Recently, bloggers have alternately compared the Catalyst 6500 to the fifteen-year old car they finally got rid of and to a super soldier for the new millennium. Which is it? Being a Cisco employee, I might be a bit biased. And, being a car guy, I’m really tempted to pick apart the old car analogy, but I think my Detroit roots might start to show. And that’s not what this is about. So let’s look at old device vs. established platform.
Cisco Live: Catalyst 6500 and Sup2T: Engaging attendees with Mobile Devices
With the launch of the Sup2T supervisor, and associated line cards (69xx), for the Catalyst 6500 Family Switches, Cisco embarked on an innovative strategy to help attendees learn about the features of the Catalyst 6500 family of switches, by providing a simple “Trivia Game” that attendees could play by downloading a Catalyst 6500 Mobile app, directly to their mobile devices.
Over 780 attendees completed the trivia game on iPhones and iPads, and each day at Cisco Live, three “winners” were randomly picked from all the attendees who had answered the most trivia questions correctly.
The mobile app, available at the iTunes app store, was a huge success, especially with its contextual set of features and content, centered around the Catalyst 6500 family of switches.
When I demonstrated Cisco’s newest network management technologies in my keynote address at Cisco Live last week, there were gasps and applause from the audience as they saw the difference between our next generation technology and the technology our competitors are touting as ‘good enough’.
The technologies I demonstrated (Cisco Prime, UCS Manager and the Cisco Virtual Switching System) are the great results of the more than $5 billion that Cisco invests in R&D on an annual basis. Cisco spends more on R&D than all of our networking industry peers combined and, for the record, we invest five times more (on a percentage of revenue basis) than the next largest networking vendor.
However, what’s more important than the size of our R&D budget is its impact and I’m proud to say that the Patent Board today recognized Cisco as the #1 innovator among 141 companies in its annual Telecom and Communications industry scorecard. Cisco ranked #1 for both the number of patents granted, as well as for the overall strength of the company’s patent portfolio, which is a combined measure of quality and quantity.
That’s a tremendous accomplishment, and I am very proud of our fantastically talented engineers. Credit is particularly due to Cisco Senior Vice President of Research and Advanced Development, Joel Bion, for his tremendous leadership of our R&D efforts. As I often say, great engineers make innovation look easy.
To our customers the message is also clear: whether it’s the 500 patents earned by the recently refreshed Catalyst 6500 (the world’s most popular switching platform) or those awarded in the creation of our ground-breaking Cisco Cius enterprise collaboration tablet, world-beating innovation is something you can always expect from Cisco.
You can find a comprehensive analysis of the Patent Board’s latest Telecom and Communications industry scorecard in the Wall Street Journal (password required).
There is a large installed base of Catalyst 6500 series switches in the US Public Sector Community. Cisco continues to protect this investment by developing new capabilities to enable the Borderless Networks of the future. The innovation in the new “Sup2T” triples the performance of the existing 6K platforms. You can hear Host Jennifer Geisler speak with Kumar Srikantan, Vice President of Product Management for the Scalable Networks Business Unit , discuss the Catalyst 6500.
Cisco doesn’t usually weigh in on rumor, speculation, or just plain nonsense, but we simply had to address some blatantly misleading information that HP has been sharing with customers and reporters in the wake of Cisco’s industry-changing Catalyst 6500 announcement of earlier this week. I’m a big fan of Dragnet, so in the style of Detective Sergeant Joe Friday, let’s talk about “Just the facts”:
First, Cisco emphatically stands behind the claim of 3x the performance at 1/3 the price when you compare a simple upgrade of Catalyst 6500 versus HP’s A9500. HP is suggesting we should instead be comparing the Catalyst 6500 against their replacement platform, the A10500. We’re perfectly happy to do this but we found it’s really hard to do a comparison with a product that doesn’t yet exist. Don’t believe us? Go look at the HP web site. You won’t find any details to support HP’s claims. Yes, HP did ‘launch’ the A10500 in May, but it still hasn’t been posted to their configuration tool, nor does it appear anywhere on their networking product pages. So is the A10500 real, or is it just marketing until it gets off the factory floor?
Second, HP’s claim that the E-Series has only been around for months is incorrect. The Catalyst 6500 E-Series has been in the market for seven years and is in 80 percent of our installed base customer networks. 80 percent! So, for 80 percent of our customers, migrating to the Sup2T really is as simple as a $38,000 list price upgrade. That’s all it takes to get that 3x performance increase, 4x scalability boost, and access to over 200 new software features. Investment protection has always been a key criterion for Cisco and its customers.