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Cisco: WAN optimisation is just a feature

Cisco suggests WAN optimisation will not be a market in the coming years, as it looks to build the capability into its core networking products.

WAN

Wide Area Network (WAN) optimisation is not so much a market but just a feature, according to Cisco.

The company made its comments to IT Pro at the Cisco Live conference in London today, after it was bumped off of Gartner's WAN optimisation Magic Quadrant by significantly smaller vendors.

Riverbed remains top of the pile, although new players such as Silver Peak are making their mark too, according to Gartner.

Our strategy is how we can take these services and align them with our networking platforms.

Gartner claimed Cisco was a slow follower in the market and its vision was limited because of an incremental product road map.

Even though it is still considered one of the major players in the space, Cisco thinks WAN optimisation is really just a feature which will increasingly be built into its core networking products.

"Epecially with WAN optmisation, the future is how we integrate that into our networking platforms," said Cisco CTO Padmasree Warrior.

In the future, Warrior believes customers will want to consume WAN optimisation as a service delivered via a bigger product.

"That's the movement we see," she added. "More and more, as people move to the cloud, we will move back to software defined networks. Software defined networking is actually integrating some of these services.

"I think in five or six years time we will look at it and things will be more integrated.

"Similarly with load balancing in the data centre we see a tighter connection."

If WAN optimisation and load balancing are just features, will companies such as Riverbed simply be bought out in years to come?

"I think there is a transformation happening but I can't speak for their strategy," Warrior added.

"Our strategy is how we can take these services and align them with our networking platforms."

Storage stasis

One area Cisco won't directly deal in is storage, as the networking giant is fairly adamant it will continue along the partnership route. Currently, it works primarily with EMC in the storage space, providing the networking for the storage giants offerings.

There are fears such partnerships will create proprietary architectures with customers locked in with small clusters of vendors, although Cisco said it was being more open.

"Our approach is to enable interoperability, we really believe that," the CTO added. "More and more we are integrating services."

She gave the example of being able to download WebEx onto any smartphone, but did not mention working closer with other storage vendors or buying into the space.

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