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"I almost think the industry should be a little bit embarrassed that a relative newcomer like Cisco with no brand in servers at all came in and continues to put up good numbers," he said.
As Kerravala sees it, Cisco is offering the industry a good lesson: requirements change through technology shifts. What customers need in a server today, especially high-performance servers like the ones Cisco offers, is different than what customers needed five years ago.
"Cisco focused on building a server that orchestrates well with the network and offers different ways of managing memory, along with options that are more in line with the virtual data center," Kerravala said.
"Frankly, I think the rest of the server industry sat around and let Cisco take that business. In fact, I think in many ways IBM has taken much of the brunt. It used to be if you were looking at high-end servers it was an IBM or HP decision. Now it seems like an HP or Cisco decision. It shows that there is indeed room in the market to innovate. I just don't think it's been the traditional server vendors that have done the innovation."