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Cisco Energizes the Channel with User-Centric, Software-Only UC Licensing

September 4th, 2012

Cisco announced some big changes to its UC licensing portfolio last week at its virtual sales conference, GSX, reports Roberto De La Mora, senior director, Unified Communications Platforms & Endpoints, Worldwide Collaboration Solutions Marketing is his blog Stocking the Collaboration Toolbox with the Right Tool for Every Job. The new licensing model is effective with the 9.0 release of Cisco’s Unified Communications Manager (CUCM 9.0), originally announced in June with GA scheduled for Q3 CY2012. The changes are responsive to customer requests for a more simplified, flexible and cost-effective UC licensing structure – one that’s easily aligned with customer’s business models and the way the workspace is changing. In the words of Richard McLeod, Cisco senior director, collaboration sales, worldwide partner group: “Number one, it’s user-based in nature,” “Number two, it’s greatly simplified in terms of partner ability to design and quote. This is very much business-value-oriented. We’re putting a lot more value and a lot more capabilities into the same price points we had before.”

“Prior to this update,” Roberto De La Mora notes, “getting Cisco UC meant acquiring a license and a Cisco phone. That’s changed; now, Cisco’s UC offerings can be managed and deployed as a true software platform. While many will still choose to start with a hardware phone, others will choose another device, like a PC, a tablet or even a smartphone as their main communication and collaboration tool. It is now up to you.”

Decoupling UC licensing from the phone is great news to the channel. It a game changer because it opens a pathway for partners to have a serious business discussion with business unit leaders about driving higher productivity from their workforce through better collaboration experiences, while protecting and leveraging their current investments. This approach is, of course, fully consistent with the release of the Extend & Connect capability of CUCM, 9.0 which brings third-party phones into the Cisco UC environment. This feature offers those enterprise customers migrating to CUCM 9.0 an opportunity to leverage their existing investments further without compromising the ability of their employees to benefit from new UCC capabilities.

Moreover, according to BroadSoft’s 2011 Mobile Enterprise of the Future Study, 44 percent of the firms surveyed said they have at least one-quarter of their workforce operating solely using a mobile phone. In fact, 73 percent of respondents in the study expect mobile devices to replace office phones, with 60 percent expecting the transition to happen in the next five years.

The Cisco User-Centric Model

Cisco’s licensing stack changes build on the “Jabber for everyone” foundation laid in April wherein customers with release 7.1 and above of CUCM got Jabber IM and presence software at no extra charge. Cisco UC 9.0 licensing includes:

Cisco Unified Workspace Licensing (CUWL) provides the most popular bundles of Cisco collaboration applications and services. It includes soft clients, applications server software, and licensing on a per-user basis. Cisco Unified Communications Software Subscription (UCSS) is required to enable access to major software upgrades.

Cisco User Connect Licensing (UCL) is a per-user based license for individual Cisco UC applications that includes the applications server software, user licensing, and a soft client. Depending on the type of device and number of devices required, UCL is available in Essential, Basic, Enhanced, and Enhanced Plus versions. Cisco Unified Communications Software Subscription (UCSS) is recommended to enable access to major software upgrades.

Cisco will now offer CUCM 9.0 customers a user-centric licensing model offering simpler licensing bundles designed for the way users work and collaborate today. Three worker types have been targeted:

  • Mobile Workers – Individuals who have basic UC needs and primarily work from company-provided office locations are the target for the two Enhanced and Enhanced Plus UCL licenses. They each include a soft client, applications server software, and user licensing. Enhanced UCL includes UC applications for a single device ($210), whereas Enhanced Plus allows for two devices ($295). These licenses also provide on-premise IM/P software for the entire organization.
  • Information Workers – Individuals who need to stay connected and occasionally from more than one work location are the target for the Standard CUWL license which includes call control, voice messaging, and unified clients. Licenses are priced at $325 and enable the Jabber mobile and desktop client, Unity Connection Messaging and multiple devices. Jabber IM/P is also included and may be deployed as a one-year subscription in the cloud or as a perpetual license on premises.
  • Power Users – Road warriors requiring the most advanced UC functionality, including realtime collaboration accessed via multiple devices, are the target for the Professional license at $500. CUWL Professional includes all features in CUWL Standard plus WebEx Meetings, the WebEx Social enterprise collaboration platform (formally Quad), and contact center capabilities. Each WebEx solution may be deployed as either a one-year subscription in the cloud or as a perpetual license on premises.

