Cisco overhauls enterprise pricing, hopes to drive software sales

Cisco (CSCO) is packaging various software/services offerings found in its ONE software-defined networking (SDN) platform (previous) into four suites that can be individually licensed, and which are meant for different use cases.

"We have a bunch of products. We’ll turn those products into licenses – a data center suite, a WAN suite, an access suite – for the enterprise," says sales chief Rob Lloyd.

Central to these efforts is Cisco's APIC SDN controller, unveiled last November along with several other products from its Insieme unit, and promising superior app/network visibility relative to alternatives.

Cisco's likely goals, in addition to simplifying its pricing: 1) To head off a slew of SDN rivals - none larger than VMware/Nicira - hoping to sell enterprises on programmable networks capable of running on commodity (read: non-Cisco) gear. 3) To further drive a mix shift towards software at a time when hardware margins are seeing a bit of pressure.

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