Why Cisco’s CEO is Bullish on Intent Based Networking

2018 is turning out to be a good year for Cisco. The networking giant is growing its intent-based networking portfolio, as well as its bottom line.

Cisco reported its second quarter fiscal 2018 financial results on Feb. 14, with revenue coming in at $11.9 billion for a 3 percent year-over-year gain. Looking forward, Cisco provided third quarter fiscal 2018 guidance for revenue growth in the range of 3 percent to 5 percent year-over-year. During the third quarter, Cisco also plans on repatriating $67 billion in off-shore funds thanks to the recently enacted tax reform laws in the U.S.

Growth during the quarter came from multiple areas of Cisco’s portfolio. Security revenue for the quarter was reported at $558 million for a 6 percent year-over-year gain, while application revenue also grew by 6 percent to $1.2 billion. Cisco’s infrastructure platforms, which include switching and routing equipment, generated $6.7 billion in revenue for a 2 percent year-over-year gain.

Intent-Based Networking

Among the big areas that Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins is particularly enthusiastic about is the Network Intuitive intent-based network effort the company formally announced in June 2017. The effort was further expanded on Jan. 30 with additional assurance and analytics capabilities.

“We’re incredibly pleased with the early acceptance of this intent-based portfolio,” Robbins said during his company’s earnings call. “The Catalyst 9000 is the fastest-ramping product in our history, which is pretty impressive.”

The Catalyst 9000 is the primary switching platform that helps to enable the intent-based networking model across Cisco infrastructure. Robbins said that to date, 3,100 customers have adopted the intent-based networking platform. He also noted that further extensions to the platform, including Cisco’s Viptela SD-WAN, are coming in the future.

“We obviously have the opportunity, and we will extend the capabilities across the rest of our portfolio so that our customers who are driving automation can drive it across not only campus switching, but also routing,” Robbins said. “We are integrating it backwards with ACI (application-centric infrastructure) in the data center, as well as within our security portfolio.”

Robbins said that Cisco’s strategy is to continue to enhance customers’ ability to drive intent across all of their technology areas, as well as to gain context through analytics.

“So 3,100 customers so far, and I think our total customer population is well over 800,000, so we obviously have room to run,” Robbins said.

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

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