Cisco's massive user show, Cisco Live, is going on this week in Las Vegas. Padmasree Warrior, Cisco's senior vice president of engineering and CTO sat down with Cisco Subnet editor and blogger Julie Bort. They discussed Cisco's progress since Warrior took the helm as CTO, the reorganization of Cisco's engineering groups, Catalyst vs. Nexus, the so-called Cisco "tax" (its prices vs. the competition), network virtualization, Cisco's toe dipping into the brave new world of open source and the future careers of the Cisco CCIE faithful. What follows is an edited transcript of the interview.
BACKGROUND: A Cisco engineer says changes at Cisco are good
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Network World: What are two or three concrete successes that Cisco has had since you took the CTO helm?
Padmasree Warrior: One was coming up with a strategy for cloud when the industry was still discussing what "cloud" means. We started articulating at Cisco the notion about private clouds, drove the partnership with VMware and EMC, created this whole notion of converged infrastructure. We started on this journey about three years ago, saying it is network, compute, storage coming together, working with VMware and EMC on the Vblock and obviously lots of people from all three companies developing that. Second thing, I would say is really shifting the company more towards an architectural focus, from being just a pure product company.
NWW: What does an architectural focus mean?
Warrior: If you look at data center, nobody really buys specific products anymore. They look at a data center architecture that includes different products and how they are put together. It's not just a switch for the data center, but how applications fit and how does a management stack work on that. In collaboration especially. Cisco had started off as a company that provided different video and voice applications separately. We are now bringing together those sets of products to be more connected and work together.
NWW: Tell me a little bit more about the reorganization that John Chambers touched upon in his keynote today. What is your role and how you think it is going to affect customers?