5 Vendors Exploiting Cisco's ADN Downshift

Cisco Hits Stop On ADN

In a move first confirmed by CRN in September, Cisco will cease development of its Application Control Engine (ACE) load-balancer products, effectively leaving behind a major piece of its Layer 4-7 switching/application delivery networking strategy. Naturally, Cisco's biggest competitors in the ADN space are pouncing on the opportunity to gain market share, and while Cisco's isn't exactly market-crushing -- it has a roughly 11 percent share, according to most analysts -- it's hardly inconsequential.

Here's a look at five Cisco ACE competitors looking to exploit an admitted Cisco weakness.

F5 Networks

CEO: John McAdam

F5 is the big daddy of the ADN space, with a roughly 50 percent share of Layer 4-7 switching according to an analyst consensus. The company has had a Cisco trade-in program in place for years, but following Cisco's ACE announcement, sweetened the pot for solution providers, who can now earn twice the trade-in value for Cisco load-balancing and GSLB products, as well as an additional front-end discount margin and combined promotions under F5's security sales channel program, Vault.

A10 Networks

CEO: Lee Chen

As one of the smaller, scrappier alternative vendors in the ADN space, A10 Networks has a good chance to get visibility during a market shift like this one. It confirmed to CRN details of a trade-in promotion through which customers can receive up to $24,000 plus installation and migration services for trading in Cisco ACE models for A10 AX Series ADCs. A spokesperson told CRN that the installed base for Cisco ACE products -- especially customers coming to the end of their current ACE product life cycles -- makes for plenty of attractive conversion targets.

Array Networks

CEO: Michael Zhao

Array Networks is still much better known in Asia than in North America, but the company has been expanding its U.S. market presence in the past year and poured resources into its U.S. channel, especially partners that target financial services and health-care customers.

An Array spokesperson confirmed to CRN that Array's "Race to Replace" program will offer Cisco customers who trade in ACE equipment for Array APV Series ADCs up to $30,000 in rebates on products and services. Array will especially be pushing its software-based ADCs for virtualized environments.

Riverbed Technology

CEO: Jerry M. Kennelly

Riverbed is better known for its WAN optimization market dominance, but it's an increasingly more relevant ADN stakeholder given its recent acquisitions and deeper expansion into areas such as application delivery, Web content optimization and core-to-edge application availability. Riverbed's been pushing the ADN capabilities contained in its Stingray platform and has a trade-out program with what it describes as "financial incentives that provide a TCO advantage compared to ACE or other ADCs on the market." Riverbed is also offering free developer licenses to customers to experiment with Stingray.


CEO: Roy Zisapel

Radware, too, is offering customers a migration path off Cisco ACE. In an email to CRN, James Colby, Radware's vice president, marketing and channels, had this to say:

"As I see it, Radware's philosophy regarding the migration of ACE users seems to be somewhat unique. Trade-in prices is of secondary importance to businesses having to adopt new key IT infrastructure. It goes without saying that we will match or exceed the trade-in values offered by our competition; more importantly Radware is focused on offering businesses the lowest risk path to the adoption of the latest generation of Application Delivery fabric. Radware's professional services teams are working closely with new clients to ensure that the technology migrations are as seamless and painless as possible. This is true for customers requiring entry point, low capacity load balancing solutions all the way up to large scale, high-density virtualized and multi-tenancy application delivery infrastructure."