Cisco CEO Remains Bullish on Catalyst 9K and Intent-Based Networking

Cisco is growing its business, with the company’s Catalyst 9000 switching platform helping to lead the way.

Cisco reported its third quarter fiscal 2018 earnings on May 16, with revenue coming in at $12.5 billion for a 4 percent year-over-year gain. Net income was reported at $2.7 billion, up by 7 percent from the third quarter of fiscal 2017. Looking forward, Cisco provided guidance for fourth quarter revenue growth of 4 to 6 percent year-over-year.

“We continue to see very strong adoption of the Catalyst 9000, the fastest-ramping new product introduction in our history,” Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins said during his company’s earnings call. “The Catalyst 9000 now has over 5,800 customers, up from 3,100 last quarter.”

The Catalyst 9000 was first announced by Cisco in June 2017 as the cornerstone of the company’s intent-based networking strategy.

“We’ve also recently introduced additional intent-based networking innovations,” Robbins said. “These include new access solutions and routing software subscriptions, which expand our software-defined WAN capabilities onto any platform.”

In April, Cisco added multiple new capabilities to its intent-based networking portfolio, including a new Catalyst 9500 switch and updates that bring the approach to the Internet of Things (IoT).

“We also announced new hybrid cloud workload management solutions with ACI multi-side management and new flexible consumption models including SaaS delivery for our Tetration platform,” Robbins said.

Of note, Robbins said that switching returned to growth with revenue growth in both data center and campus. In many cases, the move to the Catalyst 9000 is a move away from older Cisco switching platforms

Robbins said looking at the Cisco portfolio, it had the Catalyst 3000 and Catalyst 4000, which are the platforms that the Catalyst 9000 family replaced. Robbins added the organization are buying the Catalyst 9000 as a foundational platform within a network refresh.

“So there is still a very long tail of customers. The other thing you have to remember is, many of these customers are buying the 9K and then it will become the standard platform, and they’ll refresh the balance of their networks,” he said.

“So, I think, if we’re really honest, the number of customers, who are making the decision to upgrade to the 9K, I would say, it’s not necessarily because, wow, what a fantastic new Ethernet switch, it’s really because they’re buying into this automation strategy of which the entire portfolio will fit over time,” Robbins said.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at EnterpriseNetworkingPlanet and Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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