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Cisco execs blindside themselves with flash-splash Invicta UCS array

Pity the poor techie who had to explain it to them

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Blocks and Files Sources indicate that Cisco’s top execs blundered when they thought the UCS Invicta all-flash array wouldn’t compete with flash arrays from partners EMC and NetApp because it was integrated into the UCS server fabric.

Our people suggest that they didn’t understand, when given UCS Invicta integration information by lower-level execs, that such integration was merely common UCS server and Invicta array management and UCS server-based Invicta array controllers.

The array still links to UCS servers via a network link – Ethernet or Fibre Channel – and still provides flash storage resources to a bunch of servers over these network pipes, just like EMC's XtremIO array and NetApp’s EF540/550 and coming FlashRay.

The top Cisco execs didn’t realise this and so the company went ahead with a quiet launch (no press release, etc) of the UCS Invicta arrays around its Cisco Live event in Milan.

But, once said execs and Cisco marketing people realised what we realised – that the UCS Invicta was basically a standard networked all-flash array and competed with VCE and FlexPod partners EMC and NetApp’s own products – a rejig took place. Product-specific webpages were taken down and a planned webcast was canned.

Cisco has said nothing in answer to queries. EMC has said nothing. NetApp has said it doesn’t envisage FlexPods using its all-flash arrays.

It appears the John Chambers-led juggernaut has careered into a deep flash hole and somehow has to climb out without alienating its two main storage partners, meaning eating a large portion of humble pie, and without making its $415m Whiptail investment a waste of cash. ®

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