VMware and Cisco can be 'best friends'

Joseph Waring
11 Apr 2014

VMware’s networking CTO Martin Casado insists that the company isn’t completing directly against Cisco in the SDN space. “Cisco builds physical gear. We build software at the edge.”

Casado, who helped invent OpenFlow (the underlying protocol for SDN) and co-founded Nicira Networks, which was sold in VMware in 2012 for almost $1.3 billion, said everybody loves a David and Goliath story.

“When you're a startup, you want to galvanize the way people think. So you're kind of like, this is the enemy. You do that. But let's be honest. The reality is, Cisco builds great physical gear. And we build great software at the edge, and there's no reason why there isn't this great joint world together.”

The view of going head-to-head against Cisco is a result of that earlier startup hype, but the reality is that's actually not the case, he said. Some 70% of VMware’s deployments have Cisco physical infrastructure.

Casado, the keynote speaker at the Cloud Innovation Summit organized by NetEvents near San Jose, admitted there are some pieces of overlap, but they're incredibly small.

Giving an example, he said many of the deals that they've sold lately are based on functionality that Cisco could never do in an ASIC. “It's stuff that's done in software on the edge with the aid of the hypervisor. You can still have Cisco physical gear, and you can have the software that we've done. There's no real overlap, because they don't have the functionality. And we'd be best friends.”

See story on Casado’s keynote:NFV is now about security -- VMware's Casado

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