Cisco on Wednesday plans to announce a complete refresh of its fixed-switching portfolio tied to Borderless Networks, the company's new network architecture and services platform. Collectively called Cisco Borderless Access, the offerings include two new fixed-switching product series and the official launch of three network services programs for the channel.
Cisco has been touting Borderless Networks as a next-generation of network infrastructure that accounts for virtual offices, mobile devices, collaboration tools and the convergence of networking and storage in the data center. According to Cisco, products and services tied to the Borderless concept represent billions of dollars in opportunity for VARs as enterprises look to upgrade their infrastructure and meet the demands of new computing environments.
"The proliferation of different mobile devices as well as the number of users compared with IT resources means the situation in the market is changing dramatically," said Wenceslao Lada, vice president of worldwide channels for Cisco's Borderless Networks Architecture, in an interview. "The pressure video is putting on the network is high, not only in terms of the demand but also the quality of the video. People want to connect and do everything with any device."
Last fall, Cisco introduced the Borderless Networks platform with an upgrade of its Integrated Services Router (ISR) portfolio. ISR G2, the second generation ISR products, offered five times the performance of Cisco's original ISR and added virtualization and video capabilities to the product line.
New products this time around include Cisco Catalyst 3750-X (starting at $5,200 for 24 ports) and 3560-X ($3,400), both enterprise-class stackable and standalone switches that include 10 gigabit Ethernet capability, full Power-over-Ethernet on each port and StackWise Plus and StackPower, tools that manage the switches' power resiliency.
Also new is the Cisco Catalyst 2960-S, an entry level switch with several of the same characteristics.
Each includes Cisco's enhanced limited lifetime warranty and next-business-day replacement guarantee, as well as 90 days of Cisco Technical Assistance Center (TAC) support.
Among services offerings, Cisco is upgrading EnergyWise, a tool for monitoring energy consumption in enterprises, to EnergyWise Orchestrator, which examines power management in PCs, laptops and Power-over-Ethernet devices. The new EnergyWise release also includes an SDK, in hopes that developers will create applications that use and complement EnergyWise.
Next is Cisco TrustSec, a security service through which customers create and deploy security policy on their infrastructure, available with Cisco's new Catalyst 3560 and 3750.
"These sessions can be very sensitive, and you want to be able to move between various access points without your session dying," Lada suggested.
Finally, there's Medianet, a video endpoint optimization service whose version 1.0 is supported on new Catalyst fixed switches and Cisco's ISR G2 routers.
Each service is either embedded in products already or comes as a piece of software, Lada explained. Each also has potential for VARs to attach managed services, for instances like power consumption management and security monitoring.
The ultimate goal for solution providers, Lada said, is to have them address customers as professional consultants, customizing each network infrastructure based on that enterprise's exact needs -- video, mobile, data center -- instead of merely installing new gear or reselling software platforms.
"We need to provide to our channel partners so they can bring easily all of these types of solutions to the customer," Lada said. "Many of the components are already there in some cases, some need refresh. What we want to do is help [VARs] start to create a practice around lifecycle management, as well as have a structured process to address and optimize the customer's infrastructure."
Cisco plans to unveil the new products and next phase of Borderless Networks at at a public launch event scheduled for 10 a.m. PST, Wednesday, include both Cisco CEO and Chairman John Chambers and Cisco CTO Padmasree Warrior.