David Goeckeler is replacing Rob Soderbery as head of Cisco’s enterprise networking group, reporting to Soni Jiandani, according to multiple news reports and an SDxCentral source close to Cisco.
Jiandani, meanwhile, has been promoted to head of the Insieme unit, reporting to CEO Chuck Robbins. The changes were announced internally by Robbins last week.
Jiandani’s ascent reflects the success of the Insieme spin-in within Cisco. Insieme, which created the Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI), received about $100 million of funding from Cisco in 2012; Cisco then paid $863 million to acquire Insieme in November 2013.
On its most recent earnings call, Cisco reported that of total data center switching revenue of $4 billion per year, $2.25 billion is from its ACI software-defined networking (SDN) portfolio, which includes both hardware and software, according to IDC analyst Rohit Mehra.
“I have to say if it is $2.25 billion, then in the quarter Cisco [ACI] did from $500 to $600 million,” says Mehra. “Last quarter they had said it was about $2 billion annualized. This time it’s up to $2.25 billion. I think it’s pretty impressive.”
The timing of Jiandani’s promotion may have something to do with the final payout to the original Insieme team, according to SDxCentral’s source.
Meanwhile, news outlets are reporting that three other key Insieme team members — Mario Mazzola, Prem Jain, and Luca Cafiero — have been moved to internal advisory roles. Together with Jiandani, they had founded three startups that Cisco has acquired: Andiamo, Nuova, and Insieme.
Mehra says these folks have been serial entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley for decades. “I think it would be fair to say we should not be expecting them to be here for the long run. At a certain point, the Cisco machine should kick in. Once ACI is running full-steam ahead, I have to believe this may not be interesting as a day job.”
Cisco hasn’t made any official announcements about Soderbery, who has been a visible spokesman for the company in his role as head of enterprise products, including switching, routing, and wireless. The business unit has been challenged in its revenue growth partly because of the maturity of its technologies.
“While data center cloud is a hot area, growing rapidly, and security is growing rapidly, in the case of the standard enterprise networking portfolio, some may want to call it mundane,” says Mehra. “It’s a tough situation to be in. You are the market leader, and the market itself is not growing as rapidly as some of the other units.”