Cisco's introduction of the Insieme Networks product line and strategy was the most anticipated networking announcement in almost two years. It represents Cisco's response to the software-defined networking (SDN) trend pervading the industry, and threatening Cisco's dominance and profits. While not a watershed moment -- Insieme didn't change Cisco's modus operandii, as explained below -- Insieme is nonetheless one of the most important events and product introductions in Cisco's history. Here are 10 things we learned or have yet to learn from the Insieme launch:
• Cisco takes the SDN threat very seriously: Otherwise, it wouldn't pay up to $863 million on an 20-month-old spin-in company to develop its next-generation data center product line in response to SDNs. By comparison, the ASR 1000 router cost $250 million and took five years to develop.
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• Cisco is still a hardware company: Why else would it respond to a software trend and threat with hardware? Despite all of its stated plans to become more of a software company and increase its software revenue, Cisco's business model is hardware driven. SDNs devalue Cisco's hardware.
[RELATED: First look: The Cisco/Insieme family]
[THE WAIT IS OVER: Chambers: Cisco waited too long to address SDNs]
• Cisco is intent on protecting its installed base: The stand-alone version of the Nexus 9000 -- open source controller extensions, merchant silicon -- is for DIY users. Customers leaning toward a completely integrated system are targets for the custom ASIC-based Nexus 9000 with the Cisco-developed APIC controller. Enterprises will likely adopt this platform vs. the stand-alone version, which might appeal to cloud providers considering white-box hardware and open source software. Cisco will eat its own before allowing a competitor to.