VMware narrowing SDN gap with Cisco

Not quite 2:1 adoption rate for ACI like last fall, but close

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VMware is closing the SDN gap with Cisco ever so slightly. Last fall saw Cisco with a 2:1 edge in customer adoption but the most recent numbers fall just a hair below 2:1.

Even though Cisco’s second fiscal 2016 quarter saw switching revenue decline 4% and data center revenue dip 3% due to a pause in customer spending, the company actually gained Nexus 9000 and ACI customers in the quarter.

Cisco says Q2 saw 1,100 new Nexus 9K customers for a total installed base of almost 6,100. ACI gained nearly 300 new customers, bringing the company’s total to over 1,400 since it began shipping in August, 2014.

By comparison, SDN rival VMware saw a threefold increase in the number of paying customers for its NSX network virtualization product from 2014 to 2015, to 1,200. VMware NSX began shipping in Q4 of 2013.

So VMware is signing up between 44 and 48 NSX customers per month, while Cisco is gaining 82 customers per month for ACI.

VMware said it also saw a 5x increase in production NSX customers in 2015, to more than 250. And in Q4 of 2015, nine of the top 10 VMware deals included NSX, the company says.

We are still awaiting an update from Cisco on the number of production ACI users. Last fall it was 150 out of 1,000.

UPDATE: Cisco now has over 500 production ACI customers, according to a company spokesperson.

NSX is on a $600 million annual run rate, according to VMware, while Cisco’s data center triumvirate of Nexus 9000/3000/ACI doubled year-over-year in Q2 to clock a $2 billion run rate.

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