Cisco CEO Chambers Dismisses SDN Rivals, White-Box Makers
The head of the world's top networking vendor is riding the wave of the strong performance of Cisco's ACI platform and Nexus 9000 switches.Cisco Systems CEO John Chambers has a message for those concerned that software-defined networking poses a threat to his company's future: Don't worry about it. During the last financial quarter, Cisco saw sales of its network switches grow 11 percent over the same period a year earlier. More specifically, revenues for its Nexus 3000 and Nexus 9000 switches—the foundation for the Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI), the vendor's answer to software-defined networking (SDN)—increased 350 percent, while the number of customers for the Nexus 9000 switches and ACI jumped from 580 earlier last year to 1,700 in the final three months of 2014. Cisco has shipped more than 1 million Nexus 9000 installed ports, and the number of customers of the Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC) grew past 300 since the technology was released in July 2014. The numbers led a confident Chambers to say during a Feb. 11 conference call with analysts and journalists that not only does SDN not threaten Cisco, but that his company is thriving in the highly competitive market.
"We are pulling away from our competitors and leading in both the SDN thought leadership and customer implementations," he said. "The market has recognized the benefit of ACI as compared to PowerPoint concepts of aspirational competitors. ACI and APIC will become the cornerstone of the next generation of networking architectures for many years, much like the UCS [Unified Computing System] has become in the data center."