great portfolio of products gets a seat at the table to talk to our customers,” Warrior said. “Once we do that, then they expect us to start bringing groups of products together, build them and test them so they work together, and then add technical services on top of that.”

Cisco has been talking for years about the need to combine technology architecture with a business architecture, but Warrior presented this mission as one Cisco has just begun with its UCS (Unified Computing System) architecture. That system, announced in March, combines networking and storage with computing, represented by the company’s long-anticipated blade server platform. UCS is just a foundation on which to eventually build private clouds, she said.

Some observers see UCS as an attempt to take on Cisco partners, including Hewlett-Packard and IBM. Warrior talked as if that is the eventual goal.

“Once we have the architecture leadership, we then become the de facto standard in the industry and we become a platform leader,” Warrior said. However, interoperability with other vendors’ products is part of that leadership, she said.

Enterprise IT departments are evolving from data center consolidation to unified computing and eventually to cloud computing, Warrior said. Cisco is uniquely positioned for cloud leadership because the network is the only place to solve the major barriers to cloud computing, which are security, guaranteed performance and interoperability, she said.

Cisco is looking beyond just cloud computing to “intercloud” networking, which combines resources internal and external for an organization, Warrior said.

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