Could the rumors be true about Cisco? They don’t use the WAAS in their own network?

Cisco does not allow the WAAS in any data center? No mobile clients? WOW!!!

I was sent this link below from a CIO, he uses the Cisco WAAS. He asked me if it is true because he could not find any information on the Cisco web site for an Internal Pilot. I told him I was not sure but have heard rumors about it, if it is true that Cisco does not use the WAAS product in their network it would be a bombshell. Think about it for a minute, Cisco and the great marketing machine pulling the wool over everyone's eyes while selling the WAAS to customers.

Last Wednesday I sent an email to Cisco asking if this was true and if someone could get back with me. To my amassment no one has returned my emails. I wonder why Cisco pushes product to customers like the Telepresence and uses it, but not the WAAS.

Going back to the email sent to me by this CIO, they happen to be a company that Cisco has done a case study on and did not seem too happy. They have seen results from other companies using Riverbed pass their own results. I hope he will be reading this blog in the weeks to come as I am sure this will be a big subject for the weeks to come.

I did talk to Riverbed on Friday; I wanted to make sure they use their product in their network. They said the steelhead product is in every office worldwide along with will all remotes users use the mobile client. They are putting together some words for this blog and some results to share with us. I am looking forward to see what they send with the results.

Cisco seems to be on a roll, first not inviting media to "the other conference", now this story. I wonder how they will respond or try to spin it. I have put the blog and also reply below for everyone to read.

Eating our own dogfood

In 1988 an email was circulated internally within Microsoft about the importance of "Eating our own Dogfood."  Usage of the phrase spread not only within Microsoft, but throughout the high-tech industry, where the phrase is commonly used to communicate an important principle.  The principle basically states that any vendor who expects customers to use their products should also be using these products internally, in their own internal IT infrastructure.

As with most other companies in the high-tech industry, Riverbed practices the principle of "Eating our own Dogfood."  With about 1000 employees, Riverbed is a medium-sized company with about 30 office locations around the world.  Every one of those locations have a Steelhead appliance for optimizing WAN connectivity, and every Riverbed employee has a Steelhead mobile software client installed and in use on their laptop or workstation.

However, when it comes to WAAS, Cisco seems to believe the dogfood principle does not apply.  Cisco touts WAAS as a scalable enterprise solution that can be deployed to hundreds of sites.  But they have so far failed to show that they have deployed it at such scale in their own internal enterprise.  Although Cisco believes WAAS is good for their customers, apparently they've been unable to demonstrate how WAAS provides value for their own internal employees.

Any customer considering a significant investment in WAAS should ask Cisco these questions.  How many WAAS devices have been deployed in Cisco's own internal IT network?  Does Cisco have their own operational WAAS deployment that is at least as large as the one that they would propose for your network?

Posted by Josh Tseng on June 16, 2009 at 09:52 AM |


Not sure, if you check facts before posting your blog. Cisco has already done pilot for WAAS inside Cisco and FYI, their pilot is equivalent to your 30 site deployment. Cisco WAAS is deployed in more than 30 site internally. just do a simple search on and you will find the link.

Posted by: App Accelerator | June 16, 2009 at 07:58 PM

Thanks for your comment, but am I supposed to be impressed that Cisco has done internal pilot testing for WAAS? WAAS is now almost 3 years old as a product. Don't you think it's time for WAAS to go beyond the "pilot testing" stage?

Read my blog carefully. My question for you or anyone at Cisco is, has WAAS been deployed in the Cisco's data centers in a manner that optimizes all production TCP/IP traffic? I have checked my sources and the information that comes from within Cisco itself is that no, Cisco's IT team will not allow WAAS into the Cisco's core data centers. That being the case, would you not agree that there is some kind of inconsistency when Cisco attempts to propose WAAS for their customers data centers?

Riverbed has 30 remote sites, and Steelhead technology is used by every one of those sites. You can't expect anything more from Riverbed. In fact, even locally, Riverbed engineers access all of their data through a WAN simulator with Steelheads optimizing their TCP/IP traffic. This ensures that every Riverbed engineer experiences exactly what each of our customers is experiencing.

But if you look at our existing customers who have much larger networks than we do, there are many who have hundreds of Steelheads in their networks. We can even put you in touch with them if you are a prospective customer wanting a reference call.


Posted by: Josh Tseng | June 16, 2009 at 08:51 PM

It is not an apples to oranges comparison. With a network as large as Cisco's, it's quite safe to assume that cut-in of any new technology will go through a substantially-larger proving period when compared to a network that is much smaller in size. Also to assume that ANY organization the size of Cisco will move into production for all sites when your network is as large and complex as Cisco's is foolish. Production pilot within a large organization means the devices are in production, just not deployed to all sites. It doesn't imply that the product is not capable of being deployed to all locations. It means they haven't deployed them all yet.

Posted by: UnfairComparison | June 17, 2009 at 10:07 AM

I would like to understand your concerns, but I fail to grasp why you find my comments so unfair. If Cisco is promoting WAAS for production use in their large customer accounts, many of whom have IP networks that are as large or larger than Cisco's own internal network, then isn't it reasonable to expect that Cisco should also have deployed WAAS in production also? What is so unfair about that?

When you look at Cisco's other mainstream products--Catalyst, MDS, ASA, Aeronet, etc.--all of these products are deployed internally within Cisco for production use. Some products such as Nexus and Telepresence are newer and haven't been available for as long as WAAS, and yet Cisco employees are using them. Only WAAS has the dubious distinction of being left out, unwanted by the Cisco IT team. That includes WAAS mobile, which isn't even available to Cisco employees as an optional software download in Cisco's internal software distribution mechanism.


Posted by: Josh Tseng | June 17, 2009 at 01:44 PM

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