News & Insights for the AI Journey|Tuesday, March 19, 2019
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Cisco Targets ‘Connected Analytics’ 

Cisco Systems marked its 30th anniversary this week by doubling down on the networking segment of the emerging Internet of Everything, promoting what it calls "connected analytics" that would push that data capability along with the necessary processing power to the network edge.

The push also is intended to flesh out Cisco's IoE strategy as it seeks to differentiate itself from the growing number of tech companies flocking to a next-generation Internet in which all "things" are connected and have the ability to collect data.

"It's about connecting everything," Cisco CEO John Chambers said in describing how the networking giant is trying to "see around corners" to anticipate the next market transition. Cisco has settled on leveraging its networking capabilities to make data analytics ubiquitous at the network edge.

As a result, Chambers added, "We're moving to become more of a software company."

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Along with its UCS distributed computing platform for delivering applications and its Application Centric Infrastructure offering, Cisco is now focusing on moving beyond connected data, voice and video to pull in everything else—data from sensors and devices—to the network edge, added Edzard Overbeek, senior vice president of Cisco Services.

As with most of its IT and infrastructure competitors, Cisco is zeroing in on networking aspects of the organizing principle that is variously referred to as the Internet of Things or the Internet of Everything. (The only substantive difference between the two constructs is the level of hyperbole. One could argue that IoT and IoE are essentially connected versions of what the electronics sector refers to as embedded systems. Hence, IoT and IoE could be thought as embedded systems on steroids.)

Cisco estimates that the IoE could be a $19 trillion opportunity. Of that, the capabilities needed to capture and leverage data from sensors and devices could amount to as much as $7.3 trillion, Chambers predicted.

Cisco's connected analytics strategy, sometimes referred to Data Analytics 3.0, leverages the networking company's cloud, application delivery and emerging software defined infrastructure to push capabilities like real-time streaming data to the network edge, Overbeek explained.

"You need an architecture to do this," he added. "You can't stitch it together because it won't be optimized" to deliver connected analytics.

Cisco and what it claims is its emerging "connected analytics" ecosystem is hardly alone in flocking to the IoE as a way to scale the delivery of analytics capabilities. Earlier in the week, chipmaker Intel laid out a parallel strategy for embedding more processing power into the company's preferred construct, the Internet of Things.

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Chambers acknowledged that tech companies are now being forced to find ways to differentiate themselves as the Internet of Things/Everything transitions from catchy buzz phrase to an organizing principle. Cisco, he added, is betting on connected analytics.

The networking giant also provided an update this week on its Application Centric Infrastructure offering that began shipping this summer. Soni Jiandani, the Cisco senior vice president overseeing the ACI roll out, said several early adopters ranging from an online university to datacenter operators are taking the software-defined networking capability to production.

Cisco, too, has begun a phased deployment of the automation app deployment tool within its private cloud. John Manville, who heads Cisco's global infrastructure team, said ACI has allowed Cisco's app development teams, rather than IT administrators, to decide what network infrastructure they want to use.

Using ACI, Manvill predicted, "The infrastructure team will no longer be the long pole in the tent."

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