Today at Cisco we announced the fifth anniversary of the Unified Computing System (UCS), along with innovations in our Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) portfolio.

It’s pretty exciting considering that when we entered the server market five years ago, there were questions about what we were doing. Was it the right play? Could Cisco be successful in this new market? Well history has borne out that it was indeed a good idea. With the help of our channel partners we have gone from “zero to hero.”  Our partnerships with our channel and technology partners took us from not being a player in this space to becoming a multi-billion dollar business with over 30,000 UCS customers worldwide.

More than 80 percent of all Cisco UCS sales go through our channel partners, and we are now ranked second worldwide in x86 blade server revenue market share. These accomplishments are nothing to sneeze at, and we know just how important it has been to work with our partners to make such a rapid move in this market. Cisco’s data center partner community continues to thrive and grow, with partners investing in their data center practices using Cisco UCS as a foundation.  We have more than 3,850 channel partners that sell Cisco UCS today, with more than half of them possessing UCS Specialization credentials.  In fact, a year ago, in Q2FY13, there were about 1,600 Cisco Specialized partners on UCS. In Q2FY14 a year later, Cisco had approximately 2,000 UCS Specialized partners – a 25% increase over the previous year.

Cisco has long been a leader in the data center, with our Nexus 2000-7000 purpose built switches that became the industry’s standard bearer for data center switches.   Then fast forward to UCS as Cisco became a leader in converged infrastructure solutions with UCS and Nexus forming the foundation for FlexPod, Vblock and VSPEX.  And most recently, we have added UCS Invicta for application acceleration, and our cross platform infrastructure automation application, UCS Director.  With our leadership in data center technology innovation, Cisco channel partners have been able to transform their businesses and capture the burgeoning private/hybrid cloud opportunity.

Even more opportunity lies ahead.   As you saw in today’s announcement, we have two new switches, the Nexus 9504 and Nexus 9516, which extend our ACI portfolio.  These new switches are ideally suited to provide partners the opportunity to capture the transition in the data center as customers upgrade their networks from 1G to 10/40G speeds. And with the ACI capabilities, these switches will also allow partners to future proof customer networks.

With the announcement today, it’s clear that we remain focused on developing the fundamental building blocks that allow private and hybrid clouds to come to life.  We are providing a total overall solution with our software and hardware, and this approach provides significant advantages to Cisco partners.

We always keep in mind that partners have built practices on Cisco technology, and we want to provide additional technology innovations to help grow those practices.   This approach also lets channel partners expand their offerings, and increase professional services opportunities as these new platforms are optimized through a higher level of integration with the overall IT infrastructure. With the new Nexus 9000 switches, we are enabling partners to expand their data center practices with rich professional services opportunities as they integrate applications, systems and infrastructure with the Nexus 9000 series and ACI into next generation customer deployments.

Now partners can increase “stickiness” with customers and create an ongoing revenue stream. This is not a “one-time” services engagement as applications are constantly changing and evolving, giving channel partners multiple opportunities to engage with customers. The Cisco 9000 series will provide a catalyst for this moving forward.

Driving the next generation in the data center, Cisco is committed to continuing to give our channel partners what is required to:

  1. Enhance additional and long-term services revenues
  2. Increase “stickiness” with customers
  3. Differentiate yourself from your competitors
  4. Enable profitable practices based on Cisco technologies

For those in attendance at Cisco Partner Summit in Las Vegas this year, be sure to check out Rob Lloyd’s session on Driving Growth Through Cloud Innovation and Soni Jiandani and Ram Appalaraju’s session on Delivering Hybrid Cloud Solutions with Cisco Intercloud. If you are not in Vegas this week, don’t worry, you don’t have to miss any of the information. You can register for Virtual Partner Summit(VPS)and still attend both cloud sessions virtually.

Please let me know what you think of this latest news from Cisco via the comments section below.


John Growdon

Sr. Director – Unified Data Center Sales

Worldwide Channels