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Cisco ACI: In the market, building momentum. Full suite on schedule for Q2 2014

If you’re a West Coaster who couldn’t quite make it out of bed at 5am last Thursday, or you just didn’t catch the Cisco Financial Analyst Conference in New York, then you might have missed Cisco CEO John Chambers sharing some exciting news about the progress we’re making with the Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure portfolio.

First and foremost, demand for Cisco ACI is terrific and global already. We already have more than 300 customers in our pipeline spanning every geography and every customer segment. Just as with the ramp-up of the world-beating Cisco Unified Computing System, we’re seeing the greatest early adoption in nimble mid-sized businesses. About 30% of our pipeline is in what we call the ‘commercial’ segment here in the US. Another 15% is with the largest US enterprises. 19% of orders are in Asia Pacific and a healthy 13% in EMEAR. In short…EVERYONE wants a piece of ACI!

That type of customer demand will be music to our reseller partners’ ears. Obviously partners are crucial to our success, in the data center (and in everything Cisco does) and we’re making sure the Cisco partner ecosystem is able to accelerate ACI momentum too. In just one month since launch, we have trained 125 partners, and we will train an additional 350 with 1500 engineers in the next six weeks.

It was suggested in some quarters of the media this week that it will take years for the power of ACI to be felt in the market. Knowing the passion and commitment of our partner ecosystem, we’re betting that ACI, both in terms of the building blocks available today, and the full system availability a few months from now, we will make a huge impact much faster than that!

In his address to more than 100 financial analysts in New York, John Chambers also touched on the importance of Cisco ACI’s open ecosystems approach, and the progress we’re making there. Let me re-cap:

Since early November we have established an OpenStack working group which includes Cisco, IBM, Juniper, Intel, Plexxi, Big Switch, and Midokura to develop application-centric Neutron APIs. We also founded an Open Daylight working group with IBM and Plexxi to develop an application-centric API layer, and we’ve created an OpenSource Community Repository here.

Of course, we’re just at the beginning of the journey and there is so much more to come. In the next quarter we plan to release an ACI Python SDK built on the ACI Restful API, an ACI southbound device API, and we’ll release the Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC) simulator to give customers and developers early access to the APIC environment ahead of its full availability in Q2 calendar 2014.

As you can see, we’re off to a good start with Cisco ACI. What customers are telling me is that they are not satisfied with the limitations on network performance at scale, and security that the overlay model of SDN forces upon them. Tightly coupling hardware to software overcomes those limitations.

We invite you to join us on the journey!

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