Cisco's discovery of the "data centre fabric", an abstract connectivity layer that takes in all the LAN, SAN and other network technology that moves data around an organisation, is a useful concept - but one that won't surprise many.

The arguments that a single technology - Ethernet - could do everything from client/server computing through storage networking to clustering, and that IP would trounce its rivals everywhere, were interesting, but they flew in the face of the evidence.

The fact is, no-one wants to be told their multi-million pound investment in Fibre Channel was a waste of money, or that Ethernet will do the job in a high-performance cluster when they know that it won't.

To its credit, Cisco has realised that one network does not fit all, and as a result has adapted not just its marketing message but its technology too - it claims that in future, its Ethernet, Fibre Channel and InfiniBand switches will have consistent management interfaces, with the same tools able to manage all three.

It's a pity it didn't notice it a few years ago, when the rest of us did. But shared management has to be a good thing, not least because it forces us to focus our attention on what we really need to learn about. That is the task at hand - whether it be storage administration or cluster load balancing - not the wire it runs over.