Later today Cisco will reveal one of the poorest-kept secrets in industry history with the launch of its unified computing strategy, which hinges on its new blade servers, code-named California.
The launch is expected to shake up the industry in a big way, according to analysts.
The California blade servers will come pre-configured, and partners including business software specialists BMC and Microsoft are expected to be on board. Virtualisation capabilities will come courtesy of Cisco partner VMware.
Cisco chief technology officer Padmasree Warrior said, "We see it as a major inflection point in the datacentre, and companies benefiting from a common architecture linking all datacentre resources together - what we call unified computing.
"We see a market transition as a result of virtualisation. Virtualisation architectures today are very much assembly-required islands [and] silos where the burden of systems integration is on the customer. This increases costs and deployment times while decreasing efficiency," she said.
Warrior claimed Cisco had spotted an opportunity to cut out the manual integration process in favour of a more integrated architecture that would break down these silos.
Cisco has allied itself with the big server players such as Hewlett-Packard and IBM many times in the past to provide the networking components of end-to-end datacentre systems.
However, HP has recently redoubled its efforts around its own networking division, ProCurve. By moving aggressively into the server market, analysts believe Cisco will force massive change on the relationship.
While Cisco's top brass remain fully paid-up converts to the "co-opetition" mantra, it is unlikely that HP and IBM will ever see their partnership with Cisco in quite the same way again.
A version of this story originally appeared on MicroScope.co.uk