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NetApp prefers to work with partners like Cisco, Microsoft, Citrix and Red Hat to ensure integration of multivendor infrastructures work as promised, NetApp's Georgens said. "This has clearly been a very strong story for us all year long, and continues into this quarter," he said.
Julie Parrish, senior vice president of worldwide sales at NetApp, said that despite the EMC-Lenovo relationship and VMware's acquisition of Nicira, NetApp does not expect to see any big changes in its relationship with Cisco.
"We think customer dynamics are more important," Parrish said. "Cisco had a long relationship with EMC. Despite that, we have nearly 1,300 joint customers with Cisco and FlexPod. And VMware's success is based on its heterogeneous relationships. So, we expect no major changes because of [the recent EMC and VMware moves]."
Germane to the VMware Nicira discussion is Cisco's role in the burgeoning SDN ecosystem, which not surprisingly came up several times during Wednesday's Cisco earnings call.
Cisco's Chambers echoed recent comments from other Cisco executives saying Cisco would be an active player as virtualization becomes more relevant to networking and the idea of programmable, flexible, software-centric network infrastructure takes hold.
"Our goal is to lead this evolution along with our partners," Chambers said, arguing that Cisco "saw virtualization coming early" and, indeed, jumped on the opportunity with the release of its virtualized Nexus 1000v switch in 2009.
Cisco is well positioned for the SDN trend, Chambers added, because customers optimizing their networks will look to the mix of hardware and software expertise that Cisco offers. Customers will also be well served by Cisco's "complete framework" of solutions. Others are Cisco's customers already thanks to the company's vast global market presence, which gives Cisco "a unique lens into customer requirements."
The SDN evolution will play out over many years, Chambers maintained.
Joseph Kovar contributed to this article