Technology major Cisco will be launching its new range of unified computing systems (UCS) globally next week, marking its foray into server products.
Wayne Hull, International Director and General Manager for Cisco, UAE, told Emirates Business: "The launch will happen in the UAE on March 3 and in Saudi Arabia this week. This is mainly due to logistics issues. This announcement in the data centre segment is significant for Cisco as it is an entry into the server segment. It is not just about a server but being part of the whole unified computing services platform."
Cisco will also be partnering with EMC and Intel for this service, which is new for the company. "We have been working on this for the past six months to roll out the partner network. Working with EMC and Intel is not traditional for Cisco," said Hull.
The company known more for its IT networking range of products has ventured into the server segment for the first time, possibly posing a potential challenge for industry majors HP, Dell and IBM.
Cisco Systems has severed ties with Hewlett-Packard and moved more aggressively into the server space. The networking giant announced late last week it would drop HP as a channel and global services alliance partner.
Hull is not deterred by this announcement. "It does not affect our customers, and Cisco has decided to work with partners having the same network centric vision. We will not push our partnership position on the customer and also keep interoperability in mind," he said.
In fact, it is expected that customers will see more favourable contract terms and better support as well as deeper discounts arising from the added competition.
The move is a clear marketing strategy aimed at pushing Cisco's UCS datacentre strategy which combines its blade servers with networking services. However, large organisations will likely choose HP over Cisco, if pressed to decide between the server expert and newcomer Cisco.
However, Hull explained that it is not about servers but customers able to build everything from scratch in a datacentre. "Cisco has played a critical role in infrastructure for years and is also aggressive in the communications and connectivity segment. Therefore, our UCS platform will include virtualisation, link into storage and switching requirements of the customer."
Cisco has seen already seen a high adoption of UCS in the UAE, Hull said. "The UAE is one of the fastest adopters of this new platform in the Middle East. There were large numbers of pilot projects conducted on users based in the region, especially the UAE."
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