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Overstating the Good: F5 CEO Going a Little Too Far

July 29, 2008 - 2 Comments

While sharing your quarterly results and a look forward is fair play in today’s competitive IT vendor environment, grossly overstating things doesn’t benefit the vendor (and its customers) in the long run.See this recent blog from The VAR Guy, who attended F5’s partner summit in New Orleans recently.Couple points worth noting:”œLess than 10 years ago, the relevant players in the data center were server vendors,” said McAdam (F5 CEO). But the data center market has shifted toward F5 Networks and its network application expertise, he insisted.Hmmm. That means that resellers (and IT buyers) should focus more on F5 (or any other vendors’) load balancers more so than servers and server virtualization?And then there is the issue of honest vendor claims (even if New Orleans can lead to late nights and rough mornings): “At the product level,” McAdam said,”we beat Cisco 99 percent of the time.” Hmmm (again). If F5 wins 99% of the time, and even half the opportunities were competitive (the real % is higher) of the 2500+ ACE customers, then F5 must have 250,000+ units shipped in the last two years since ACE was launched. Hard #’s to back up.So a note to the wise: enjoy the glory of a good quarter and share with your field counterparts, but it helps to stay between the lines, even if that’s in the French Quarter down in New Orleans.

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  1. Mark,This comment may come a bit late, but you have to realize that F5 is still the leader in L4-7 application delivery. Yes, Cisco has become some what of a threat, but competition is the fun part of selling. Agree? I am hardly hearing Netscaler make any noise in this space and that could be due to Google not spending this past year. Just some thoughts, but maybe Cisco should have put in a bid for F5 instead of Finegroud. If that were the case, then I would see no competition for Cisco!!! Just my $.02 cents...

  2. Mark: I think McAdam's point was that F5 wins 99% of the them when F5 is actually part of the competitive bid. A lofty statement, perhaps, but he certainly wasn't suggesting that F5 is part of 100% of all bids, and wins 99% of them.But your critical eye is a welcome addition to The VAR Guy's site. He enjoys healthy debate.