Move over HP and IBM, and make room for Cisco Systems. Cisco, who has remained focused on routers, switches, and other networking gear and software responsible for the majority of its $40 billion a year in revenue and 65 percent gross profit margins, plans to release a server computer equipped with sophisticated virtualization software within the next few months, according to The New York Times.
"This will be the most important and most talked-about product of the year," said Brent Bracelin, a hardware analyst for Pacific Crest Securities. "There will be massive competitive reactions from both IBM. and HP, and we expect this will lead to a new wave of industry consolidation."
Cisco, who views the move "not as new market, but a market transition," will focus just on virtual applications rather than release a general purpose server. Other details remain sparse and Cisco isn't yet saying what exactly it envisions for its new product, but rumors suggest the company will also bundle networking hardware and virtualization software from Cisco and VMware, the latter of which Cisco owns close to a 2 percent stake.
Look for more details to emerge in the next couple of months.
Vivek Kundra is a strong contender as he has relevant experience. He is currently the CTO of the government of Washington, D.C. Indian-born Kundra spent a fair amount of his childhood in Tanzania before his parents brought him to Maryland at the age of 11.
Cisco’s CTO, Padmasree Warrior, is the other candidate. She has also served as a chief technology officer at Motorola. Warrior was also born in India and studied at the much vaunted Indian Institute of Technology. “President-elect Obama and his team fully understand the importance of digital infrastructure to further our technology leadership as a nation”, she told BusinessWeek.
Cisco's making its presence known at CES with three new sleek looking web-enabled Media Hub NAS boxes. Adding to the sex appeal is a front-panel LCD and 6-in-1 media card reader found on the NMH405 (500GB, $400) and NMH410 (1TB, $430), while the 500GB NMH305 trades in those extras for a cheaper price tag ($350). All three versions ship with a single drive setup with the ability to accommodate a second drive configured as JBOD or in a RAID 1 array.
One of the main selling points looks to be the slick user interface accessible through any web browser equipped with Flash 9 or later. From within the UI, users can drag-and-drop files and folders or choose to upload them instead using the File Browser feature (doesn't support folders). Other goodies include a Media Importer application designed to automatically scan local and network shares and copy them to the Media Hub, and the ability to stream to any UPnP AV / DLNA device, as well as iTunes streaming.
According to SmallNetBuilder.com, who has been playing with one of the NAS boxes, Cisco managed to make the remote access feature stupid simple, bypassing the need to play around with your router's settings or setting up and configuring a dynamic DNS account.
Could it be possible that legitimate email messages only account for 10 percent of all email? According to the Cisco 2008 Annual Security Report, the answer is 'yes.' The report claims that nearly 200 billion pieces of spam are sent and received every day, accounting for 90 percent of the world's email. Making the influx of spam messages possible are armies of hijacked computers, Cisco says.
"Every year we see threats evolve as criminals discover new ways to exploit people, networks, and the internet," said Cisco chief security researcher Patrick Peterson. "The botnet is, in many cases, ground-zero for online criminal threats."
Cisco points to the United States as by far the biggest source of spam, accounting for 17.2 percent of the messages. Turkey came in second at 9.2 percent, and Russia ranked third accounting for 8 percent.
What's most striking is that spam volumes have nearly doubled in 2008 compared to 2007. This despite a handful of recent busts by the FTC on various spam rings, which appear to have done nothing when looking at the overall picture. And because spammers "rarely use computers in their physical possession, instead renting or building botnets," the FTC will continue to fight an uphill battle until security improves across the board. Don't hold your breath.
The Free Software Foundation filed suit in U.S. District Court today, alleging that networking giant Cisco violated FSF copyrights by not giving its users the ability to share and modify the open-source software it uses as the basis for some of its hardware. That's a mouthful, so here's what happened: According FSF, the company found that Cisco was using a GNU-licensed version of Linux to power its firmware. Only, Cisco wasn't giving its customers the full access to the source code that the GNU license specifies as a condition of use!