Posted by: Greg Ness | November 5, 2008

All Eyes on Cisco Tomorrow

I’ve spent plenty of inches here talking about the recession, network infrastructure and increasing demands on computer networks.  This month in the Harvard Business Review Cisco is predicting 14 billion devices will be attached to the network by 2010.


While we disseminate Cisco’s numbers and forecasts for upcoming quarters I think it’s important that we take a step back and think about the implications of 14 billion networked devices.  Many of these devices will be part of enterprise initiatives, including RFID, wireless, consolidation and VoIP.  Virtualization is now entering production data centers thanks to VMware and Microsoft.  That means servers will be more mobile, including being capable to move between IP addresses and/or security zones.


Then there is the sky high hype surrounding cloud computing with predictions and speculations forming like a cumulonimbus cloud formation across a Texas prairie.  More powerful systems will drive more scale and flexibility requirements inside the data center, which will mean more pressures for automation and connectivity intelligence.  Cloudplexes may become a major driver for a dramatic reduction in manual labor (as well as electricity) in the mundane IT tasks now slowing down initiatives and raising costs.


As we absorb Cisco’s short term prognosis let us not forget the long term: more dynamic systems, more movement, more endpoints and more automation.  With a recession we can mix in even more pressures to automate many aspects of IT, including more intelligent networks, endpoints and systems, as enterprises look to enhance scale and flexibility and reduce total costs of operations (TCO).


As We Look Forward


We’ll soon be reading more about once mundane issues, including DNS/DHCP and even IP address management (IPAM) as enterprises look to squeeze more out of existing investments and enable more network intelligence.  With the automation of these (once taken for granted) core network services the network becomes more dynamic.  A more dynamic network means a more intelligent network as infrastructure forms more dynamic links with applications and endpoints. 


With automation large, complex networks adding even more endpoints every year become more manageable and more cost-effective.  More dynamic networks will also be able to handle the continued explosion of endpoints and the increasing power and mobility of systems and users.  That means that Cisco and others will enjoy plenty of opportunities to deliver new capabilities seamlessly across larger networks.


That is why I think the future looks bright for Cisco and other Infrastructure 1.0 leaders who embrace Infrastructure 2.0.  My list of 1.0 leaders well positioned for 2.0 also includes F5 Networks (application intelligence leader) and Microsoft (endpoint intelligence leader).




Greg Ness is a Senior Director at Infoblox.  He was previously at Blue Lane Technologies, Juniper Networks, Red Line Networks, IntruVert/McAfee and ShoreTel.  He has been a blogger at Always On since spring 2004.  This is the third article in a series on Infrastructure2.0.  For more information and a disclaimer go to: Archimedius. This does not constitute investment advice.  The author can be reached at


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