Cisco Blogs

The Facts about Innovation Leadership in Networking.

September 19, 2011 - 15 Comments

I just arrived home from a couple of days visiting customers in Asia and I was a little surprised by all the attention around Cisco’s increased competitive posture. It seems some people are surprised Cisco is calling out its smaller networking competitor by name, although I’ve heard few mentions of their Wall Street Journal cartoon advertisements ridiculing Cisco a while back. I guess that didn’t count.

Here’s the issue. If you’re going to claim innovation leadership in networking, you better be prepared to back it up with facts.

What matters most to customers is whether their networking partner is ready right now to help them adapt to, and benefit from, the massive network-centric changes that are transforming their businesses and their customers’ businesses.

My recent trip to Asia provided some great examples of exactly what I’m talking about:

First, Mobility is red hot. Tablet growth is exploding as the shift from the PC to new consumer based devices accelerates. With our service provider customers, the new Mobile Packet Core is THE number one conversation. The Cisco ASR 5000, combined with our CRS-1 and CRS-3, is the most innovative technology available to handle this explosion of mobile data and develop new services to help service providers monetize mobile content.

Twenty of the world’s top twenty five mobile operators are already deploying the Cisco ASR 5000 and this number is only going to increase. We also hear growing interest in Asia for SP Wi-Fi as an alternate method to address the escalating requirements for mobile bandwidth and data services. For sure, there’s a lot of competition for the mobile packet core and SP Wi-Fi, but our smaller competitor from Sunnyvale just doesn’t seem to be relevant in these conversations.

Cloud is on fire as enterprises accelerate their migration to private cloud to capture the economic, operational and agility benefits. In this area Cisco innovations have rocked the industry. Let’s check the facts. From a decade long position of undisputed leadership in data center switching based on our flagship Catalyst family of Ethernet switches, Cisco led the market with the first purpose built data center core switch and operating system, the Nexus 7000 with Cisco NX-OS software. Then we led the market with the introduction of Unified Fabric on the Nexus 5000, the first to consolidate data center networks over FCoE. We also introduced the first data center fabric extension on the Nexus 2000. And the Nexus 1000 was the industry’s first distributed virtual switch for VMware environments. The Nexus 3000 ultra low-latency switch has achieved immediate success in financial services customers and at massively scalable data centers.

Ten thousand Nexus customers and over 70% port share in fixed and modular 10GbE speaks for itself. At latest count, our smaller competitor has referenced six customer trials after two years. Cisco has driven many of these Nexus technology innovations to become industry standards: NCITS FCoE for consolidation of data center networks, IEEE 802.1qbr for data center fabric extension, IETF VXLAN (draft standard) for virtual machine mobility across cloud infrastructures. We remain committed to open standards in data center networking, and open APIs on NXOS. All good stuff, and stay tuned for even more Nexus innovations just around the corner!

I can’t forget Unified Computing, another Cisco Cloud innovation for converging industry standard compute, storage access, network and virtualization as one unified system with enhanced management.

Within two years this platform has achieved the number three market share position in blade servers according to IDC and crossed the billion dollar annual revenue threshold. Why? Unified computing is purpose built for private cloud environments as customers seek higher and higher levels of virtualization with increased security, control and automation. Add to this Cisco’s investments in data center automation software and service catalogues and you get to the real value in Cloud. Our approach to partnering with the top players in Cloud technology, our investments in VCE, the expertise and service capabilities of our partners and SIs who are rapidly embracing this unique approach are all differentiators. Even the entrenched server companies now seem to be following our lead in data center unification.

As we look at the role of the Service Provider in delivering Cloud services, it’s clear they want to develop new, differentiated services for business, governments and small companies that leverage their network investments, both fixed and mobile. That’s why many of our leading global service providers are embracing Cisco’s Hosted Unified Communications Solution, or HCS. It’s a very exciting value proposition: take Cisco’s industry leading Unified Communications software, run it in a virtualized environment on our unified computing system to create a multi-tenant cloud offer that the market really wants. No feature lags and completely compatible with the premise based approach. It’s like the Centrex of Unified Communications. The reason why a dozen global service providers are launching HCS as their primary cloud based collaboration service for business is because it makes sense to customers and leverages the scale of network investments they have already in place. Cloud is about new services and sources of revenue, not just server and storage economics.