The multiple platform and device attributes of the UC 9.0 licensing portfolio give partners a distinct BYOD competitive edge. They are summarized in the table below.

Cisco Unified Communications 9.0 Licensing Portfolio*

bullet_image

bullet_image

bullet_image

bullet_image

checkmark_image

WebEx Meetings

bullet_image

bullet_image

bullet_image

bullet_image

checkmark_image

WebEx Social

bullet_image

bullet_image

bullet_image

checkmark_image

checkmark_image

Unity Connection

N/A

N/A

checkmark_image

checkmark_image

checkmark_image

Jabber Mobile

N/A

N/A

checkmark_image

checkmark_image

checkmark_image

Jabber Desktop

checkmark_image

checkmark_image

checkmark_image

checkmark_image

checkmark_image

Jabber IM/Presence

Single

Single

Single/Dual

Multiple

Multiple

# of Device Support

Analog/Voice

Voice

Video

Video

Video

Device Type Support

1

1

1

1

1

# of User Profile
UCL Essential UCL Basic UCL
Enhanced/

Enhanced
Plus

CUWL
Standard
CUWL
Professional
License Type

*checkmark_imageIncluded, bullet_imageAdd-On

Easier access to Jabber and video can be leveraged by partners to upsell accelerated adoption of high value WebEx Meetings, WebEx Social and attendant pro services. Historically, partners had felt that Cisco wasn’t putting sufficient marketing effort behind its collaboration portfolio to get on the social networking radar of their clients. But that changed this past June when Cisco introduced WebEx Social(formally Quad) for Mobile Devices, Email and Business Productivity Applications. The inclusion of WebEx Social in CUWL Professional and its availability as an add-on elsewhere offers partners a great opportunity to leapfrog Microsoft on this important issue.

Enterprise Licensing Manager

Cisco has also added a new management tool – the Enterprise Licensing Manager (ELM) – as part of the CUCM R9.0 platform to do automatic and dynamic licensing management for customers. Enterprise License Manager handles licensing fulfillment, supports allocation and reconciliation of licenses across supported products, and provides enterprise-level reporting of usage and entitlement. The new tool is available to both customers and partners for free. With ELM, customers can easily move, change, and remove existing licenses and order new ones, while keeping an eye on user requirements as their collaboration needs evolve. This new software permits “temporary licensing on demand.” Customers are allowed to deploy more services than they are actually entitled for. They can take care of business and then go back through the normal procurement process to get the required permanent licenses.

ELM saves customers time and money, eases compliance and speeds deployments. It’s unique in the market and a real differentiator that partners can leverage to keep in touch with customers for upsell and cross-sell opportunities.

Shopaholic Cisco buys Virtuata

July 17th, 2012

Cisco’s recent acquisition of Virtuata may be a sign of things to come.

Cisco added to its long list of acquisitions after recently plucking off Silicon Valley-based Virtuata. Virtuata is a provider of virtual machine and cloud security and will be incorporated into Cisco’s data center group, which is run by former Q-Fabric chief David Yen. No financial details were given but the company only has 15 people, so it’s likely to be a relatively small deal for Cisco.

This is typical of Cisco, which either buys large, market-leading firms like Tandberg or WebEx, or very small technology companies that can be dropped into existing business units. Considering the Obama administration has yet to grant a repatriation holiday, and is unlikely to prior to the election, this is likely to be what we will continue to see from Cisco regarding domestic acquisitions.

