I just arrived home from a couple of days visiting customers in Asia and I was a little surprised by all the attention around Cisco’s increased competitive posture. It seems some people are surprised Cisco is calling out its smaller networking competitor by name, although I’ve heard few mentions of their Wall Street Journal cartoon advertisements ridiculing Cisco a while back. I guess that didn’t count.
Here’s the issue. If you’re going to claim innovation leadership in networking, you better be prepared to back it up with facts.
What matters most to customers is whether their networking partner is ready right now to help them adapt to, and benefit from, the massive network-centric changes that are transforming their businesses and their customers’ businesses.
My recent trip to Asia provided some great examples of exactly what I’m talking about:
First, Mobility is red hot. Tablet growth is exploding as the shift from the PC to new consumer based devices accelerates. With our service provider customers, the new Mobile Packet Core is THE number one conversation. The Cisco ASR 5000, combined with our CRS-1 and CRS-3, is the most innovative technology available to handle this explosion of mobile data and develop new services to help service providers monetize mobile content.
Twenty of the world’s top twenty five mobile operators are already deploying the Cisco ASR 5000 and this number is only going to increase. We also hear growing interest in Asia for SP Wi-Fi as an alternate method to address the escalating requirements for mobile bandwidth and data services. For sure, there’s a lot of competition for the mobile packet core and SP Wi-Fi, but our smaller competitor from Sunnyvale just doesn’t seem to be relevant in these conversations.
Cloud is on fire as enterprises accelerate their migration to private cloud to capture the economic, operational and agility benefits. In this area Cisco innovations have rocked the industry. Let’s check the facts. From a decade long position of undisputed leadership in data center switching based on our flagship Catalyst family of Ethernet switches, Cisco led the market with the first purpose built data center core switch and operating system, the Nexus 7000 with Cisco NX-OS software. Then we led the market with the introduction of Unified Fabric on the Nexus 5000, the first to consolidate data center networks over FCoE. We also introduced the first data center fabric extension on the Nexus 2000. And the Nexus 1000 was the industry’s first distributed virtual switch for VMware environments. The Nexus 3000 ultra low-latency switch has achieved immediate success in financial services customers and at massively scalable data centers.
Ten thousand Nexus customers and over 70% port share in fixed and modular 10GbE speaks for itself. At latest count, our smaller competitor has referenced six customer trials after two years. Cisco has driven many of these Nexus technology innovations to become industry standards: NCITS FCoE for consolidation of data center networks, IEEE 802.1qbr for data center fabric extension, IETF VXLAN (draft standard) for virtual machine mobility across cloud infrastructures. We remain committed to open standards in data center networking, and open APIs on NXOS. All good stuff, and stay tuned for even more Nexus innovations just around the corner!
I can’t forget Unified Computing, another Cisco Cloud innovation for converging industry standard compute, storage access, network and virtualization as one unified system with enhanced management.
Within two years this platform has achieved the number three market share position in blade servers according to IDC and crossed the billion dollar annual revenue threshold. Why? Unified computing is purpose built for private cloud environments as customers seek higher and higher levels of virtualization with increased security, control and automation. Add to this Cisco’s investments in data center automation software and service catalogues and you get to the real value in Cloud. Our approach to partnering with the top players in Cloud technology, our investments in VCE, the expertise and service capabilities of our partners and SIs who are rapidly embracing this unique approach are all differentiators. Even the entrenched server companies now seem to be following our lead in data center unification.
As we look at the role of the Service Provider in delivering Cloud services, it’s clear they want to develop new, differentiated services for business, governments and small companies that leverage their network investments, both fixed and mobile. That’s why many of our leading global service providers are embracing Cisco’s Hosted Unified Communications Solution, or HCS. It’s a very exciting value proposition: take Cisco’s industry leading Unified Communications software, run it in a virtualized environment on our unified computing system to create a multi-tenant cloud offer that the market really wants. No feature lags and completely compatible with the premise based approach. It’s like the Centrex of Unified Communications. The reason why a dozen global service providers are launching HCS as their primary cloud based collaboration service for business is because it makes sense to customers and leverages the scale of network investments they have already in place. Cloud is about new services and sources of revenue, not just server and storage economics.
Finally, Virtual Desktop Integration (VDI) is exploding. With employees demanding to bring their own consumer devices to work and combine their work and personal applications on the same tablet, enterprise applications that used to run on the PC now need to run efficiently in the cloud. With the highest density VMs in the industry delivered on UCS, Cisco customers are now running virtual desktops cost effectively and at scale. Simple and seamless enterprise class security can be provided by Cisco Any Connect to secure the virtual client and we can leverage the network to maintain application performance and the user experience.
Have you ever tried running voice or video applications on a virtual desktop? It simply doesn’t work, that’s why we’ve developed VXI, a unique innovation that’s more than a virtualized desktop by combining collaborative and video applications that are fundamental to the consumer experience. As it turns out, delivering VXI is a networking challenge solved only with the kind of innovation that Cisco loves to deliver. Our customers get the vision and immediately see the potential.
The industry leader in networking innovation? The vote that really matters is owned by the customer.
Across the board Cisco is delivering networked architectures to help our customers achieve their business goals faster and with less risk. They rely on a company they’ve come to trust with a reputation for delivering. Are we perfect? Of course not! But as Cisco’s chief sales guy I feel pretty good about the innovation hand we’ve been dealt simply because our customers feel good about our innovation, trust our ability to deliver and are asking us to do more with them every day.