This article at Recode :
In what appears to be a messy shakeup with hints of an internal power struggle nearing an end, Mario Mazzola, Prem Jain, Luca Cafiero and Soni Jiandani are leaving the company.
This management team has been responsible for developing a range of Cisco products Nexus 5000, parts of Cisco UCS & ACI. Their primary success vector was the ability to crash and bash their way through the Cisco corporate structure to get a short term result by having direct access to John Chambers. That stopped when Chuck Robbins became CEO and they were left reporting directly to John Chambers. It looked like they didn’t want to fit into the new Cisco and wanted to hold on to the old ways.
Robbins appears to have been blindsided by the resignations, and said in an internal memo obtained by Recode that their decisions were “based on a disconnect regarding roles, responsibilities and charter that came to light” immediately after last week’s announcement.
My perspective is that this is good for customers. Products produced by this “spinin” process have been rushed, incomplete and buggy. Inside Cisco, the cost and effort of fixing these products was left to other business units which left them struggling to complete their own projects e.g. early Nexus 5000/2000 were shockingly poor quality.
Cisco ACI ?
Its no secret that customers resisted using Cisco ACI for their SDN strategy. Sales are largely generated by access to Cisco sales channels (resellers) and not because the product is what SDN customers want. Its a clear sign that Cisco sales channel is an outstanding machine for selling products regardless of their quality or suitability.
There is a real possibility that ACI will face serious competition for other Cisco SDN products, especially APIC-EM and those from Service Provider BU. Without special access to John Chambers via the departing executives, ACI could wither away (Cisco Prime anyone?). Lots of big money projects have died inside Cisco – look at Nexus 6000 that died recently.
As part of last week’s reorganization, Jiandani had been put in charge of Insieme. Now that she’s resigned, too, the unit has been placed under David Goeckeler, a senior VP and 16-year Cisco veteran who will now run Cisco’s newly created Networking & Security Business Group.
Cisco ACI works as well any other SDN product but has serious limitations. Limited integration with VMware, hardware dependency and overbearing sales process.
If ACI has to compete on an equal footing inside Cisco’s dysfunctional culture then we could see things change in the SDN front.
Will ACI Survive ?
Here are some things customers have said that I’ve noted in my files:
- Cisco’s ‘introductory’ ACI kit coming in at six figures puts it out of my customer’s thinking, which means that I’ll likely never see it
N9K is selling like hotcakes. APIC isn’t selling at all.
Yes, its not ready for prime time yet IMO. Might be awesome in a few years though, but right now lots of limitations/high cost/random problems.
Both larger shops I know that bought ACI have returned it because of terrible problems with it. Absolutely bug-ridden.
The Etherealmind View
I’m excited about this change and believe its good for customers. This move should make it easier for customers to transition to an SDN that makes sense instead of something that makes money for a small team of execs and lucky engineers.