Freshly back from another year at Cisco’s annual Partner Summit and this year did not disappoint, with lots of announcements and some fantastic direction for 2016. Here are the major announcements and directions that you should know about.

1. Digital Network Architecture (DNA) automates network operations

  • As the next level of Software Defined Networking (SDN), Cisco’s newly announced Digital Network Architecture (DNA) is an open, software-driven architecture that automates your enterprise network operations.
    • The programmable architecture frees your IT staff from time consuming, repetitive network configuration tasks.
    • Turn up network functions with a few clicks and serve customers in engaging new ways as soon as you think of them.
    • All while lowering costs and reducing risk.
    • See a live online demo of this new programmable architecture.



2. CliQr acquisition provides hybrid cloud orchestration

  • On March 1st Cisco acquired CliQr for $260 Million. As organizations move towards hybrid cloud architectures, the ability to manage software and applications across a multi-cloud environment becomes increasingly complicated, and CliQr helps manage that complexity.
  • With the acquisition, we can expect to see this application level management compliment Cisco’s existing InterCloud Fabric strategy to help clients manage their multi-cloud environments.
  • The CliQr team is expected to join the Cisco Insieme team to be integrated into Cisco’s overall SDN strategy.



3.    HyperFlex for a single point of management

  • Potentially one of the biggest announcements this year was the introduction of Cisco’s Hyper Converged platform “HyperFlex”. Hyper converged is a huge growth area where we are seeing clients take advantage of fully integrated compute, storage and networking platforms.
  • Cisco’s introduction to this space takes advantage of their already strong UCS platform and provides a single point of management across the entire hardware and software solution.




4.    Security – end-to-end coverage

  • Since the acquisition of Sourcefire we have seen Cisco put a much larger focus on their end-to-end security This year, more than ever, Cisco sees the opportunity to take advantage of their security portfolio. Although Cisco was late to the game with their Next-Gen Firewall solution they have come a long way and are now the #1 preferred security vendor selected by CIO’s (graphic below).
  • Cisco’s strategy of covering the entire attack continuum (before/during/after) is a major focus for the organization and seems to be hitting home with customers who have struggled with too many products/vendors to cover this previously.




5.    Spark offers both cloud and hybrid options

  • As mentioned in my Collaboration Summit blog, Spark will continue to be a major focus for the collaboration team. Spark Message/Spark Meeting/Spark Call are all available both as a cloud offering or a hybrid cloud. The hybrid option allows customers to utilize their existing voice/video on-premises infrastructure to fully integrate with Spark cloud to provide all the great new features being released with Cisco Spark.
  • To review, the 3 primary solutions with Cisco Spark include:
    • Spark Messaging – this powerful collaboration tool provides persistent chat, document sharing and escalation to voice and video calls. This has been a fantastic tool to collaborate on a project with a single place to keep all communication. For me this has been a fantastic way to reduce email sprawl and keep all communications isolated under a single platform.
    • Spark Meeting – utilizing the benefits of the cloud Spark Meeting seamlessly enables the integration between the boardroom and your mobile device.
    • Spark Calling – Cisco Unified Communications and Hosted Collaboration Service (HCS) are a fantastic solution for our clients with +200 users, but a hosted cloud solution for the SMB market has been challenging. Spark Calling is going to completely revitalize the SMB telephony environment. With the ability to turn up a new phone quickly and easily by simply plugging in a new phone out-of-the-box and immediately offer enterprise class services at very low cost creates an excellent opportunity for our SMB clients.
  • Hybrid with some components available today and most available sometime in CY16 for both Canada and the US. Below is a quick snapshot of the offer packaging that will be available.
  • Start using Spark messaging for free today join at and invite me to a room to continue the conversation.


6.    Cisco ONE Software and ELA

  • Cisco continues to revamp the way that they handle software and licensing.  For all customers the Cisco ONE licensing platform with the Smart Licensing portal can dramatically change the way you purchase and manage licenses. Software no longer needs to be tied to a specific piece of hardware and be re-purchased when the device needs to be refreshed.
  • Perpetual licensing and software bundling available with Cisco ONE can dramatically reduce TCO. Cisco ONE is available for the Data Center, WAN and Access layer portfolios.
  • Cisco’s software Enterprise License Agreements (ELA) are seeing huge success with mid – large size customers with offerings for both Collaboration and Security. The Cisco ELA program provides an “all you can eat” offering which can dramatically reduce licensing costs over the course of the contract. In one customer Long View saw an instant cost savings of 20%, with no additional costs for 3 years even with organic growth.CiscoONE



Another busy year for Partner Summit with lots of information. If you’d like to hear more or continue the conversation please join me in my Spark room and I’d be happy to meet face to face or via video.