Last month Cisco Systems unveiled its future. It’s merely a big switch, but if some industry analysts are to be believed, it’s also the first shot in a war to control the data centre.

The supposed weapon is the Nexus 7000, a consolidated data centre core switching system which it hopes will move the company from the heart of the network to the centre of IT decision-making.

Traditionally, that’s where server system builders such as IBM, Hewlett-Packard and Sun Microsystems have reigned. Will the switch or the server be the winner in this battle? It’s not a simple question because data centre design is undergoing a revolutionary change due to virtualization technologies. Some five years from now it will look very different. Exactly what it will look like and how network builders get there is the unknown.

More than just a beefy switch, Nexus is the heart of what

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