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Who's really in charge at Cisco?

Jim Duffy | Sept. 1, 2015
Key innovators continue to report to Chambers, not new CEO Robbins

Meanwhile, the success of the Nexus 9000 and ACI is coming at the expense of the older Nexus 7000/7700 line. In its just completed fourth quarter, switching grew 2% with 200%-plus growth in the Nexus 9000 and ACI, CEO Robbins said during Cisco's fourth quarter earnings call three weeks ago.

Revenue across the Nexus 9000, 3000 and ACI product lines was $438 million. Cisco says it added 1,400 new Nexus 9000 customers, bringing its total to over 4,100 since the product was introduced in November, 2013. Nine hundred of those customers are also ACI customers with the Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC) product, up from just under 600 in Q3.

Twenty-six of Cisco’s largest 28 enterprise customers are now Nexus 9000 customers, with 30% of them new in the fourth quarter, Robbins said. Many of them, undoubtedly, are transitioning from the Nexus 7000/7700.

Cisco declined to break out Nexus 7000/7700 growth figures for the quarter, but Robbins said in the Q4 earnings call that the transition from the 7000 line to the 9000 is offsetting some of the expected growth in the Nexus 3000 and 9000 lines.

“We're very happy with the transition going on in the data center switching space,” Robbins said during the earnings call. “As we look at customers that are migrating to 10G, 40G, 100G … it's just being offset by the transition from the Nexus 7000 to these new platforms. And we think in the next few quarters we'll see that inflection point.”

Sources say Cisco may be de-investing in the Nexus 7000/7700 product line, cutting monies for new hardware programs and preparing it for support and maintenance mode. Indeed, 400 associated with the Nexus 7000 program are believed to be headed for the exits.

Cisco said the product line is still an important one in its data switching portfolio.

“We will continue to invest and develop the platform, both for the installed base and new deployments,” the spokesperson stated in an e-mail. “As recently as this summer, for example, we announced innovations that make it easier to integrate the Nexus 7000 into Cisco’s overall SDN strategy.”


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