back to article Cisco's 3-ring circus: Xsigo CEO on bait and switches

Blocks and Files: Cisco's John Chambers has EMC, HP and NetApp dancing to his tune and helping to sell his UCS servers and networking gear. But how does that work? Xsigo CEO Lloyd Carney has an interesting take on the situation. Xsigo makes director switches that enable up to 250 servers to share a bunch of InfiniBand, 10GigE, …


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Say what?

Admittedly I know the Xsigo product very well, what it does and where it fits.

Some observations on this great article:

Xsigo will connect any Server to any Storage to any Switch, it's agnostic and uses industry standard HBAs, so zero brand specific or proprietary tie in on the connectivity at all. It's a true open platform. As far as I know it's the only IO director product that offers QoS (Quality of Service); Cisco and HP currently do not.

Cisco acquiring NetApp? Better send some thermal underwear to Hell... we heard the same ramblings about Oracle buying NetApp last year just before NetApp bought LSI's block disk division. I shudder at the thought of the Network giant buying the last of the Channel friendly storage vendors.

More importantly what is the long term synopsis for Xsigo? They are profitable even though it's a very young company. I always believed that they'd either float or Dell would scoop them up, but I don't believe the latter will happen.

The bottom line is that virtualising the IO stack is the final building block in the enterprise virtual strategy, after all we can virtualise the desktop, servers and storage, so virtual I/O makes perfect sense.

Xsigo's offering is not unique but it's the best of the bunch out there right now..


$166k to cable one Dell server?!?

" reckons it saves $1m in cabling and cabling infrastructure costs for every set of six Dell servers by using Xsigo's director."

By my math, that works out to one sixth of a million dollars per Dell server, or $166k -- are they using Denon's $500 Cat5 Ethernet cable, by any chance?

Tell them I'll do it for half of that amount. :)


Re: $166k to cable one Dell server?!?

You're forgetting that they are probably talking about port costs, not just cabling (both labor and actual cables/gbics).

With two 40gb/s cables coming from each rack server, you're potentially removing 6+ ports and cables from the top of rack and whatever amount that translates up to the "core."

Though I'm assuming they use Dell blades with Infiniband switches. Which would mean they need 2-4 cables per 16 servers.


Re: Re: $166k to cable one Dell server?!?

Even if they're including the cost of the NICs and switch ports as "cabling", that seems like an awful lot of money.

Suppose you pay $1k per NIC port on the host, plus $1k per port on the switch, plus another $1k for each of the optics -- each link now costs you $4k, or you get 6 links for about $25k.

Heck, double that for another layer of switches above your ToR, and you're at $50k.

Even if you throw in the cost of air conditioning for all that stuff, I don't see how you hit $166k PER SERVER.

Like I said: hey,, I'll wire up 6 servers for you guys for $500k. :)


It's not so much Cisco blocking them out, as the sheer marketing momentum behind Ethernet. There is no intelligent discussion of alternative networking protocols - that's certainly led by Cisco but supported by everyone else in the market.

Until Intel comes back to market with Infiniband, then Xsigo might gain some new momentum.

Also, it's a clever product. Needs clever people to buy it and there's a shortage of that right now.

Thumb Up

Hear It From Themselves

The + Xsigo cost savings story is on YouTube.

The savings were per 6 blade chassis, not per 6 servers. It is legit. Hear it from the Salesforce SVP Operations here.



Full disclosure, I work for HP and work with Blades and Virtual Connect every day.

I am curious how HP VC is not considered "Open" but Xsigo is?

Xsigo is a box that sits between the Server and the Network/SAN

VC is the same but happens to fit in the back of an HP Chassis.

Xsigo can connect to any upstream Network equipment

VC can as well.

Xsigo can connect to any upstream SAN environment

VC can, as long as you support NPIV.

So is it not open because it only works with HP's blades?

If HP was to partner with Xsigo, how would that change anything that either company does today?

HP already offers IB Adapters and Switches for all their Rack and Blade Servers, nothing preventing someone from using that with a Xsigo today is there?

I fail to see how this partnership would benefit anyone but Xsigo.

Not to mention its yet another thing I have to manage.

Something Cisco's UCS platform commonly uses as an attack point on the competition.

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