The Enterprise Networking team at Cisco got a great holiday present this year. CRN, the voice of the reseller channel, released its Products of the Year feature, and two of our most important initiatives won in their categories. The fact that we won in two giant categories means the world to Cisco, and reflects on the hard work we’re doing here. (I also want to congratulate Cisco’s collaboration team for Webex’ win in its category.)

In the “Networking” category, the entire Catalyst 9000 family won. CRN crowned “Cisco’s Catalyst 9000 Updates” as the top entry, beating out products from HPE, Juniper, Ruckus, and Aerohive. In awarding Cisco this honor, CRN quoted Greg Stemberger, the technical director for NextGen networking at Iron Bow Technologies, who appreciated Cisco’s “phased approach” toward intent-based networking, and the fact that Assurance is “the first step to enabling this intelligent stack.” Stemberger also pointed out that it’s possible to easily slip Cat 9K products into existing networks.

In the critical “Software-Defined Networking” category, Cisco SD-WAN won the top spot, over HPE Aruba, SilverPeak, VMware, and Big Switch. It was not lost on CRN that our strategic acquisition of Viptela allows us to take SD-WAN to over a million installed routers via a software update. More importantly, CRN noted that Cisco SD-WAN dramatically simplifies the implementation and management of wide-area networks.

Intent-Based Networking is the Winner

Separately, these are two great wins. Together, it means even more. It is complete validation of our push to simplify network management while we make networks themselves more robust, agile, and secure.

Our controller-first strategy is letting network operators blend intelligence into network fabrics. No longer do they have to painstakingly troubleshoot individual switches or routers, or worry about reconfiguring campus hardware by hand when business needs change. Cisco’s intent-based networking means that, from the smallest departmental switch to the most critical corporate router, they can manage their networks strategically and holistically.

As I’ve been saying since we kicked off our IBN push in 2017, we are just getting started. In the next few years, new wireless technologies will hit the market that will force our customers to rethink, again, how they architect their networks. At the same time, the movement of a lot of computing resources from traditional colocation providers to the cloud edge will mean that our customers have to reconsider how their operations are interconnected and how they handle the shifting security frontiers.

Our intent-based push across switching, routing, and wireless will make these moves possible and allow our customers to strengthen their security posture while they and improve their competitive agility, in an exciting and shifting technology landscape.

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Scott Harrell

Senior Vice President and General Manager

Enterprise Networking Business