Chambers: Cisco Aims To Be No. 1 In Storage Networking Market


Tells IT executives to expect key partnerships, including possibly Veritas


Cisco Chief Executive John Chambers said the networking giant aims to become the No. 1 player in the storage networking market largely by partnering or acquiring key vendors.

In a question-and-answer session before about 5,000 IT executives here at the Gartner Symposium ITxpo, Chambers said he gives his company "50-50" odds of reaching the No. 1 position in the storage networking game. "I wouldn't bet against us on this," he said, noting, "I've got my best engineering team on this."

Chambers did say he will have "three or four key" strategic storage vendor partners, and Veritas will probably be one of them. Furthermore, he said Cisco will not enter into the storage arrays segment of the market. "Will I be in applications that go on top of that?" he asked rhetorically. "Probably not, unless I have to. You have got to leave profits for your partners. . . . How we will do this will remain to be seen, [but our betas are off to a real good start."

Cisco has seen strong interest in partnering from other vendors in the storage market, said Chambers. "The exciting part is almost every peer who had the chance to be a peer or a competitor or a partner has asked to be a partner," he said. "And when that happens that is usually a very good indication that your product looks like it is going to be very strong . . . We think timing is very good on it."

Chambers said Cisco will, as it has in the past, rely on acquisitions to become a dominant player in the storage networking market, pointing to the company's acquisition of Andiamo.

One of the keys to the storage plan is how well Cisco can "move the whole company toward this strategy on storage," including the support of the company's solution providers and distribution network, said Chambers. He conceded that the company's approach here "probably has to be different than our traditional approach."

The storage market has many of the same attributes that drove Cisco in the networking market, he said. "It shouldn't matter where it is on the network, you should be able to find it with the intelligence [within the network and then access the storage device and make it completely transparent,whether it is in your network or someone else's,to the user," he said.