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New Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins heads into "hyper-connected" mode

John Gallant | July 27, 2015
Robbins takes over at Cisco for John Chambers this Monday, promoting a hyper-connected architecture in the face of competition from white box makers and SDN proponents.

Let's talk a little bit more about the IoE opportunity. How do you accelerate that for Cisco? It's a very diverse market with lots and lots of players, lots of untouched applications that people haven't even thought of yet. It seems to me to be one of the biggest hurdles in that market. How do you accelerate this and really ensure that you capture the leader's share of this market?

There's a natural connectivity and convergence value that's associated with just connecting, going from 14 billion devices to 50 billion and then maybe a decade later to 500 billion. That's inherently good for us. But we've always been really successful when we've delivered more value by virtue of that connectivity. We have a tagline that I really like. Amazing things happen when you connect the unconnected. It's true. Once they're connected, we can apply, first of all, security. Secondly, analytics. We can apply IT assets out at the edge to get that data, derive more value for the enterprise faster through programmability and those sorts of things. It's a huge opportunity, not only for the connectivity to convergence, but also adding value on top of that.

So two big things out of that. One is security and the other is storage. But let's start with security. IoT, as we're all hearing a lot about, opens up a Pandora's Box of new security problems. How are you going to help companies deal with those?

The architecture we're going to build is going to help -- [through] the combination of OpenDNS assets, the network assets, some assets we may not even have today. We've got some unique capabilities, frankly, that came through NDS [Group] that we can pull together. We believe that it has to be solved architecturally and the network is the one place where that can occur. We continue to work on that and to deliver the  architecture for IoE security. We know that is a key enabler to accelerate that market that we have to deliver on.

How does that work in an environment where there are so many devices and products from other companies that you can't control? For example, two really prominent attacks recently came through medical equipment. Can the infrastructure prevent that sort of thing?

I think once they become part of the IP infrastructure, then we can. Yes. Absolutely.

The second one is storage. IoT is about lots of storage and managing storage better. Does this mean a bigger play for Cisco in storage? Would you acquire a storage company?

This is a question we get quite often. We have had tremendous relationships with EMC, with NetApp, with Hitachi, even with IBM and, to date, what our customers need from us we've been able to satisfy through those partnerships. As we look at this architecture that I described for the future, then we will clearly step back and look at what we need to deliver and what parts we need to own, what parts we need to partner for, and that will drive our decisions in the future.


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