Q&A: Cisco on servers, storage and strategy

We chat with Laurent Blanchard, Cisco's vice president of enterprise, to ask why IT should get excited about what the networking giant can offer.

I think the industry is understanding that the previous way of looking at IT has changed. Now the three elements are extremely integrated and you need to have a huge amount of knowledge in intelligent networks, you have to understand very well how you can virtualise in the server and therefore have the storage as capacity for those two other elements.

It is normal that the industry is going in this direction. Three years ago nobody would have believed it. I think Dell is looking at it as well, like HP, like the others.

With companies coming together in clusters to provide services, what would you say to those worried about vendor lock-in, or siloed IT architectures?

This is not what people have on their minds. First of all, a CIO of a very large organisation, they have an environment with many providers, many suppliers. They may have HP servers and Brocade solution, they don't have only one provider.

The industry is understanding that the previous way of looking at IT has changed.

Our value is that we know how to get all these pieces together and working extremely well.

There was a lot of talk about innovation during the Cisco Live keynote. Can you convince IT departments that you really are innovating when so many smaller players are making big strides?

Our key differentiator is that we know how to manage huge volumes of data transfer in an intelligent manner, in a secure manner.

If you look at the cloud, in 2010 people were saying there is roughly $30 billion investment being made into the cloud. By 2014, it will be at $100 billion and 50 per cent of the compute consumed will be cloud based.

Now if you agree with this, and if you agree with the fact that the volume of data is going to explode, and if you agree the security issue is going to be important you need to have the right network. This is where you put the most intelligence.

The innovation is to continue investing into development of the network and to answer major trends like bring your own device (BYOD), the internet of things, smart grid. Smart grid is huge business. We apply our innovation into the energy market, the smart grid.

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