Finally, Virtual Desktop Integration (VDI) is exploding. With employees demanding to bring their own consumer devices to work and combine their work and personal applications on the same tablet, enterprise applications that used to run on the PC now need to run efficiently in the cloud. With the highest density VMs in the industry delivered on UCS, Cisco customers are now running virtual desktops cost effectively and at scale. Simple and seamless enterprise class security can be provided by Cisco Any Connect to secure the virtual client and we can leverage the network to maintain application performance and the user experience.

Have you ever tried running voice or video applications on a virtual desktop? It simply doesn’t work, that’s why we’ve developed VXI, a unique innovation that’s more than a virtualized desktop by combining collaborative and video applications that are fundamental to the consumer experience. As it turns out, delivering VXI is a networking challenge solved only with the kind of innovation that Cisco loves to deliver. Our customers get the vision and immediately see the potential.

The industry leader in networking innovation? The vote that really matters is owned by the customer.

Across the board Cisco is delivering networked architectures to help our customers achieve their business goals faster and with less risk. They rely on a company they’ve come to trust with a reputation for delivering. Are we perfect? Of course not! But as Cisco’s chief sales guy I feel pretty good about the innovation hand we’ve been dealt simply because our customers feel good about our innovation, trust our ability to deliver and are asking us to do more with them every day.

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  1. Yeah! the addition of the Cisco ASR 5000 offers Cisco an architecture end-to-end IP-based NGN (d Internet Protocol Next-Generation Network) and mobile operators a platform specifically designed to accommodate the rapid growth of Internet mobile traffic and mobile multimedia applications.

  2. My daughter Ellisia finished 3rd year of Computer Networking in UOIT. She is the sole female student and got the highest mark in the Lab. She’s proud of using top notch devices from CISCO. However, she could hardly find any coㅡop position. She dedicated herself aiming CCNA and soon will get the certificate. If you have any advice or recommendation, please help her find her way and make best of her skill and knowledges.

    • Hi Stanley,

      This is great to know that your daughter loves Cisco and she is committed, her decision of getting CCNA certification is a right one, this is where she can make her self unique compared to others in her class when the time comes to look for a job. I live in Mississauga and works for Cisco systems in Toronto, I have taught at Seneca College for 5 years and have lots of experience on why computer students find difficulty in finding jobs after their graduation.

  3. Its interesting to see the juniper/cisco comparisions. As a user of both products I would like to point out that in my experience I have seen Cisco deliver much less value in terms of innovations. Cisco has been pushing the 7600 in the markets for longer then they should have and quite often rely on factors other then their technical superiority. Cisco is a marketing company and not really a technology company.

    • Thanks for your feedback. Cisco is undoubtedly leader in SP Routing space and have come out with several innovations over the years. In the SP Edge Routing space, Cisco’s latest platform, the Cisco ASR 9000 System, which service providers began deploying in 2009, is engineered to facilitate the proliferation of new video, mobile and cloud services. Fueled by Cisco’s advanced nV (Network Virtualization) technology, which intelligently blends the network edge, aggregation and access layers into a single 96 Tbps system, the ASR 9000 allows service providers to dramatically increase network capacity and accelerate IPv6 services.

      More than 750 service providers worldwide have deployed the Cisco ASR 9000 as the foundation of their next-generation Internet network, including the following recently announced customers: Polish Telecom (Poland), PCCW (Hong Kong), US Signal (U.S.), Comcast (U.S.), China Telecom (China), Tata Communications (India), FastWeb (Italy), Cox Communications (U.S.), NTT Plala (Japan), Kabel Deutschland (Germany), Charter Communications (U.S.) and Consolidated Communications (U.S.) and 3 Scandinavia (Denmark and Sweden).

