The Cisco involvement in the hardware virtualization has always been very unclear:
the company invested $150 million in VMware before its IPO last year ($78 millions of those 150 were retired just last week, after the VMware CEO was removed )
- the CEO claimed an entire keynote at VMworld 2007 (despite he talked about everything but virtualization)
- the latest high-end router, ASR 1000, may embed the Linux virtualization platform KVM to offer cheap fault-tolerance (Cisco never confirmed this news)
While these certainly are some signs of concrete interest, so far Cisco never clarified if it wants to become or not a virtualization vendors a la VMware. But something is changing in the last months.
First of all a rumor started spreading in April saying that Cisco may be interested in acquiring Citrix.
No less than two months after that, John Chambers felt the need to highlight that Cisco is not interested in buying VMware (which doesn’t mean that Cisco is not interested in buying someone else).
And now, during an interview with NetworkWorld, John McCool, the new company’s Senior Vice President and General Manager of Data Center, Switching and Services Group, gave a surprising answer:
Q: Do you plan to invest in another hypervisor vendor, similar to your relationship with VMware?
A: No announcements to date. We’re continuing to work with all the hypervisor vendors. We are interested in virtualized data centers and to the extent that hypervisor and virtualized servers exist in the data center we think that’s a very powerful construct for customers and one that’s going to take network support.
McCool didn’t say “no” but “no announcements to date”.
Despite we try to not read too much into such short sentence the selection of words is rather interesting.