If anyone is keeping a close eye on Cisco, it's Brocade. The longtime rivals are right now each pushing their own portfolios for the converged datacentre, Brocade with its Brocade One and Cisco with its Unified Computing System.
That's what gives weight - and maybe a pinch of salt - to comments on Cisco made by Brocade's chief marketing officer John McHugh at a networking industry event on Thursday.
Acknowledging that Cisco are "masters of driving innovation and new customer models," McHugh told a NetEvents audience in Istanbul that he thought Cisco was ready to enter the storage market.
He later went on to say that storage is the "3-ton anchor" tethering the "yacht" of fast and flexible virtualisation in the datacenter - that is, that it's not yet possible for vendors to deal in a nimble way with the storage associated with virtualised apps.
Your guess is as good as mine as to whether McHugh believes that moving into storage in that situation would be a good thing for Cisco or not.
Other bons mots from McHugh:
-- Existing public and hybrid cloud products do not provide the capacity on demand and data recovery abilities that they promise. They are like "science fair projects" - you can make them work and you can demonstrate their capability, but they are not scalable -- Messing around with a business's datacentre and applications to introduce virtualisation is like doing heart surgery on their IT -- "We don't have the technical or legal capabilities to engage in the hybrid or public cloud in the next five years" -- Application-specific networking caused the death of Nortel -- Networking is the Switzerland of IT -- Salaries in India and China are rising. One Indian call centre provider told McHugh that he was sending work to the Philippines. "Wages are too high in India - we can't afford to do it here," he told the Brocade exec.