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F5 Networks: Beating Cisco in the Data Center?

The VAR Guy

July 28, 2008

2 Min Read
F5 Networks: Beating Cisco in the Data Center?

David just threw a rock at Goliath. During a 20 minute keynote at F5 Networks’ Partner Conference in New Orleans, CEO John McAdam delivered an upbeat view of his company’s business outlook. And he casually mentioned why he believes F5 is beating Cisco Systems in the data center.

Generally speaking, The VAR Guy knows Cisco’s data center strategy has gained critical mass and is gaining customer momentum. But F5 wants to put its stamp on the market as well. “The reality is we’re in a strong place,” said McAdam. “Unstructured content and Internet traffic are growing in a strong [way].” That combination, McAdam believes, creates a perfect storm for F5’s application-aware products.

Referring to F5’s most recent financial results — which didn’t impress Wall Street — McAdam said: “We thought Wall Street would have a slightly better reaction but that’s life. Very few tech companies — almost none– can say they’ve had the quarter t0 quarter growth we’ve delivered over the last few years.”

Looking ahead, he added, “We’ve given some aggressive guidance [for Q4] … and we feel confident about fiscal ’09 as well.”

Why’s that — wondered The VAR Guy…

Of course, McAdam had an answer for attendees. “Less than 10 years ago, the relevant players in the data center were server vendors,” said McAdam. But the data center market has shifted toward F5 Networks and its network application expertise, he insisted. “If’ you’re a key player in the data center, that tends to mean good margins,” said McAdam.

Then, McAdam made a casual statement that essentially summarizes F5’s bold confidence. “At the product level,” McAdam said, “we beat Cisco 99 percent of the time. Our goal is to have technology leadership over Cisco.” While partnerships are important, noted McAdam, technology leadership is what continues to set F5 Networks apart from the competition.

McAdam pointed to Viprion — the company’s on-demand application delivery controller — as the hot technology opportunity for partners over the next few months. “It is really hot,” said McAdam. “If you have a Viprion opportunity right now, the chances are you’re going to close it. Especially [opportunities involving] customers at the high-end dot-com, telco and enterprise space.”

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