Cisco seen building momentum in Nexus 9K, ACI

Analyst upbeat after EMEA talks; HP feels the love; IBM stepping in for EMC, VCE

Cisco is getting a lift from apparent momentum behind its Nexus 9000 switches and Application Centric Infrastructure fabric. Investment firm UBS boosted its Cisco stock price targets after discussions with EMEA chief Chris Dedicoat yielded numbers UBS found encouraging.

Cisco has 900 – 1,000 Nexus 9000 customers and 120 customers for ACI and its Application Policy Infrastructure Controller as of fiscal Q1, according to UBS analyst Amitabh Passi, based on his talks with Dedicoat chronicled here in Barron’s. Passi senses increasing confidence and momentum in switching, software-defined networking, data center, mobility and ASR 9000 edge routing.

There could be more to come:

While respectable, we are still in the early days of the ACI ramp given Cisco’s installed base of 37k+ UCS and 50k+ Cat-6k customers.

Cisco’s expected to announce its 1,000th Nexus 9000 customer and 100th APIC customer next week at the Cisco Global Editors Conference in San Jose.

+MORE ON NETWORK WORLD: Cisco winning SDN battle: Chambers+

HP might be coat tailing Cisco’s switching momentum. According to Data Center Knowledge, HP has busted open its converged infrastructure systems to support Cisco top-of-rack switches.

Until recently, the HP cloud systems only supported HP Networking switches. But the company is now offering customers the Cisco option based on the ubiquity of Cisco switches in global data centers.

HP and Cisco have turned from partners into fierce competitors over the past five or six years due to Cisco’s insertion into the data center server market with its Unified Computing System platform, and HP building up its networking portfolio through the acquisition of 3Com. HP went so far as to remove all of its Cisco networking gear from its own data centers.

The same partner/rival dynamic appears to be afflicting Cisco and EMC. Shortly after winding down its investment in and virtually exiting the VCE integrated infrastructure joint venture with EMC, Cisco has allied with IBM to offer an integrated infrastructure platform combining UCS with IBM’s Storwize storage system.

The resultant VersaStack system is targeted at cloud, big data and analytics, and mobility deployments. Over time, VersaStack will be optimized for IBM business applications and integrate Cisco ACI and Intercloud Fabric. It will be sold through both companies global channels, and Cisco and IBM said they will look to introduce additional reference architectures over time.

Now that Cisco’s stake in VCE has been whittled down to 10%, EMC and VCE are expected to embrace non-Cisco networking technologies in their integrated infrastructures as well.

All’s fair in love and war.

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