Cisco Spending “Tens of Millions” on Developers

Cisco is putting substantial resources behind its DevNet developer effort, which is supported at the highest levels of the company.

Susie Wee, vice president and CTO of Networked Experiences at Cisco, explained to Enterprise Networking Planet that DevNet is a full force developer program at Cisco. Wee noted that as opposed to past developer-focused initiatives from Cisco, DevNet is not a “heroic” effort from a single product group, but rather a fully funded, company-wide initiative.

Wee declined to comment on the specific dollar amount being put into DevNet, though she did provide a ballpark figure.

“We’re in the tens of millions,” Wee said. “In addition, this is very much a group effort. We work with all the product teams.”

With DevNet, Cisco aims to engage with developers by providing APIs and SDK developer resources that enable developers to build and extend on Cisco technologies.

Cisco has tried to engage with developers on multiple efforts in the past, with limited success. Back in 2008, Cisco launched its Application eXtension Platform (AXP) for the ISR router platform. AXP had a developer initiative to enable developers to build Linux applications that run on AXP. The effort didn’t go very far and eventually fell flat.

Rick Tywoniak, director, DevNet at Cisco, explained to Enterprise Networking Planet that DevNet differs from the AXP effort in a number of ways. Tywoniak said that AXP came from a single business unit within Cisco and was tied to a single product line. In contrast, with DevNet, Tywoniak said that Cisco as a company is saying that developers are important.

“DevNet is not a strategy of individual business units. It’s Cisco as a company trying to drive an effort around developers,” Tywoniak said.

Tywoniak added that Cisco did have some success in the past driving developer programs around its Unified Communications initiatives. With DevNet, he stressed that Cisco is now providing more resources then ever before, resources that are centrally supported and not subject to the limitations of any one individual business unit.

“[Cisco CEO] John Chambers is behind this, and it is a Cisco operating committee-directed effort,” Tywoniak said. “There are central funds and you’ll see this less as individual business unit try and to do heroics, so you’ll now see a more consistent message from Cisco about developers.”

Cisco isn’t going it alone in its efforts to engage developers, either. From a technology perspective, Cisco is leveraging technology from Mulesoft to help enable the APIs that developers will use.

“We’re an investor in Mulesoft,” Tywoniak said “Some of the Mulesoft technology in the areas of API discovery, exploration and a runtime environment, we’ll be using as an integral part of DevNet.”

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

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