Today's Cisco Systems press/analyst conference in San Jose to launch the company's new Unified Computing System wasn't unlike a lot of other press events we so-called "journos" attend. But it had its memorable moments.
First of all, Cisco's ebullient CEO, John Chambers, who really did not want to identify possible competitors in the new-generation data center equipment marketplace, did slip and mention Hewlett-Packard as a key one. Not that we did not suspect this, mind you, but it was nice that he did let us into his thinking a bit.
Secondly, the conference went on for at least an hour before any of the mainstays (from Cisco, EMC, VMware, Microsoft, BMC, Accenture) even hinted at what exactly UCS comprises! It was all about "partnerships" (important, sure, but harder information needed here), "platforms" (what could be more esoteric?) and "customers' needs" (certainly important and understandable).
Still, no hard data on what this was all about.
Yours truly had to go out and find a Cisco platform marketing director (thank you, Paul Durzan) in a separate interview to explain exactly what makes up the B-Series blade server/management software layer combination that Cisco has been cooking up for the last three years.
There's the high level, and there's the High Level. Chambers, Joe Tucci (EMC), Paul Maritz (VMware), Bob Beauchamp (BMC), Bill Green (Accenture) and Bob Muglia (Microsoft) are all High Level guys residing in the ionosphere today, talking about how this new "concept" was going to change data center computing.
UCS very well may change data center computing, and we hope it does. Computing could probably use a fresh take. But we also need to know about how this science is all going to work, what it looks like, and how it will perform. Nobody outside Cisco and its partners really knows; only one beta tester, Savvis, was available to talk about the new system, and they've only had the thing for three weeks. So even they don't really know yet.
In April, Cisco said, configs will be ready to ship. Great. We'll follow up at that time with some more detailed info, hopefully. Keep an eye out here at eWEEK for that.