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Wed, Mar 18, 2009 - Page 10 News List

Cisco enters blade server market to rival HP, IBM

NO SUGARCOATING The company is entering uncharted territory as it begins building computer servers instead of focusing on routers and switches

AFP , NEW YORK

John Chambers, chairman of Cisco Systems Inc, speaks during a session on day three of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Jan. 30.

PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

Cisco Systems Inc threw down the gauntlet to erstwhile partners Hewlett-Packard (HP) and IBM on Monday and announced it would begin building computer servers.

John Chambers, the chief executive of Cisco, which has enjoyed spectacular growth making networking hardware such as routers and switches for the Internet and for corporations, unveiled the shift into an area dominated until now by HP and IBM.

Cisco’s move into building blade servers is part of its Unified Computing System (UCS), a next-generation data center platform for corporations seeking to boost efficiency and save energy costs.

Firms such as Microsoft, Accenture, VMware Inc, BMC Software and EMC Corp are joining Cisco in the UCS project, offering their expertise in software.

HP, IBM and Cisco had been working largely as partners until now in what the New York Times has described as a “symbiotic” relationship.

HP manufactured the servers for the Internet and for corporate data centers, where companies store and process information, and Cisco provided the switches and routers which tied them together.

But Cisco chief technology officer Padmasree Warrior told the Wall Street Journal the San Jose, California-based company would now be competing with HP.

“We’re going to compete with HP. I don’t want to sugarcoat that,” she said. “There is bound to be change in the landscape of who you compete with and who you partner with.”

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