Oct 29 2011   4:42PM GMT

Cisco Should Make Products Not Hardware

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood Profile: Joshua Wood

Hi all, I like Cisco. Someone would say I love Cisco. They make great products. They fill the voids that are in the market with solid solutions but here is what I don’t understand, perhaps you can enlighten me. Why isn’t Cisco moving towards a services focus more than a hardware one. I have said this before, in the age of virtualization Cisco needs to narrow their product lines and offer their products as virtual appliances not hardware products.

There are two trains of thought here so bear with me. First path, they make the products that don’t require specific hardware virtual appliances. AND THEY DON’T OFFER HARDWARE VERSIONS. This would reduce the complexity of scoping, buying, supporting and understanding their product lines thus reducing cost for them and their customes. It would also allow customers the flexibility of running their products on whatever hardware meets the specifications that are needed. Take the wireless LAN controller product, why offer that as a hardware appliance? If someone needs the hardware to run it on there should be a sku that is a router with service module that runs VMware that this comes pre-installed and configured that you can order. It would be ready to use right out of the box. You can get these VMware based service modules for some of their smallest routers.

There are cons to this of course. It puts a strong reliance on the VMware technology that Cisco doesn’t control and the cost of the router might be more than the cost of a 1U server. While this isn’t my preferred option it is one that I hope they have considered.

Second path, and this is the best path in my mind. Use the ISR G2 licensing model and make different products additional columns in the IOS licensing model. You already have voice, security and data right now, create an additional set of columns for WLC, ASA or ISE. That way the hardware that is great and already well-known only needs a license key to open up the functionality even further. This reduces so many various areas to one that are a lot easier to control that the benefit would be huge. Most if not all of the issues with the first option are removed as well.

Until next time,
TechStop (JW)

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