Historically, Cisco has been a network hardware vendor, but get ready to see the company in a whole new light when they remodel themselves as a services and applications vendor. As such, the company is planning to release a new set of software tools to let customers monitor and measure network app performance, and has plans to tie all of their enterprise technology into a services model.

The new products, and the company's Services Oriented Network Architecture (SONA) plan, promise to reduce corporate costs and move customers toward virtualised services, including security, voice, mobility, applications, management, processing and storage - with the network as the common facet.
These moves will likely position Cisco in direct competition with the likes of IBM, Microsoft, HP and CA. Cisco does, however, see these moves as paramount in casting the network as the strategic centre for where IT intelligence should reside in enterprises.

"The network will evolve into the platform," CEO John Chambers told a group of 400 financial and industry analysts. "It's the first time in history that technology advances are determining the future business strategies of companies."