First, consider the situation at Cisco Systems. During Cisco Partner Summit 2009, CEO John Chambers noted that Cisco’s own travel budget has fallen from $780 million down to $230 million. As the economy improvess Cisco's travel budget will rise again to a sustained level at $350 million. But it won’t grow from there. The reason: Online collaboration and telepresence (high-end video conferencing).
Still, Cisco has signed on as a visionary sponsor for Red Hat Summit. And Mark Fulgham, VP of Cisco's Data Center Emerging Technologies Central Marketing Organization, will give a keynote at the event.
Unified Computing and Open SourceAhhh. Now the picture is getting clearer. As you'll recall, Cisco's Unified Computing System strategy, launched in early 2009, includes a server push against Hewlett-Packard, IBM and Dell. Red Hat is a critical partner in that effort, since more and more data centers running Red Hat Enterprise Linux.
At the same time, Cisco is trying to learn how to compete and cooperate with open source. Consider the competitive landscape:
- Cisco has been reaching out to Linux developers, as part of the so-called AXP (Application eXtension Platform) developer contest.
- Cisco is closely watching Asterisk, the open source IP PBX evangelized by Digium and other small companies.
- Vyatta, a tiny upstart that attracted investment money from Citrix Systems, is gaining momentum by positioning itself as the open source alternative to Cisco Systems. (Here's a podcast with Vyatta CEO Kelly Herrell.)
Red Hat Summit: Showdown TimeThe topic of this blog entry, however, is Cisco's Unified Computing System. Cisco will be busy evangelizing the UCS effort to Red Hat partners and customers at the Red Hat Summit in September. Not by coincidence, IBM, Hewlett-Packard and Dell will also be on hand promoting their own visions at the event.
For at least a few days -- at its own conference -- Red Hat will be seated at the center of the server universe.
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