Cisco Insieme Launch: Are SDN Partners Ready?Cisco Insieme Launch: Are SDN Partners Ready?
Cisco CEO John Chambers is set to launch Insieme data center and software defined networking (SDN) products on Nov. 6. But channel programs from Arista Networks, Big Switch & Cumulus Networks shouldn't be dismissed.
November 5, 2013
Memo to Cisco Systems (CSCO) CEO John Chambers: Welcome to New York. The VAR Guy looks forward to your Insieme Networks launch on Nov. 6. Our resident blogger knows your established and emerging rivals — Arista Networks, Big Switch, Cumulus, Juniper, HP, VMware NSX and more — are ready for the showdown. But here’s the big question: Are Cisco’s channel partners ready to push software-defined networking (SDN)? Hmmm…
Before we tackle that question let’s rewind a bit. Just about every networking company on the planet is chasing the SDN prize. The idea: De-couple software from networking hardware, and make IT networks easier to manage. In some case, the solutions will involve commodity x86 hardware. Cisco’s approach, naturally, will leverage enterprise-class, higher-margin hardware.
Cisco’s SDN products have involved a waiting game. Partners and customers expected Insieme product announcements at Cisco Live and Cisco Partner Summit earlier this year. But in both cases, Cisco was mum while product R&D continued.
Fast forward to Nov. 6, and John Chambers is finally ready to talk shop — and products. The VAR Guy doesn’t know how soon channel partners will be able to sell Insieme solutions. But it’s clear Chambers wants to talk about a larger data center strategy and application-centric infrastructure.
SDN Channel Partner Programs
In some cases, rival SDN channel partner programs are already under way. A few examples:
Arista Networks: Led by CEO Jaysharee Ullal (a Cisco veteran), Arista understands the power of partner programs. Channel engagements include authorized and elite partners, though The VAR Guy doesn’t know how many solutions providers have joined the party. Earlier this week, Arista launched new data center and cloud switches ahead of the Cisco-Insieme news conference.
Big Switch Networks: Actually, Big Switch’s partner program remains in its infancy. The company announced Jason Matlof as VP of marketing and Dave Butler as VP of sales in Oct. 2012. The hires signaled Big Switch’s commercial product launches. Fast forward to the present and Big Switch has plenty of technology partners. But a more formalized channel push would be welcome… Perhaps new Big Switch CEO Douglas Murray — a Juniper veteran who joined the company today — can get the partner program revved up.
Now along comes John Chambers and the Insieme launch. Wall Street analysts, investors and rivals will be watching closely. But will customers and channel partners? The VAR Guy will go searching for answers on Nov. 6.
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