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The long delay is almost over. On November 6 in New York, Cisco is throwing a party to show off the product created by its startup Insieme Networks
That's when CEO John Chambers will not only talk about the product but will also demonstrate it, reports Network World's Jim Duffy.
The enterprise world had hoped that Cisco would demonstrate the Insieme product back in June, at Cisco's big customer conference. Instead, Insieme's top marketeer, Soni Jiandani, got on stage and talked in vague terms about it.
Sources told Business Insider that the product was running late because the Insieme team was struggling to design the custom chips, called ASICs, for it.
Insieme's ASICs were so far behind schedule that Cisco was going to have to use standard off-the-shelf chips from chip maker Broadcom in its first-generation SDN device, "the same as everyone else," our source told us.
A Cisco spokesperson insisted that the company had always planned to use off-the-shelf chips for the first generation product, so it could take its time developing its own custom ASICs, and said that eventually the product would use custom ASICs that will make it faster or better than competing products.
Meanwhile, Cisco needs to get this product out in the market and fast.
The company is under attack right now from a new technology called software-defined networking (SDN) and Insieme is the magic SDN product that will let Cisco compete.
SDN is a kind of technology that takes the high-end features built into routers and switches and puts them into software that can run on cheaper hardware. Big companies still need routers and switches, but they can buy fewer of them and cheaper ones thanks to SDN.
VMware is being particularly aggressive in pushing SDN to enterprises. Plus Facebook's Open Compute Project recently jumped into the market. And there are a bunch of startups working on it, including one, PlumGrid, from some former prestigious Cisco engineers. Several of these SDN startups have been acquired for many millions by Cisco's competitors nearly the second they had a product ready.
Last April, Cisco invested $100 million to fund the startup as a so-called a spin-in, with the option to buy it outright for another $750 million should its products prove successful.
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