Brocade Calls Cisco's Unified Computing Proprietary, Closed

Mike Klayko, CEO of Brocade Communication Systems, on Monday used a YouTube video to break his company's silence a week after Cisco unveiled its UCS strategy of combining servers, storage, and networking into a unified IT infrastructure.

The full video can be watched by clicking here.

Cisco also detailed "Project California," its upcoming entry into the blade server market.

Cisco's Project California was developed around what Klayko called the idea of the virtualized data center.

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"This is not a new thesis," Klayko said. "This has been going on for decades, actually. I have customers right now who are telling me that they need ROIs on cap ex (capital expenses) that are less than 12 months. That's incredible. They used to amortize equipment over three or four years. Now it's 12 months."

In addition, Klayko said, customers are worrying about operational costs, power costs, and cooling costs, all the while that networks are continuing to grow. "You have to be able to go in and show a direct ROI that fits the customer's profile," he said.

Everybody has the same goal of taking costs out of the environment, Klayko said. However, a common theme in watching the analyst response to Cisco's initiative is "lock-in" and "proprietary," he said.

"I think customers really like choice. . . . Now we're kind of reverting back to not having choice, and you have to get it all from one (source)," he said. "I'm not sure the largest accounts in the world will put their most critical applications, that happen to reside in that expensive data center, on a Version One product."

Blade servers from Brocade partners such as IBM, Hewlett-Packard, and Dell are already on Version 6 and Version 7, Klayko said. "I think it's gonna be a tough road (for Cisco) because it is Version One, and the fact that they're not a known expert in that space," he said.

Brocade, instead, is working with partners, each of whom have different but similar strategies. Brocade is participating with the different strategies of each server and storage vendor. Brocade partners with them because they have strategies that optimize their product set as well as take costs out of the customer environment.

"But, in order to take costs out, that means you have to repurpose the products that you have. So therein lies the big difference. I think that our products, combined with our partners' products, allow this repurposing, because there is no need for a brand new set of products coming in. So I think (the Cisco) announcement gave us quite a bit of advantage."