Monday, May 2, 2005

Interop Keynote: "Innovation is Back" -- John Chambers

"Innovation is back, not just in terms of technology, but in terms of creating better productivity," said John Chambers, CEO of Cisco Systems, speaking at Interop in Las Vegas. For the past seven years, Chambers has been evangelizing the concept that IP network investment is directly tied to productivity. Chambers said that one of the reasons he remains optimistic about the networking industry's future, is because companies now understand that greater productivity is indeed enabled by IT and that investments in their network, combined with new work processes, is the best way to grow their businesses.

Productivity waves are now washing across many different industries, from retail, to transportation, health care and government, observed Chambers. The health care industry, for example, suffers from rapid rising costs and deteriorating customer interaction. But huge productivity gains in health care can be achieved, argues Chambers, by standardizing on common online medical records, adopting computerized physician entries, supporting remote patient monitoring, using remote consultations, sourcing through electronically-linked pharmacies, deploying real-time wireless tracking systems for hospital resources, etc.

The majority of productivity gains in the next decade will be about interactive transactions, said Chambers. "The wired and wireless worlds are coming together in an integrated network, driving new productivity."

Security is the first reason why companies must think about their network as an "architecture" or a "complete solution," rather than making independent decisions about individual boxes, said Chambers. In Cisco's research, security is the top issue on the minds of CIOs and CTOs, followed by wireless, IP telephony, voice/data convergence, and the virtualization of resources.

Chambers believes that security can be an enabler of new applications or it can be a roadblock if not done correctly. Intelligence and applications will be distributed virtually throughout global networks. Data and applications will be geographically independent. Users will need to access these applications from anywhere using a wide variety of devices over wireline and wireless networks. To handle this challenge, security has to be "completely pervasive across all layers of the network."

"Wired cannot be separated from wireless, switching cannot be separated from routing, and even remote workers using their home networks cannot be separated from your data center," said Chambers.

Here at Interop, Cisco is introducing its "Adaptive Security Architecture", which includes a family of multi-function security appliances that help stop attacks before they spread through the network. The new products represent a key component of the recently announced Adaptive Threat Defense phase of the Cisco Self-Defending Network (SDN) security strategy.

In terms of new product design, Chambers said routing, switching and other advanced technologies will be increasing integrated in modular devices. Customers will want to upgrade their platforms without having out the rip out their existing equipment. Customers will need a common network architecture that adapts to all their needs. Cisco's mission, said Chambers, is to offer this global systems approach.

A webcast of the keynote is available on the Cisco website.

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