Before the kickoff of Cisco Systems’Partner Summit 2018 in Las Vegas this week, I had the opportunity to gain some insights from David Goeckeler, Executive Vice President of Networking and Security. David has responsibility for the entire connectivity infrastructure portfolio for the networking giant. His vision for the future of Cisco is decidedly multi-domain and cloud-centric.
The Network. Intuitive.
Cisco cast its hat into the intent-based networking ring back in the summer of 2017, and, from my standpoint, the company is executing along its path pretty well. There’s been a steady stream of functionality added over the past eighteen months including analytics, assurance, automation, and enhanced developer support through Cisco’s DevNet organization. Goeckeler claims that his team’s intent-based architecture has a “superpower”—cross-domain integration. This is the notion that all of the various assets at Cisco’s disposal, such as SD-WAN (in both Viptela and Meraki flavors), security, and management control (with Meraki Dashboard and Cisco DNA Center) are all integrated together. The ultimate benefit to Cisco customers is flexibility, scalability, and ease of purchase and support, made available through a global channel organization. Goeckeler commented that this a reality for Cisco’s customers today, thanks to the hard work of his team.
The best-kept secret no longer
While attending Cisco Live! in June of 2018, I got a kick out of hearing Goeckeler indirectly refer to one of my Forbes articles during his keynote. A few months earlier, I spent time with Susie Wee and her team and wrote about how the DevNet organization is Cisco’s best-kept secret (if interested, you can find that article here). As DevNet passes the half a million-developer mark today, I believe it could be leveraged even further as a competitive advantage. I compare its momentum to that of Amazon’s investment in the Alexa voice assistant ecosystem, and how the company convinced many developers to prioritize it above Google and others. Now that Cisco is also embracing an open API approach, the company is making it much easier to facilitate development on top of both Cisco and Meraki networking gear.
Cisco has its head in the clouds
I like Goeckeler’s characterization of his approach to the cloud. He maintains there isn’t a movement to the cloud—rather, it’s an expansion. Applications themselves must be cloud-native to ensure elasticity and scalability. Containerization and microservices are the new table stakes. Cisco’s announcement today of SD-WAN with a fully integrated security stack is a perfect example of how the company is fundamentally rearchitecting its infrastructure. Not only will customers be able to manage everything in a single instance, but Cisco claims that a strategic partnership with Microsoft (involving real-time monitoring of paths to the Office 365 cloud) will equate to 40% faster application performance for users. Stay tuned for another article that will delve deeper into this week’s announcements around Cisco SD-WAN and the Catalyst line extension.