Although not on the schedule, next up was Jayshree Ullal, SVP of the data centre, switching and security technology group at Cisco. Virtualization is definitely the key phrase of the day, because she’s soon talking about network virtualization.
She talked about the type of process that HP is going through now: data centres having moved from centralized to de-centralized in years past are now moving being re-centralized. Although Mark Hurd spoke about the ramifications on servers and data centres, Ullal spoke about the impact on the networks: if you re-centralize, it’s obviously going to have network implications. At the same time, the type of applications passing data over the open internet requires new functionality with respect to security, protocol gateways and other areas. She went on to show the network layers involved in a data centre that are served by Cisco and TIBCO together, with some low-level messaging functionality being provided in the Cisco devices themselves, and other more complex transformation and orchestration functionality being served by TIBCO products, and how this combination of front-end and back-end processing can improve high-volume applications such as online trading.
Ullal’s vision is “any application, any content, any location”, which requires robust network virtualization, application and service virtualization, and device mobility. When you think about it, although she’s talking more about providing this sort of functionality for large corporations, it also has a huge impact on web-based “Office 2.0” applications as well, where individuals and small businesses are virtualizing their data centres by outsourcing the entire thing to hosted services of various types. So if you use Google Apps for your domain email, Mozy for your data backup, or access Facebook on your Blackberry, you’re also a supporter of her vision.
Disclosure: I own a few paltry shares of Cisco, and I would be very happy if you’d all buy a ton of their products so that I can retire early.