Good read on the back of the recent WSJ article by Andreessen about 'Software eating the world'. The post makes the case that Cisco is 'doomed' on the basis that 'If the output of your hardware is information or the manipulation of information then you are going to get eaten. If the output is something else then you are not.'
With Intel buying Fulcrum, Vyatta and other virtual networking plays entering this space, the current method of buying hundreds and thousands of standalone firewalls, load balancers, switches, routers, WAN accelerators, VPN boxes, SSL terminators etc. as seperate appliances is going to start looking antiquated quickly. There will be exceptions where dedicated single purpose hardware is still required but even those exceptions are shrinking.