In an interview with eWEEK along with Bob Muglia, Microsofts senior vice president for server and tools, Giancarlo said Cisco was looking at virtualizing the network hardware environment, including the processors in the data center and the communications framework.
The interview followed a discussion held at the Mandarin Oriental hotel here in New York between Cisco CEO John Chambers and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer on the growing need for them to work together and to have their technologies interoperate.
"We also want to make that much more efficient and effective than it is today by lowering the latency, improving the switching times between the different processors and really removing the hardware layer from a differentiation standpoint with regard to the software," he said.
"That means the links between processors will look as if they are the same, creating a manageable environment underneath and providing those links up to the virtual machine layer," he said.
For its part, Microsoft was working closely with Cisco to understand the evolution of the networking architecture for virtualization, a space which held a lot of opportunity for device-level virtualization, Muglia told eWeek.
"Our investments are really in the operating system virtualization and the hypervisor attached to that, as well as in the management of that. We have some new tools set to ship later this month, and so we are really beginning to build a very competitive offering in this space," he said.
But less than five percent of all existing servers were virtualized today and the run rate for new servers was less than 10 percent. "I see a world where the majority of servers will be virtualized and we are feeling really good about the infrastructure we are building," he said.
Asked if he thought the delay in the release of its hypervisor technology would negatively affect its adoption, Muglia said that customers would choose the product that provided gave them the lowest total cost of ownership.
He was also confident that the Microsoft infrastructure would achieve that, Muglia said, as it would not only drive volume for customers, but it would be able to standardize on a consistent management architecture, which was important as customers currently had to manage a virtualized environment separate from the way they managed the application environment.
"That is completely not our approach, which is rather to have a consistent management architecture that works throughout the entire stack. That certainly includes the virtualization, application and operating system management," he said.
The work Microsoft was doing with Cisco was extending that to the networking environment, while the software maker was also working with EMC on a new industry standard known as Service Modeling Language, Muglia said.