Back To: Gartner Magic Quadrant for Data Center Networking 2016
Cisco Systems


1. Cisco has a large and loyal installed base of customers that are comfortable configuring Cisco products, which can simplify deployments and limit training costs.

2. Cisco has product portfolio and sales channels to cover all verticals and geographies.

3. We are seeing increasing interest from Gartner clients in Cisco Nexus 9000 switches, which is driving increased adoption of these products.

4. Early adopters of ACI software have noted that software and hardware quality are good, although most customers are using it primarily for automation and centralized management, versus advanced service orchestration and policy management.

5. In addition to networking, Cisco provides compute, storage networking, security and unified communications (UC) solutions. This appeals to customers looking to limit the number of vendors they purchase from.


1. Cisco has a history of creating products that rely on closed and/or proprietary features, leading to vendor lock-in. This extends to the Cisco ACI solution, which dictates both hardware and software components.

2. Customers have noted that migrating from legacy networking infrastructures to ACI is difficult because of the requirement to understand dependencies between applications and the manual configuration that is required to define application profiles.

3. Based on client proposals, Cisco's overall data center networking hardware and software solutions are generally more expensive than other vendors'.

4. Cisco and its channel have repeatedly informed customers that upgrading Nexus 9000-series switches from non-ACI to ACI mode is very difficult.

5. Cisco's customers complain to Gartner about a lack of investment protection. Specific examples include Nexus 9300 FFF spine switches that cannot be converted from non-ACI to ACI mode, and lack of full ACI support for Nexus 7000 switches and UCS.

Source: Gartner.