Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins preaches the cloud, but nothing new

Switchzilla's annual gabfest goes over old ground on day one

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Cisco Live CEO keynotes at big vendors' annual gabfests are evangelical events, and Cisco's Chuck Robbins didn't disappoint on that score as he opened this year's Cisco Live. But if customers expected a big reveal of new products or strategies, they would have come away disappointed.

Sure, Robbins name-checked the stars of the Cisco portfolio – its cloud initiative with Google launched last October, its SD-WAN work, its Tetration cloud workload protection platform, its security initiatives, the successful introduction of its Catalyst 9000 platform, the DevNet program – but aside from promises that Switchzilla would continue to evolve, there was precious little to tell us where the next year will take products.

Cisco's Google partnership is a case in point: it was important enough that Robbins brought Diane Green, CEO of Google Cloud, to the stage. Together they discussed the Truly Awesome Scale of Google's infrastructure, and the way the partnership lets enterprises run hybrid clouds.

But this should hardly surprise anyone: the two first announced the partnership last October, and the combination of an on-premises cloud that looked exactly the same as the Google cloud was the point of the tie-up.

The first fruits of that partnership, the Cisco Container Platform, launched in January, and at that time, Cisco said the product will reach general availability during the 2018 northern summer. Robbins and Greene committed to general availability in October 2018, so we know at least that things haven't gone off the rails.

Knowing that a public-private multicloud product will, for example, let systems managers migrate workloads away from a data centre that's end-of-life (as Greene pointed out) merely stated one of the value propositions that underpinned the partnership since last October.

Yes, the Catalyst 9000 is the fastest-ramping product Cisco's ever launched; yes, encrypted traffic analysis that hit general availability in January is an important security capability.

But with no flagship product taking centre-stage, Cisco Live 2018 must work harder if it is going to excite NetAdmins about the company's Bold Plan For Everything ... if such a plan exists. ®


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