      Once again, i welcome your feedback and invite you to visit to learn more about Cisco’s latest innovations in SP space.

      Sanjeev Mervana
      Director, Product Marketing
      SP Routing Products

  4. ahm ahm

    Yes Juniper….?

  5. In my opinion, the price of CISCO product is expensive for Aisa.

  6. We at Cisco have a culture of transparency – it’s key to how we operate, how we make decisions, and how we communicate. Recently, we shared some facts about Juniper’s track record highlighting that while Juniper has continually made promises of innovation, in many cases, those promises were never fulfilled. Or very late. If you care to read more about it, please check out:

    Juniper VP Mike Marcellin was kind enough to point out a few alternative views to the facts we presented. While he tried to spin some of the issues we raised another direction and didn’t quite relay with accuracy the comparisons we were making in our video (posted on, he did provide some new information. So in the interest of transparency we wanted to address his list of counter claims, with some additional perspective from our side.

    On the Core, we claimed that they hadn’t shipped multi-chassis capability on the T1600 (because they haven’t disclosed their units). Mike replied they’ve shipped 100 multi-chassis T1600 units. Great! We welcome their disclosure and will update the figures, which confirm they have less than a seventh of Cisco CRS deployments. We updated the CRS figures to count for the continued increase shipping numbers the past few days as well.

    On the Edge, we stated that the announced capacity for Cisco’s ASR9000 system was 96Tbps while the Juniper MX was 3.8Tbps. Juniper responded that our full capacity wasn’t yet shipping (true – it’s due next year) but that their capacity now was higher. We’ll have to disagree with them on that one and even doubt their 3.8Tbps number since they have only announced switching fabric upgrades, not the actual line cards, needed to reach that. Nonetheless, we’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and modified the language to claim their system will scale “up to” 3.8Tbps in the future while the ASR9000 System will scale “up to” 96Tbps in the near future. And we’ll keep an eye out for their line card customer deployment announcements.

    Regarding our claim that Juniper has only one design win on MobileNext, Mike claimed that they had been working with mobile packet cores through their relationship with Ericsson, which is true. It’s a great debate move to distract from the argument by redirecting to something else –in this case, another vendor’s products — but that wasn’t the point of our claim. Rather, we are referencing their Project Falcon/MobileNext product that they announced originally back in October 2009 (and again in February 2010 and again February 2011). Their CEO stated that they had their first design win on their last quarterly call. We were just relaying his comments to his investors.

    On our claim that Juniper has only one data center QFabric customer, the Juniper response talked about other DC customers and highlighted other DC products. However, he did conclude by saying “Since QFabric began shipping LAST WEEK, we wouldn’t expect to have many customers, yet.” We were clear we were referring to QFabric, so as with the mobile argument, changing the topic doesn’t really change the answer. They do deserve congratulations for shipping it, though. It was a long time coming… Granted, it’s a version with fewer capabilities than promised, much more limited in scale, and will not interoperate with other vendors’ technology, but I’m sure it’s a relief to get it out the door. By the way, since there was a second press release that appeared to announce another customer (or perhaps an endorsement?), we updated the video to reflect the second likely customer.

    On the Video content delivery side, we claimed that they weren’t in Top 20 providers. Mike said they were in two of the Top 10. That’s excellent! We hadn’t seen the announcements on those but will trust them on that, and we’ll update our records.

    Lastly, with regards to R&D, Juniper responded that they had a higher percentage of their revenue invested than Cisco. But since we were measuring in total dollars, our claim that our total investment in R&D, which is more than 6 times ($5.8B) theirs (less than a billion dollars), was correct.

    Thanks to Juniper and Mike for disclosing more detail and for confirming many of our claims. Our goal is to be factual, so we appreciate their input and look forward to continuing to compete with them in the marketplace.

