Cisco’s strategy of pushing beyond its networking stronghold could lead to the company losing its focus, according to Pradeep Sindhu, founder and CTO of rival Juniper Networks.
Speaking at a press summit in Barcelona designed to spell out Juniper’s strategy going forward, Sindhu said that Cisco could well be spreading itself too thin. Cisco has recently been broadening its horizons to include a push into the consumer space and deeper into the data centre space through its Unified Computing System (UCS) platform.
“Cisco is great networking company,” he said. “There’s plenty of money to be made [through expanding horizons] but there is also money to be made in baking bread and purifying water. The things that make companies successful is focus; when you lose focus you lose.”
Sindhu added: “When you’re trying to build networking infrastructure, compute and storage infrastructure and address end-users and build set-top boxes and cameras, that’s more than two markets, it’s at least 15. Juniper is completely focused on the network infrastructure market and we see that because of the issues of scaling the network the problem is phenomenally complicated by itself. So either Cisco is 100 times better than Juniper or they’re going to fail in their current strategy and our bet is that they’re going to fail.”
In a later interview with CBR Sindhu clarified his statement, saying that Cisco’s UCS platform may not address the problems that many firms are currently experiencing. “When we talk to end customers the problems they have involve how to consolidate and build large-scale data centres; it’s not about putting two or three CPUs and discs and switches into a box and wrapping metal around it. That’s nice, it solves the problem of small-scale data centres, but it’s not really the problem our customers have.”
Sindhu added that networking, computing and storage require deep technical expertise and that innovating in all three areas is, “A tall order. They may be able to succeed but it’ll be tough for them. I maybe used language that was too strong [when claiming they would fail] but if you look at the two companies, Cisco is further along in its development. I think they are a great company but the problems we are solving are different.”
“Given where they are,” he added, “I don’t see many alternatives to what they are doing, I just think that the issue is to do with spreading themselves too thin. For us, given our stage of development, we have a long way to go. We need to focus and execute, which is what we’re doing.”