Tired of the Clouds: The other OSS

As the title of this post suggests, I am not talking about open source software; instead I am referring to one-stop-shopping. This was a concept that was popular in the IT industry around the mid 1990’s as big managed service providers attempted to sell enterprises everything the needed to run a WAN; connectivity, hardware, and management. The question is; does cloud computing inherently depend on a single vendor providing network, security, storage, servers, and virtualization?

If you believe the hype regarding Cisco’s California Virtualization Server Blades for their Nexus Switch, then the answer may be yes; at least Cisco’s answer is yes. If you believe IBM’s cloud computing demonstration using IBM, Juniper, and Xen, then the answer may be no; or at least no for now.

Take a tour of any modern datacenter and you will see products from the likes of Cisco, F5, Juniper, Emerson, Teradata, EMC, Sun, NetScout (Network General), Brocade, IBM, HP, Force10, and more as well as newcomers such as Woven Systems and Arista. Could all this specialized gear be replaced by a single vendor? Would even Cisco dare to dream so big?

It seems unrealistic that a single vendor could displace all the pieces of the datacenter puzzle; at least in the immediate future. However, I would never say never as HP is amassing a diversified portfolio with a delivery mechanism in EDS. Additionally, both Cisco and IBM are not that far off themselves needing only a few remaining pieces to complete the puzzle.

What do you think?