This move makes sense for Cisco for a number of reasons. First, security remains the biggest inhibitor to cloud and virtual environments, so adding a security product into the mix makes total sense. Virtuata is also a technology company, making integration into Cisco’s existing products such as its Unified Computing System (UCS) and Nexus-based Fabric much easier than if it had been a product company with a large install base.

There’s clearly a land grab going on for share in the data center market today, with the likes of Cisco, IBM, Dell and HP going at one another. This helps Cisco plug a hole that could let another competitor in. Also, since Cisco is ahead of the competition in data center infrastructure, it certainly behooves Cisco to do what it can to help customers accelerate the deployment of a cloud infrastructure. Virtuata will definitely help with some of the security concerns.

Does this solve all of a customer’s concerns with cloud security? Obviously not, but cloud security is more a long journey than anything. As the market adapts, I fully expect Cisco to continue where it needs to fill product gaps. The company’s ability to execute on acquisitions is one of the reasons it continues to stretch its lead over HP, which is still trying to figure out its product strategy after some of the larger acquisitions it’s made.

The IT landscape continues to change faster than ever before, particularly in the data center sector. I fully expect to see much more M&A activity, particularly from Cisco and Dell as they seem to be the most aggressive of the companies that live below the hypervisor.

Cisco’s $5 billion purchase of NDS expected to be approved by EU

July 17th, 2012

BRUSSELS — San Jose network equipment maker Cisco (CSCO) is expected to gain unconditional EU approval for its $5 billion purchase of TV software developer NDS after regulators indicated the deal would not pose any serious competition concerns, a person familiar with the matter said on Friday.

The NDS acquisition will be Cisco’s biggest deal and comes after its $3.3 billion purchase of Norwegian conferencing company Tandberg in 2009.

NDS is 51 percent owned by private equity fund Permira and the rest by News Corp.

“At this point, the Commission has not expressed any serious concerns on any particular issues to the parties,” said the person, who declined to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter.

The European Commission has set a July 23 deadline for a decision.

The purchase of NDS will extend Cisco’s presence in emerging markets such as China, where CCTV is an NDS customer, and India where TataSky is also a client.

NDS’ other users include BSkyB and Sky Italia in Europe, and Cablevision, Comcast and Rogers Communications in North America.

NDS’ software allows cable and satellite TV companies to deliver encrypted content through televisions and other devices. Cisco’s core business is routers and switches that manage Internet traffic.

Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CSCO) Moves Up After Analyst Maintains Buy Rating

July 17th, 2012

Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CSCO) closed up on Friday after an analyst at Sterne Agee kept their buy rating on the stock. However, the price target was reduced to $23 a share from $27, said Shaw Wu in a research note on Friday. The analyst said Cisco expects weak demand trends and longer sales cycles, but the company has raised their presence in the market.
Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu said that Cisco is an underappreciated turnaround story comparable to what EMC Corporation (NYSE:EMC), International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM) and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) have shown in the past.
In other news, the San Jose network equipment maker is reportedly predicting to win unconditional EU approval for its $5 billion purchase of TV software developer NDS after regulators provided a sign that the deal would not cause any serious rivalry issues.
At the close of the trading day, Cisco Systems, Inc (NASDAQ:CSCO)shares rose +2.07% to settle at $16.31. Intraday trading was between $15.98 – $16.37. In the past year, the stock has traded within a range of $13.30 – $21.30. The last session’s volume of 24.55 million shares was down from the average daily trading volume of 37.21 million shares.
Alcatel Lucent SA (ADR) (NYSE:ALU) shares were down -2.05% to close at $1.43. The stock traded between $1.41 – $1.46 during the last trading session. In the last 12 months the shares have traded between $1.39 and $5.27. The last session’s volume of 22.05 million shares was a bit lower than their average daily trading volume of 13.00 million shares.
Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ) shares in the last session were down -1.91% closing at $18.98. The stock traded in a range of $18.77 – $19.20. In the last year the stock has moved within a range of $18.77 – $37.70. The last session’s volume of 30.57 million shares was down from their average daily trading volume of 17.31 million shares.
Another rival company Juniper Networks, Inc (NYSE:JNPR), traded down -0.07% moving to $14.50. Intraday trading recorded the stock price in a range between $14.44 – $14.71. In the previous 52 weeks the price has traded between $14.17 – $32.17. The last session’s volume of 5.34 million shares was up from their average daily trading volume of 187.80 million shares.

