Cisco has always been focused on providing customers with the best innovation, under an umbrella of choice and openness, in our next-generation virtual switching portfolio.

Last month, VMware notified customers of its intention to remove the 3rd Party virtual switch APIs in Update 2 of vSphere 6.5. These APIs allow customers to choose a virtual switch to best fit their unique network and data center requirements. This includes Cisco’s portfolio of AVS, Nexus 1000v, or VM-FEX products, the HPE 5900E, or the IBM DVS 5000v.

Instead, VMware has chosen to close the APIs and the open ecosystem to steer customers to its virtual networking products only. Cisco has deployed virtual switch solutions in thousands of customer networks worldwide. We regret that VMware has chosen to impose such a significant operational burden with challenging timelines for so many customers.

We understand customers need to plan and are eager for more information regarding these changes. Cisco believes customers deserve choice. Customers compare and evaluate Cisco solutions with alternatives, and they choose Cisco based on the merits of our technology, services and support.

In anticipation of VMware’s decision to remove the 3rd party virtual switch APIs, we have been working on a platform-independent solution to bring choice back and to free customers from being locked into the VMWare-only virtual switching option. This solution will provide customers with a high level of consistency and control, extending beyond on-premises VMware vSphere environments.  This solution will also provide a migration path forward for current AVS and Nexus 1000v customers when they upgrade to a vSphere version that does not have the 3rd party vSwitch API.  Cisco will not leave our customers behind.

In the meantime, customers and partners should realize that in the spirit of openness and choice, Cisco ACI-based networks do not limit customers to VMware vSphere or mandate the Cisco AVS in vSphere environments. Cisco ACI delivers advanced network virtualization and microsegmentation with all the major virtualization platforms — Microsoft Hyper-V, KVM, and VMware vSphere. When using ACI with VMware vSphere, customers are free to choose and deploy virtual networking and microsegmentation with the native vSphere Distributed Switch (VDS). In fact, more than half of Cisco ACI customers operate their ACI fabrics with the VMware VDS.

We will continue to share more details on our approach with our account teams and partners in the coming weeks. Thank you for your business and partnership.

Availability disclaimer: Products, features and solutions described herein remain in varying stages of development and will be offered on a when-and-if-available basis. These products, features and solutions are subject to change at the sole discretion of Cisco and neither Cisco nor its suppliers will have any liability for delay in the delivery or failure to deliver any of the products, features or solutions referenced herein.