Almost two years ago, I wrote The Modernization of Network Software, a perspective published in Software Magazine intended to foreshadow changes underway within networking infrastructure (routing, switching, wireless, etc.) with the transition to software-based models. While I encourage you to read the original article, in summary it covered four topics:
- Networking software becomes independent of hardware
- Software consumption increasingly moves to the cloud
- Emergence of new licensing models, like subscription and enterprise agreements
- Transition to controller-based architectures with open APIs
While the article was written from an industry perspective, it actually outlined the blueprint for Cisco’s journey to modernize our network business strategy.
For example, a little over 2 years ago, we released Cisco ONE Software, a suite-based approach for Cisco’s infrastructure software. These suites can be purchased separately from the underlying hardware, and offer customers Cisco’s advanced technologies. Over time, we’ve expanded the innovation within Cisco ONE, with additions like ACI Fabric, Stealthwatch, and Tetration. Over 18,000 companies are now Cisco ONE Software customers, including 95% of the Fortune 100.
Recently, we launched the Cisco Enterprise Agreement (EA), making it even easier for customers to gain access to the full Cisco software portfolio across their entire infrastructure. Traditionally, customers would purchase individual licenses for our Collaboration, Security, and Infrastructure software in a transaction model. For example, a customer buying five ISR 4000s would purchase five licenses of Cisco ONE Foundation for WAN for those devices. But what if that customer wanted Cisco ONE across all of their routers?
While customers can still purchase individual licenses device-by-device, we’ve made it easier and more attractive using the Cisco EA. With a single contract, customers can access the software for all devices in their environment. The Cisco EA is modular, so a customer could use it for WAN, Access, Data Center, Collaboration, Security, or any combination of these. The Cisco EA also provides attractive financial benefits, like a 20% growth allowance and an industry-leading true-forward provision that unlike typical “true up” provisions, doesn’t penalize customers for growth. Mark Hill’s blog does an excellent job covering these benefits.
So what’s next? We have efforts underway on cloud delivery, software subscriptions, controller-based applications, and bringing more analytics into the network. That will have to wait for my next blog!
All the best,