CISCO Backs Business Transformation

July 16th, 2012

CISCO Systems, a leading Information Technology and Communication (ICT) solution provider, in collaboration with Global Information Technology Solutions Limited Ghana, is supporting businesses to achieve outstanding value for their investment by embracing ICT.

The move is to help businesses and government agencies to connect and improve their business values from their investment in ICT.

CISCO is known for creating convergent platforms for businesses and government agencies to attain dexterity in their operations.

The two organizations yesterday introduced their services to players in the financial, mining, oil and gas, utility as well as government institutions including Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA) through at a day’s conference in Accra.

The participants were taken through how they could improve their customer experience by accelerating product and service delivery.

There was also a demonstration of how businesses and institutions could advance their operations by integrating their delivery channels, streamlining their operations and matching expertise with consumer needs in real time.

Mustapha Ahmed, Deputy Minister of Environment, Science and Technology, who was the guest of honour at the workshop, noted that the process of business transformation is an ongoing journey that begins with the need to mobilize executive leadership to re-define the organizational strategy in prevailing conditions or “in the direction of new goals and objectives.”

He gave the assurance that government had set in motion a number of initiatives to fast track development of the ICT sector.

“Almost all businesses in Ghana need some level of transformation if we aspire to catch up with businesses in other parts of the world.

He stated that though technology plays an essential role in the transformation of businesses “the underlying condition and successes of any business transformation has always been attitudinal change of the people involved.”

Abdul-Bassit Ibrahm Munagah, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Global Information Technology Solutions, stated that the operational principle of his outfit is to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of businesses by embracing technology.

Jideofor Onwuemelu, Territory Business Manager in charge of Commercial Business in Ghana and Nigeria at CISCO, said governments around the world were exploring new ways of doing things in order to cope with the challenges of globalization, economic uncertainty, emerging technologies and a more connected citizen base.

“We provide two factor solutions to some of these challenges, connecting people and maximizing proactive resources in radically new ways.”

New CDW Cloud Collaboration Solution Helps Organizations Move Communications to the Cloud

July 16th, 2012

CDW Offers Cisco Hosted Solution to Ease IT Staff Workload While Enhancing Collaboration With Colleagues and Customers

 

VERNON HILLS, Ill., Jul 16, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) — CDW LLC (CDW), a leading provider of technology solutions to business, government, education and healthcare, today announced its new CDW Cloud Collaboration solution. CDW, a Cisco Gold Certified Partner, will host the new offering in its own facilities and will combine Cisco’s collaboration platforms with CDW professional services to provide customers the security and personalization of a traditional, on-premise communications solution with the flexibility, scale and economics of a cloud solution.

Most organizations understand the value of collaboration technologies such as voice and video conferencing, voicemail or customer collaboration platforms, but many lack the deep technical expertise and staff resources to successfully deploy and manage them. With CDW’s Cloud Collaboration offering, users can focus on critical business responsibilities and customer needs with peace of mind, knowing that CDW is behind them to deliver a strategic collaboration solution from design to implementation to management.

“The way organizations work is changing, with employees no longer confined to working in the same physical location and customers increasingly involved in product and service development. As a result, collaboration technology needs are evolving,” said Christine Holloway, vice president of converged infrastructure solutions, CDW. “Today, organizations need new technologies that increase efficiency, accommodate a dispersed workforce and integrate customer communications, while freeing up IT staff to work on other projects. Built upon industry-leading technology from Cisco, CDW Cloud Collaboration includes all the features necessary to provide organizations with top collaboration services.”