  7. Rob, we appreciate all the attention you are giving us at Juniper. It has been a nice validation that we’re making an impact in the market. I have no interest in getting into a mudslinging fight, but I felt it best that we clear up the misrepresentations and inaccuracies in your blog post and video about Juniper so customers can make their decisions based on fact. Here you go:
    CISCO CLAIM #1: Juniper Networks is still lacking multi-chassis capability.
    TRUTH: We have been SHIPPING multi-chassis since 1Q2005 (on the T640 Core Router). We also announced this capability on our T1600 Core Router in 1Q2009 and began shipping it in 3Q2009. We currently have over 350 multi-chassis units deployed, more than 100 of which are T1600s.
    CISCO CLAIM #2. Cisco has 96 Tbps of capacity for the ASR9000 line while the Juniper MX only supports 3.8Tbps.
    TRUTH: Your CURRENT shipping capacity of the ASR9000 is 1.2Tbps (less than 1/3 of Juniper’s currently available capacity). In June, 2011, you ANNOUNCED the ASR 9922 with the claim that it would support 96Tbps in capacity. At that time, you said it would only begin shipping in mid-2012.
    CISCO CLAIM #3. Juniper only has one design win on MobileNext.
    TRUTH: Juniper has been supporting mobile packet cores for over NINE YEARS through our partnership with Ericsson.  Ericsson’s mobile packet core GGSN uses Juniper’s systems (J120 and J320) and has earned the market share leadership position in mobile packet core (almost 2X that of Starent/Cisco). Our joint solution is in use in over 220 mobile networks around the world. In June, 2011, we began shipping MobileNext, our 3G/4G open mobile core based on the Juniper Networks MX3D Universal Edge Router.
    CISCO CLAIM #4. Juniper has only one data center customer (apparently referring only to QFabric).
    TRUTH: QFabric is not our only product in the data center. In fact, looking across our portfolio we have over 5000 data center customers – and growing. These include the SRX Series Services Gateways for data center security, the EX Ethernet switching line, our MX3D routing line for multi-data center connectivity, and of course our QFabric solution. Since QFabric began shipping LAST WEEK, we wouldn’t expect to have many customers, yet.
    CISCO CLAIM #5. Juniper has no customers for its video content delivery systems.
    TRUTH: Juniper’s Media Flow solution has been sold to more than 10 service providers, including 2 of the top 10 in the world. In addition, it is currently being used by some of the largest new media companies worldwide. We also have active trials at several additional service providers around the world.
    CISCO CLAIM #6: You claim Cisco outspends Juniper dramatically in R&D.  I think there are two more important measures:  First, how much a company values innovation can be determined by what percentage of its revenue it invests in R&D.  Juniper invests over 20%, a much higher rate than Cisco or anyone else I can think of.  And all of our R&D is focused on networking – not a claim Cisco can make.  But second and more importantly is what a company has to show for its investments.  Our R&D investments have delivered to our customers market-changing innovations like QFabric, MobileNext, and Junos Pulse and very shortly we’ll begin shipping our T4000 and our Converged Supercore platform.  
    Thanks for letting us set the record straight. We hope you’ll take more care next time to do your research.

  8. Very Intriguing. Keep up the good work!!!!!!!

  9. Love the way the facts have been laid out – about Cisco and the competition.

  10. hi,
    i am ajay s shinde BCA Graduate
    1st congradulation to ur success. 1year ago i was in truble about my growth of education. Coz i am intrested about networking mgt but i dont know about how i can but i read about cisco certification and i gave ccna and i got out of score in that. . . .now iam ready to do next level .
    Best luck to ur next mission@

  11. Nice work Rob!

  12. Rob —

    Cheers! Yo uare hitting all of the right innovations for your Cisco to suceed and be a leading competitor in the world of Networking and world-wide communication. I am in my Graduate program now in Network Communications and feel you are on the right track. I will be keeping a watchful eye on you and Cisco in the near future.

    Best of luck and continued sucess always.

    Patric Hall

  13. Keep up the good work Rob thanks for the facts