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F5, VMware & Cisco: One happy family?

John Gallant | Nov. 12, 2013
F5 Networks execs talk software-defined data centers, Cisco and VMware partnerships.

I want to talk about the Cisco partnership. Now Cisco is a competitor, so why do this? Why be so vocal about supporting their architecture and their announcements?
McAdam: Well, in truth, there's a minimal competition between us and Cisco. Are you aware that Cisco end-of-life'd the Layer 4/Layer 7 product


McAdam: We really haven't been competing with Cisco. There's some overlap, it's pretty small in nature. It's pretty small for us and it's very small for them. So we think there's a really strong opportunity for partnership. We really have pretty similar visions in terms of the way that data centers are going to roll out. We think that Synthesis and the ACI architecture they just announced, the similarities from a technology perspective are significant, and from a business perspective and a customer solution perspective. We also have a very similar code base as well, in the field, so I think this will prove to be a very interesting partnership.

So John, how do you see the partnership rolling out? What should people expect, when should they expect it?
McAdam: The solution that they announced with ACI, the next step is to look at go-to-market, to look at integration, roadmap, product roadmap, areas like that, so that will happen. And Manny is very, very involved in that. Meanwhile, we are encouraging our field to partner with the Cisco account executives because we think there's a lot of synergy there in what we can bring to the customers.

Rivelo: And some of that has been happening over the years, because I think the true benefit of a partnership is really for the customer's purpose and the customer's desire is what's driving the stronger partnership. We are the de facto industry leader in Layer 4-7 services inside those data centers. In many of those data centers, in most of them, Cisco is also the leader, providing the switching or the compute or different services in there. This is a true value proposition for the customers, and the tighter the integration occurs and the smoother the go-to-market occurs, it's a win for everybody.

Cisco is taking some flack because there's a perception that their approach to SDN is a closed one, that they're trying to do this more through proprietary hardware and software versus open approaches to SDN. First, do you agree with that? And, second, does that make you at all uncomfortable partnering with them?
Rivelo: No, the access is completely open. They're implementing open standards, they're [using] open, RESTful APIs. We're fully integrated already. We were doing demos in New York yesterday of how - using what they call their application policy infrastructure controller and provisioning F5 using that - we can integrate into their networking fabric. We haven't had any issues on the integration front. We think that they have an open set of standards that we can easily plug into and the two technologies coexist very smoothly.


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