Cisco Q4 looking good

Sales tracking ahead of expectations, according to report

Cisco fourth quarter sales are ahead of expectations, according to investment firm Oppenheimer & Co. During its quarterly "channel check" of 37 US and European resellers, Oppenheimer found that data center demand, upgrade activity and reignited projects are boosting business for Cisco in the quarter.

Cisco is not slowed by the economic malaise in Europe and spending held steady as well, Oppenheimer noted in a bulletin on its findings. And things look good heading into Cisco's FY 2011 too:

As for outlook, the channel is nearly as optimistic heading into FY1Q11 citing a robust sales pipeline, resolution of most product shortages and growing UCS traction.

Cisco has 900 UCS customers to date and an annual run rate of $200 million to $250 million for the data center consolidation platform that began shipping a little over a year ago. About 60% of Oppenheimer's channel respondents expect "moderate to high" UCS adoption by the end of the calendar year - that's up from 56%, the firm notes. Seventy-two percent had a "more positive UCS stance" than the prior quarter, "suggesting growing traction." Oppenheimer notes that UCS sales climbed 168% sequentially in Cisco's fiscal third quarter.

Other areas of particular strength for Cisco in Q4 were switching, unified communications, security and the financial and healthcare verticals, Oppenheimer reports.

Twenty-one of the 37 respondents to Oppenheimer's channel check expect sequential sales growth into the October quarter. Only two saw a decrease, resulting in "among the most positive view we've seen," according to the Oppenheimer report: 

A robust sales pipeline supports the channel's bullish view. Product shortages have largely been resolved, though there are still spots of shortages in switching/security.

Cisco reports its Q4 and full year results August 11. Wall Street expects sales of $10.85 billion for the quarter, up 27% over last year.

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