Applications have become the lifeblood of our economy. They are how business is done; how partners and suppliers interact; how employees connect; how consumers share, learn and buy. Every business is becoming an applications business. Every industry is becoming an application-centric industry, and the business model shift is only accelerating.  We all truly live in an application economy now.

And think about this: by 2020 there will be fifty billion things connected to the Internet. New and valuable connections will be formed between those things and people, processes and data, creating the next wave of the Internet – the Internet of Everything. Most of us will experience the value of the Internet of Everything through applications. This shift to an application economy is perhaps the biggest IT market transition of all.

Business leaders are struggling with the pace of change. And Chief Information Officers (CIOs) feel the pressure more than most. The complexity of information technology (IT) is slowing down their ability to enter new markets, to deliver new products and services, to manage risk and security threats, and to drive more efficiency into their organizations.

Most new application deployments take a month or more to roll out. Upgrades and migrations often take just as long. When you consider that the majority of businesses run hundreds of applications, you’ll see why IT is slowing businesses down and creating unnecessary risk.

Businesses need a new model for IT. A model by which IT moves faster. A model that makes IT more secure.

Today, Cisco unveiled a transformational approach to data center infrastructure and operations that will bring the simplicity, security and agility that CIOs desperately need for their applications.

Our new approach – Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure – is going to reduce the time it takes to provision, change or remove applications from months to minutes.

I believe Cisco’s Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) architecture, with its Application Policy Infrastructure Controller and the new Nexus 9000 data center switching portfolio, represents the most disruptive architectural innovations in IT that I’ve seen in more than a decade. And these technologies are going to future-proof our customers’ data centers for the next decade.

Our customers love the fact that ACI is a silo buster.

ACI gives every administrator, whether they are focused on networking, security, storage, platforms or network services, the same view and the same single point of management for the whole IT infrastructure. Crucially, this single point of management extends to both physical and virtual networks.

And ACI brings all of these resources together to behave as a single, dynamic, responsive entity that helps administrators streamline configuration, accelerate troubleshooting and optimize application performance.

How did we achieve this? With incredible innovations in ASICs, leading software, cutting-edge hardware, and system design to create a new model for IT where applications come together with the network, with security, and at scale.

I love being first, and our ACI architecture is packed with industry firsts. I encourage you to read through our Application Centric Infrastructure press release to learn more about those firsts, from the unification of physical and virtual networking infrastructure, to the fine-grained security control that ACI delivers at scale, and the industry- leading 60 terabits per second of switching capacity.

Of equal importance to all of those groundbreaking innovations is ACI’s openness. This architecture offers open application program interfaces (APIs) that have enabled us to ensure that ACI has the backing of the industry’s most complete ecosystem of partners  for management, orchestration, monitoring, virtualization, network services, and storage.

With this level of support from so many industry leaders, you can see why I believe ACI will be one of the most disruptive innovations we will see in IT.

I couldn’t be more proud of the incredible team that has brought this technology to market. They epitomize the Cisco spirit which causes us to continue to surprise our critics, to out-execute our competitors, and – in the case of our data center business overall – to build a $5B business in just five years.

Market transitions have often presented Cisco with an opportunity to expand our relevance to customers and emerge stronger than before. I’m sure ACI will prove to be yet another example of our outstanding track record in anticipating and capturing transitions.

ACI is also an example of our willingness to employ disruptive innovation strategies. To the best of my knowledge, there is no other technology company that has been able to move as quickly, or achieve as much success as Cisco, by combining investments in early stage companies such as Insieme with the capability and scale of our home-grown engineering, services, sales and marketing organizations. It is an approach that has served us extremely well in creating successive multi-billion dollar businesses.

And make no mistake, I also expect ACI to become a multi-billion dollar business for Cisco. You ain’t seen nothing yet!


John Chambers

No Longer with Cisco