Cisco to begin field trials of ACI virtual edge, focus on public cloud applications

Cisco sign (flikr)
Cisco said that over 4,000 customers already use its ACI SDN platform.

Cisco is set to begin early field trials for its ACI Virtual Edge (AVE), its next-gen Application Virtual Switch (AVS) for ACI environments, signaling the momentum the company is creating for its transition to being more software-centric.

Frank Palumbo, SVP global data center and enterprise networking sales for Cisco, confirmed the trials in a blog post on the eve of next week’s VMworld trade show.

“We are on schedule to ship by the end of this year,” Palumbo said. “The ACI Virtual Edge is hypervisor independent, offering consistent policy control across multiple hypervisors, with our initial version targeted for VMware ESXi.”

RELATED: Cisco continues software transition, but slow service provider spending, switching impacts Q4 results

As its software-defined networking (SDN) solution, Cisco’s Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) offers the vendor’s customers mapping hardware and software capabilities through a unified application-based policy model.

Cisco ACI architecture

Earlier this week, Cisco announced that it would put its ACI solution into the public cloud, including AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google. This means that a number of the ACI solution’s key elements, such as unified security policy, single-pane-of-glass management and visibility, will soon be available on these cloud platforms.

Cisco said that over 4,000 customers already use its ACI SDN platform.  

This move is part of Cisco’s overall effort to transform itself into a software-centric vendor as its traditional router and switching line revenue continue to decline.

In its fourth quarter earnings, Cisco generated 31% of its total revenue from recurring offers, an increase of almost four points from a year ago. Revenue from software subscriptions increased 18% and now represents over 50% of the vendor’s software revenue. However, total product orders for the fourth quarter were flat.

Revenue from subscriptions now represents 51%, or $5 billion, of the company's software revenue and 31% of Cisco's total revenue. While this is a notable transition, Cisco continues to suffer near-term setbacks from weak carrier and enterprise spending.