As Heraclitus said more than two thousand years ago “The only constant in life is change”. As a society, we’ve experienced it first hand over the last eight months, with the far-reaching, cultural shift of virtual experiences replacing in-person gatherings in both our personal and professional lives.

The same holds true for the networking industry – a remarkable pace of change has occurred over the last decade. Significant technical innovations including software-defined networking, virtualization, disaggregation, closed-loop automation, and more – have redefined the way we build the mass scale networks that power our daily lives.

At Cisco, change is deeply rooted in our DNA. We choose to embrace change, even if it means a disruption in the way we traditionally do business. Network disaggregation is a great example. In its early days, many industry pundits were skeptical Cisco would even consider it.

Years ago, many were surprised that we decided to disaggregate the Cisco IOS XR operating system. We pressed innovation toward the direction of some of our leading customers. To operate more efficiently, they needed building-block-based innovation; specifically, the disaggregation of components including silicon, hardware, network operating system, automation, and even services. Those that were ready for this new business model prepared their organization to take over the responsibility of customization, integration, security, and lifecycle management.

For Cisco, the strategic decision to disaggregate components opened the door to a broader customer base who could benefit from Cisco IOS XR’s rich IP networking innovations. And now, with our range of consumption models, they have the flexibility, dependability, and support they need to solve business problems now and in the future.

For our customers today, disaggregation means they have a choice to run Cisco IOS over multiple hardware platforms including:
• Fixed or modular routers powered by Cisco designed silicon or merchant silicon
• x86 servers as virtualized software across public clouds
• A curated set of third-party devices

AT&T’s announcement on its next-gen disaggregated IP edge routing platforms has a special meaning to me. Cisco believes in an inclusive future for all. To get there, we must change the economics of the internet, change how we build networks, and we must even be willing to change ourselves where it makes sense. Network disaggregation not only exemplifies our customer-first approach and our commitment to changing the way we do business but also how we can work together with customers, in true partnership.

A huge congratulations to the team at AT&T. The deployment of AT&T’s next-gen disaggregated IP edge routing platform marks a key milestone in our strategy to offer the industry-leading Cisco IOS XR in the way our customers want to consume it. And we remain committed to meeting the changing needs of our customers as they face challenging and changing business conditions, today and tomorrow.


Jonathan Davidson

EVP and General Manager

Cisco Networking