Cisco’s webinar with Morgan Stanley on SDN strategy

June 12, 2012 - 2 Comments

On May 30th, David Ward, Vice-President and Chief Architect/ CTO of our  Service Provider group, and I  sat down with Ehud Gelblum of Morgan Stanley, where we shared our perspectives on Software-Defined-Networking and our strategy to address the same at a high level. You can access the replay here on our investor relations website.

We discussed the diverse set of requirments that we are seeing across our customer base, what Cisco’s vision was with multi-layered programmability, and where emerging concepts like SDN and protocols like OpenFlow fit in the scheme of that vision.

Something we continue to encounter is the lack of clarity around definition around these concepts. We shared a few definitions, many of which are the current industry definitions as framed by standards bodies and consortiums. Cisco is strongly plugged in and leading several of these initiatives across various standards bodies.

Time will tell how these definitions evolve.

We also shared some of our customer insights on this topic, which provided very interesting data points on the diverse set of requirements around network programmability.  Understanding the use-cases is especially important.  We see requests for SDN/OpenFlow mostly coming in from Universities for research purposes and experimental deployments.  Others customer segments have varied requirements for programmability whether it be through OpenStack, or rich set of APIs, or automation.  Clearly there is no “one-size that fits all”.  This helps put a very broad set of customer requirements across various segments into perspective – an advantage due to Cisco’s installed base here.

We also discussed about standards and standards-bodies. We’re very actively plugged-in, contributing to and leading several efforts across all of these bodies including at Open Network Foundation and at the OpenStack initiative. Many of these new standards bodies and consortiums are just beginning to engage with the main standards bodies like IEEE, IETF and ITU that drive the Internet standards today. We expect a process of rationalization in this process as these different groups establish channels of communication and sort of where different elements fit within their charters.

I encourage you to listen to the webinar and share your perspectives.  We have had good feedback on these webinars as and our strategy in general. Several investment banking research reports have come out that appreciate the pragmatic approach and strategy.  Some address the perception of commoditization directly.  Deutsche Bank for example put out a statement to this effect…”We share a more pragmatic view, noting that Cisco (for example) is likely to view SDN as a TAM expansion opportunity…” Similar sentiments have been expressed by other investment banking firms that realize that Cisco is in a unique position to harness the intelligence in the network, tie it into analytics and policy engines and help drive strong business value. 

For those attending Cisco Live, San Diego, or watching it online at, try and tune in to Cisco CTO  Padmasree Warrior’s keynote at 10AM on the 13th of June. Or tune into the press conference.  We will get into the next level of details. A recorded version of it will also be available if you are unable to make it.

Stay tuned and keep networking 🙂


Shashi Kiran

In an effort to keep conversations fresh, Cisco Blogs closes comments after 60 days. Please visit the Cisco Blogs hub page for the latest content.


  1. Will it be possible to view the webinar at a later point, or is it only possible to view it live?