Cisco winning SDN battle: Chambers

Does Cisco want to beat back SDN competitors, or the trend itself?

Cisco CEO John Chambers is claiming victory in the company’s battle with SDN. If you read or listened to his somewhat chilling comments during Cisco’s Q1, FY 2015 quarterly conference call this week, it’s “game over”:

We’re winning big-time on Application-Centric Infrastructure (ACI) and pulling away from the start-up competitors … we are not only pulling away from, I think, while they have news left on the table, I think, it’s game over, I think we have got them.

Cisco now has over 900 customers for its Nexus 9000 switching platform, the hardware underpinning for its ACI response to SDN. Which, depending on what day it is, is either SDN or it is not?

That’s up from 580 customers in Q4, FY 2014:

I give us very high marks on our execution… we are winning the SDN battle with Application-Centric Infrastructure.

And Cisco more than doubled the number of paying customers for the ACI controller, Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC), in the product’s first full quarter of shipments. There were no numbers, however, on how many APIC customers there are.

Cisco also landed 600 new customers for the Nexus 3000 this quarter and saw double-digit order growth from the Nexus 3K, 7K, 9K and ACI combined, Chambers said:

Looking at our performance relative to one of our merchant (silicon)-based competitors making a lot of noise in this market: In Q3 FY ‘14, from a comparison perspective, we saw orders of the Nexus 3K and 9K… pass their total revenue for the first time. In Q1, orders for the Nexus 3K and 9K were approximately 50% larger than their reported total revenues. Yet again, in just one year, we have grown (to) where they had gotten to in the whole history of their company.

So after Cisco’s Q1 2015 results, Chambers and Co. are laughing in the face of SDN and the multivendor networking diversity that it could encourage:

A year ago we were fighting an SDN perception battle, with competitors using PowerPoint instead of products. Today with ACI, we are bringing programmability and automation to networking on a scale well beyond what competitors define as SDN.

Most customers are no longer interested in piecing together disparate infrastructure from different vendors or buying standalone technology. They are digitizing their businesses, their cities and countries and want Cisco to be a strategic partner delivering solutions and business outcomes.

We are going to lead and breakaway from most every player in the enterprise and that applies across all products, including with our Applications-Centric Infrastructure enterprise, which is going great guns.

Is it SDN competitors or the SDN trend itself Cisco would rather defeat? From Chambers remarks, it sounds like the bigger opportunity for Cisco is the latter.

More from Cisco Subnet:

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HP launches SDN App Store

Broadcom unveils 25G Ethernet, SDN optimized chip

Cisco pumping $1 billion more into Intercloud

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Chambers again dashes EMC speculation

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