CDW’s Cloud Collaboration solution, powered by the Cisco Hosted Collaboration Solution (HCS), provides organizations with exceptional flexibility in choosing the way that collaboration applications are deployed. The capability to choose a hosted deployment option can also help organizations deploy collaboration technologies faster, while potentially lowering capital expenditures and operating expenses.

“As enterprises adopt collaboration technologies to quickly connect people with a high level of security to the resources and information they need to get work done, many businesses are requiring cloud solutions and looking for options from partners,” said Richard McLeod, senior director, Worldwide Partner Collaboration Sales at Cisco. “Based on Cisco HCS, CDW Cloud Collaboration provides customers with the flexibility to have collaboration applications delivered to them as services, with ongoing support and management provided by CDW.”

CDW Cloud Collaboration is supported by a dedicated team of CDW solution architects and engineers, and each client will have its own highly secure, virtualized private intranet hosted in CDW’s facilities. Partnering with Cisco helps ensure that CDW Cloud Collaboration meets a proven quality standard, with CDW’s expert team ready to support implementation and management. CDW holds Cisco Master Certifications in unified communications, managed services and security, and the CDW team includes more than 600 Cisco certified engineers, including more than 50 with the CCIE certification – the highest technical certification offered by Cisco. Further demonstrating CDW’s deep knowledge, Cisco recently named CDW its Global Partner of the Year – Americas and awarded the company its U.S. Nationals Architectural Excellence Award for Collaboration.

About CDW

CDW is a leading provider of technology solutions for business, government, education and healthcare. Ranked No. 270 on the FORTUNE 500 and No. 32 on Forbes’ list of America’s Largest Private Companies, CDW was founded in 1984 and employs more than 6,800 coworkers. For the trailing twelve months ended March 31, 2012, the company generated net sales of $9.8 billion. For more information, visit www.CDW.com .

Got Servers? Check Out Cisco and Microsoft Fast Track

July 16th, 2012

Cool technology — be it a server system, a network switch or a fancy storage unit — is of no value to you as a channel partner if the technology is too difficult to implement or operate, or is fraught with support issues. Any of these aforementioned difficulties could possibly cut into your profitability and also hamper your relationship with your customer.

As Cisco continues to ramp up our Microsoft solutions we are partnering more closely with Microsoft in its Fast Track programs, which help to eliminate some of these issues and provide a higher level of confidence and trust via validated (by Microsoft) reference architectures. Most recently we submitted Cisco’s Microsoft Private Cloud offering. Fast Track, in this instance, is defined by Microsoft as:

MICROSOFT PRIVATE CLOUD FAST TRACK is a reference architecture for building private clouds that combines Microsoft® software, consolidated guidance, and validated configurations with Cisco® technologies—including compute, management, network, and storage—as well as value-added software components.

Built on the Windows Server® 2008 R2 Hyper-V® technology and Microsoft System Center solutions, Microsoft private cloud offerings can help customers and service providers build dedicated infrastructure as a service (IaaS) environments that transform the way they deliver IT services. Specifically, Microsoft Private Cloud Fast Track solutions provide a turnkey approach to delivering scalable, preconfigured, and validated infrastructure platforms for on-premises private cloud implementations. With local control over data and operations, IT can dynamically pool, allocate, secure, and manage resources for agile IaaS. Likewise, business units can deploy line-of-business applications with speed and consistency using self-provisioning (and decommissioning) and automated data center services in a virtualized environment.

Fast Track from Cisco and Microsoft delivers an in-depth prescriptive reference architecture that has been tested by Cisco and validated by Microsoft. Fast Track provides you the opportunity to benefit with a faster deployment, reducing your risk, and delivering the power and flexibility of Cisco UCS to your customers. With all the new products coming from Microsoft over the next few months – Windows Server, System Center – take a look at Fast Track. It may save you time and money.

See How Cisco Systems Ranks Among Analysts’ Top Dow 30 Picks

July 16th, 2012

A study of analyst recommendations at the major brokerages shows that Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASD: CSCO) is the #16 broker pick, on average, out of the 30 stocks making up the Dow Jones Industrial Average, according to ETF Channel. Despite being ranked lower than the median among analyst picks of the Dow, Cisco Systems, Inc. ranks better than the median among analyst picks for the broader S&P 500 index components, claiming the #213 spot out of 500.

