Backed by EDS, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Microsoft and Intel, Cisco's Business Ready Data Centre strategy aims to address specific business issues.
Traditionally, Cisco has mainly built and sold network hardware and software. By working closely with system integrators, the company is now looking to offer a comprehensive range of datacentre services tailored to individual business needs.
Lucinda Borovick, an analyst at IDC, said, "To accommodate the growing cost of maintaining datacentres and addressing vulnerabilities and emerging regulatory requirements, enterprises are embracing new approaches to datacentre networking.
She said through its initiative Cisco would be able to offer a mix of technology and partnership to support this user requirement.
To support this, the strategy will cover several areas of computer infrastructure, including storage virtualisation, server consolidation, data replication and support for web services. It also encompasses network automation to improve traffic performance and supports utility computing.
Jonathan Gilad, Cisco solutions manager, datacentre networking, said, "We are approaching the networked phase of the datacentre." He said the Business Ready Data Centre approach would address corporate demands such as optimising storage systems.
Gilad said, "Companies do not want to continually expand their storage capacity when existing systems are only operating at 20% capacity - networked and shared datacentres can help increase utilisation to about 90%."
In the past year, the company has come under pressure to add value to its products. Analyst firm Gartner last year warned that users who relied purely on Cisco connectivity products could end up paying 20% more for their network infrastructure than if they adopted a mix-and-match approach involving other network suppliers.
Clive Longbottom, an analyst at Quocirca, said, "By moving up the technology stack, Cisco wants to be more business-focused."
Through the strategy, Longbottom said the company would now rely more on its partners to get Cisco products into the enterprise.
Hamish Macarthur, an analyst at Macarthur Stroud International, said rather than having an ad-driven reputation of "powering the internet", Cisco's strategy was to "power the enterprise, campus, branch and teleworker too".