Cisco is well-known as the giant of the networking industry, but that's not enough for CEO John Chambers. At Cisco's financial analyst meeting today, Chambers said that his goal is be the world's number one IT company.
Chambers said that the pace of change today is faster than ever before, and he's confident that his company is helping to lead the pace of innovation.
"If you don't bring out new high-end products on a regular basis, then you become like many of my IT peers, which is less and less relevant," Chambers said.
He stressed that in the modern IT environment, success for Cisco is not just about selling a switch or a router. Rather, he said, it's about solving customer challenges in a unique way. Cisco is engaged in multiple sectors and has many competitors challenging it. In the enterprise networking space, Juniper and HP are among the vendor's myriad competitors. While some have seen a slowdown in the enterprise networking market, Chambers said that the Cisco enterprise networking pipeline is strong, with the volume of deals in the $1 million to $5 million range growing.
"The big deals are back," Chambers said. "This is an indication of business confidence and growth, and we feel very good about our ability to maintain and grow our enterprise and commercial business in the U.S."
A key part of Cisco's growth strategy is the leveraging of its security assets.
"Security used to be a silo, and now it will be in an architecture," Chambers said.
Chambers added that for those vendors that only have point products like firewall or Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) devices, the bad guys will find a way around them. That's why having a full architectural approach is necessary to cover all the bases.
There is no topic hotter in the world of networking today than Software Defined Networking, and Cisco is positioning itself to benefit from its potential. Again, Chambers stressed his firm's overall architectural approach as key, along with its existing trusted relationships with organizations around the world.
"With SDN, are people going to change their primary networking provider?" Chamber asked rhetorically. He answered his own question: "Nope." Chambers said that organizations buy into Cisco's history of being there for them in good times and in not-so-good times.
"Why are we going to win at SDN? It plays to all our strengths," Chambers said.
One of those strengths is Cisco custom silicon. He argued that those that use merchant silicon are just "putting one network on top of another."
Cisco launched its new Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) approach to SDN in November, and it's already seeing traction, according to Chambers.
After just five weeks, Chambers said that ACI already has 305 serious customers. He added that in terms of deal size, there are three ACI deals in the works now that are worth between $40 million and $100 million.
Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at Enterprise Networking Planet and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist