Image via WikipediaCisco plans to start selling servers bundled with virtualization software later this year, according to an article in the New York Times.
It's a curious move for a company that has heretofore placed its bets on providing the pipes and routers that connect computers to one another, rather than the computers themselves.
Clearly, it sees an opportunity to leverage its relationships with VMware (of which it owns almost 2%) and storage-system vendor EMC to break into a market that is still very much in its infancy.
The number of servers that are currently virtualized remains in the single digits, and while VMware is the market leader, Microsoft can catch up quickly with HyperV. Reason enough for Cisco to risk relationships with companies it currently has as business partners--like HP, IBM and Microsoft.
But hats off to Cisco management for daring to forge ahead with ambitious plans during a time of economic uncertainty. (Rumors are that Cisco CTO Padsmaree Warrior is in line to become Barack Obama's pick for national CIO. I've had the pleasure of meeting her at a Cisco event some years ago, and all I can say is that she is formidably intelligent.)