In forming this rank, the analyst opinions from the major brokerage houses were tallied, and averaged; then, the underlying components were ranked according to those averages. Investors often interpret analyst opinions from different angles — when companies have a low rank among analysts, it isn’t necessarily the case that investors should conclude that the stock will perform poorly. It can, of course, but a bullish investor could also take the contrarian angle and read into the data that there is lots of room for upside because the stock is so out of favor. Click here to find out 15 Forgotten Giants of the S&P 500: Analysts’ Current Least Favorites »

From the other direction, a popular analyst pick could mean that many sharp minds individually came to the same bullish conclusion, and therefore the stock should do well, but it could also mean that if the company stumbles, that would come as a negative surprise.

For these reasons, we at ETF Channel find value to putting together these rankings, because both the top and the bottom ends of the list can often make for some interesting stock picking ideas for further research. Click here to find out The Top 15 Broker Darlings of the Dow: Current Top Analyst Picks »

CSCO makes up 19374.65% of the Active Mega Cap Fund ETF (PMA)

CSCO operates in the Manufacturing sector, among companies like Qualcomm, Inc. (QCOM) which is down about 0.8% today, and Motorola Solutions Inc. (MSI) trading lower by about 0.9%. Below is a three month price history chart comparing the stock performance of CSCO, versus QCOM and MSI.

CSCO,QCOM,MSI Relative Performance Chart

Cisco warns of major vulnerabilities in TelePresence kit

July 16th, 2012

Cisco slipped out four security advisories on Friday warning of serious vulnerabilities in its high-end videoconferencing system – or TelePresence, as it prefers to call it.

The flaws affect versions of Cisco TelePresence Manager, Recording Server, Immersive Endpoint System, and Multipoint Switch, and would variously allow an attacker to crash calls using malformed IP packets in a DDoS attack, perform a code injection attack via the web interface, and/or remote code execution and privilege escalation via the Cisco Discovery Protocol.

Cisco Product Security Incident Response Team said that there was no evidence that any of these vulnerabilities were being used in the wild as yet. They were uncovered after laboratory testing of the software and during normal software security audits.

Videoconferencing is one of those “always the bridesmaid, never the bride” technologies, and yourReg reporter remembers getting press releases in 1994 talking about how ISDN would make that long-ago time the year that videoconferencing would take off. We’re still waiting, but Cisco has had more success than most with its TelePresence systems, albeit only on the corporate stage.

Cisco did launch a home videoconferencing system, bizarrely dubbed Ūmi, in 2010, but merged it into the business offering last year. Instead, the company is concentrating on videoconferencing using dedicated high-bandwidth connections and advanced cameras to provide corporates with a way to trim those expensive overseas trips.

From an IT manager’s perspective, these flaws need to be fixed fast, since no one on a corporate board likes the idea of their expensive videoconferencing suite turning into a spying system. Cisco has posted patches and is urging all users to update immediately.

Cisco Acquires Virtuata to Secure Virtual-machine Data

July 16th, 2012

Cisco has acquired Virtuata, a privately held developer of technology for securing virtual-machine data in multi-tenant data centers, the company said Monday.

Virtuata helps to isolate each virtual machine from others in the same virtualized data center or cloud environment, Cisco said. It can help to address the security concerns of enterprises or service providers that want to host multiple customers, departments or applications in a single infrastructure. Cisco said the acquisition complements its mission to help customers create unified data centers.

The acquisition was announced in a post on Cisco’s official blog. The purchase price was not disclosed. The former Virtuata team will join Cisco’s Data Center Group, led by David Yen. Virtuata was based in Milpitas, California, nearby Cisco’s hometown of San Jose.

Once a networking specialist, Cisco is now trying to build complete data-center infrastructures through partnerships, acquisitions and internal development, competing against system vendors such as Hewlett-Packard and IBM.