Xsigo vs. Cisco: A scandalous disclosure

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By publicly posting and picking apart Cisco's internal analysis of its competition, Xsigo brings WikiLeaks to storage and networking world

Last week, I touched on the challenges in getting the straight story from storage resellers. In the post, I talked about the internal competitive analysis papers that storage vendors use to teach their sales teams to position their products against the competition. These competitive analysis papers are usually distributed within the company, but as a potential customer, you would generally never see one.

No sooner than that entry posted, I received an email blast from Jon Toor, marketing VP for Xsigo Systems, publicizing a blog entry in which Xsigo dissected a Cisco-authored analysis of Xsigo's business and product line.

If you haven't seen a competitive analysis before, here's your chance. As I mentioned last week, they're generally filled with a bunch of selected facts mixed up with some misleading and, in certain cases, false statements. This is important to know. Your salesperson uses a playbook like that.

In this scenario, you not only get to see Cisco's take on Xsigo's corporate stability and a critique of Xsigo's line of converged networking equipment, but you get a view of Xsigo's point-by-point reaction. This is a fun-to-watch, David-vs.-Goliath battle. The mere fact that Cisco authored this hit piece is a huge validation for a relatively young company like Xsigo.

Regardless, this is the first time I've seen a clearly marked internal corporate document picked apart by a competitor in such a public forum. Certainly it's not unusual to see NDAs broken -- that happens all the time. But the parallels to the WikiLeaks debacle are striking. In fact, Xsigo's blog entry opens by saying, "In this era of WikiLeaks, it should be no surprise that information gets out eventually." Truer words have never been spoken.

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