Egenera CEO stresses openness in competing with 'Cisco, Cisco, Cisco'

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CEO Pete Manca says dramatic transition to software focus keeps Egenera in data center sweet spot

Egenera CEO Pete Manca says the company was 10 years ahead of its time in targeting the converged data center infrastructure, but its smooth transition from a hardware-focused company to a software-oriented one in recent years has enabled it to stay in the thick of what's now a booming market pursued aggressively by Cisco, HP and others. As part of our ongoing IDG Enterprise CEO Interview Series, IDGE Chief Content Officer John Gallant spoke recently with Manca about Egenera's strategic shift, its partners and competitors, and a big new product announcement. 

PRODUCT ANNOUNCEMENT: Egenera jumps into cloud management

John Gallant: What's Egenera's mission today?

Pete Manca: The mission from day one, and now we're 12 years old, has been to simplify the data center, and we do that through converged infrastructure. 12 years ago when we were pushing converged infrastructure, everybody kind of scratched their head and said, "What do you mean? What is it?" Now with products like Cisco's UCS [Read Network World's review of UCS], IBM's PureFlex and HP's Matrix there are a lot of examples in the market. But it's really the technology that we invented 12 years ago, and very simply, what it is is the combining of resources connected to a common networking fabric. In our case it's Ethernet, which is really the case for most places now, most vendors. And it's the pooling of storage, networking and server resources so they can be dynamically assembled at the time when you need them. You do that by inventorying your resources with a little magic of virtualization, and not necessarily server virtualization like VMware, but I/O virtualization, really virtualizing the fabric so you can piece together those resources when you need them. It reduces your costs significantly from a hardware point of view, you need less resources, less port counts. It reduces your admin costs significantly because you need fewer people to manage these machines. And it gives you a much more dynamic environment. So our vision, really, is delivering converged infrastructure to the market, helping the customer simplify their data center. The real differentiator for Egenera is we are really the only open converged infrastructure player in the market.

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