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The networking firm, which last week said it would buy network orchestration specialist Tail-f Systems for $175m, is focused on offering more flexibility in a way that doesn't threaten its hardware sales
Mike Fratto, principal analyst of enterprise network systems at Current Analyst, told CBR Cisco's enterprise SDN strategy has mainly coalesced around Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI).
He said: "ACI's biggest benefit is the abstracted policy based process where nodes and applications are abstracted from physical instantiations.
"The abstracted policy model is similar to abstracted methods in open source projects like Open DayLight and OpenStack's Congress. ACI has other advantages over competitors (and disadvantages!), but it's the policy model that is game changing for Cisco."
About 1,000 customers are now using its SDN products, such as the Nexus 9000, which are controlled by application policy infrastructure controllers (APICs).