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Cisco could own the SDN market

Cisco's strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities as they relate to SDN and the 5 key areas Cisco will need to focus on in order to ride through the disruption of SDN.

Hummelstown, PA:   Mon, 8/26/13 - 11:59pm    View comments

Mike BushongPlexxi NetworksEarlier this summer, Michael Bushong, vice president of marketing for application affinity-driven networking vendor, Plexxi Networks, blogged:

Plexxi on Cisco: Application-Driven Networking is the New Black

Bushong states:

"What I am about to write goes against everything they teach you in marketing school. You see, Cisco is certainly Plexxi's biggest competitor. But I think they actually have their central thesis correct. It is about the application."

Then in July I posted:

Confidential Insieme Networks slide presentation: Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI)

Tom EdsallInsieme NetworksWhile this month Tom Edsall, chief technology officer of Cisco spin-in, Insieme Networks, made the following SDNCentral blog quotes:

"The concept of performance needs to be thought about as application performance, not performance of the network. An application is dependent on the CPU and on the network and on the underlying storage. We have to think about all of these things together.

"Networks are built to treat all applications the same way — fairness is of paramount concern — and applications are written assuming they'll run on a generic dumb pipe. A huge opportunity lies in bringing those sides together. Somebody is going to have to optimize their application for a network or a set of networks. The SDN controller guys are promising that, but I haven't seen it yet. It may mean not being fair in the network. It may mean dropping more packets than you want to drop. I don't know."

John FrueheMoor Insights & StrategyFortunately, Moor Insights & Technology guest blogger, John Fruehe, has written perhaps one of the most comprehensive blog posts on the subject of Cisco and SDN:

Cisco's SDN challenge

Fruehe dives into fascinating detail on Cisco's strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities as they relate to SDN and the 5 key areas Cisco will need to focus on in order to ride through the disruption of SDN.

In my opinion, Fruehe points out the #1 key as to how Cisco could potentially own the SDN market:

Cisco"There is a large base of Cisco administrators and developers. This piece of the ecosystem helps them maintain their presence. Cisco certifications like CCNA and CCNP carry a tremendous weight for the holders of those letters when they apply for jobs. Like a trade union, having the certification means higher salary, better jobs and a more stable future. Their top-notch training programs churn out an effective number of new graduates each year to keep pace with the market and the rigorous testing programs help ensure that those letters mean a lot to potential employers. All of this feeds back into Cisco being a preferred brand that holds its values.

"The armies of trained professionals, both on the sales/partner side as well as on the administrative side are eyeing SDN as a clear disruption in the market. Having a CCNA or CCNP certification is very valuable in a stable environment and allows both sides to extract more value, but in an era of disruption, when SDN potentially shifts demand, those skills might drop in value, making those who did not embrace change look more like Blockbuster Video franchisees in an era of NetFlix and iTunes. The strength of the ecosystem can become a millstone for Cisco if they cannot figure out how to leverage these professionals and bring them into the era of SDN quickly."

So is Cisco marshalling its armies of trained professionals to quickly seize the SDN opportunity?

Well to Cisco's credit, at least its offering:

SDN live seminars

Related stories:

The Battle of SDN vs. NFV

How Open Is OpenDaylight?

What's your take?

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