What Cisco Left Out

Cisco used analyst report as a soapbox for WAAS, leaving out the ACE bit

June 30, 2007

2 Min Read
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4:30 PM -- In its campaign to educate the press about its leadership in WAN optimization and WAFS (wide area file services), Cisco relied heavily on data from Gartner -- a move that could wind up being a double-edged sword. (See WAN Optimization Forges On.)

It turns out the same report in which Cisco is ranked second in WAN optimization controllers (WOCs) also shows Cisco losing market share and revenues in the first quarter of 2007 in the related area of application delivery controllers (ADCs).

In the taxonomy for Gartner's report titled "Market Share: Application Acceleration Equipment, Worldwide, 1Q07," WOCs are described as devices that improve application access over a WAN. Cisco's WAAS is a WOC offering. According to Gartner, so is its ACNS (Application Content Delivery Services) software, which runs on the same WAE (Wide-Area Application Engine) as its WAAS software.

ADCs, in contrast, are basically application load balancers that manage app traffic from the data center. Cisco's ACE module for its Catalyst 6500 routers -- which is marketed alongside its WAAS -- is included in Gartner's ADC count. So are Cisco's Content Services Switches (CSSs) for Web insfrastructures and the Content Switching Module (CSM) for the Catalyst 6500.

For the first quarter 2007, according to Gartner, Cisco posted $68 million in revenues for its ADCs, a 13.9 percent sequential decline. While it's still in second place after F5 Networks in ADCs, its market share dropped from 30.1 percent in the last quarter of 2006 to 27.2 percent in the first quarter this year.According to the report, there was an overall 4.5 percent decline in WOC and ADC sales worldwide from all vendors in the first quarter, owing in part to seasonality -- and in part to execution problems on the part of suppliers.

It's no surprise that Cisco was selective in promoting its WAAS figures from Gartner. The vendor's WAAS is clearly leading its WAN optimization efforts.

At press time, Cisco had no response to our queries about its use of Gartner's report.

Ultimately, the dark side of the report may not matter to Cisco's application acceleration future, if the vendor keeps up the aggressive pace with WAAS. Another analyst from a competing research firm, Matthias Machowinski of Infonetics, says: "Cisco already has access to all the customers. They're selling into all the accounts that other vendors [of WAN optimizers] are."

So now that the vendor's gotten its WAN optimization act together, the rest will probably fall into place. After all, if you have enough market presence, you can afford to arrive late to the party with your slip showing. No one will remember in the morning.Mary Jander, Site Editor, Byte and Switch

  • Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO)

  • F5 Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: FFIV)

  • Gartner Inc.

  • Infonetics Research Inc.

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