Cisco to 'sell servers with virtualisation'

Cisco Systems plans to start selling servers equipped with virtualisation software as early as March, The New York Times reported on 19 January, a move that could position it for tough competition with Hewlett-Packard (HP) and IBM.

The report, citing people with knowledge of the company's plans, says Cisco aims to sell a server combining hardware and virtualisation software from Cisco and VMWare, in which Cisco holds a small stake.

Cisco's move into the server market has long been a target of speculation, with technology websites over the past few months calling it by the code name ‘California’. Company officials were not immediately available for comment.

Analysts have said a new server product is likely to be aimed at data centres, which Cisco has identified as a key growth area as an explosion of consumer-generated content and a shift to Web-based software in business operations has meant increasing data traffic.

But analysts have also said it could be a difficult move, noting that it would turn IBM and HP, with whom Cisco partners in selling its other network equipment, into rivals.

Cisco, the world's biggest network equipment maker, has been expanding into a wider range of products and services, as growth slows in its traditional routers and switches business. Its expansion into unified communications systems, which tie together email, phones and other tools over Internet networks, has already led to greater competition with another partner, Microsoft.

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