Former employee critiques Cisco

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A former Cisco engineer has publicly criticised the networking giant, saying Cisco has neglected application traffic management and lost deals with important resellers as a result.

Mark Verbloot, a former Cisco systems engineer just appointed to a secure systems consultant role at rival F5 Networks, said he had got tired of “consistently being trumped” by F5 in leading accounts across Australia.

“Cisco simply could not compete against F5 in application traffic management,” he said.

“The last six to nine months at Cisco I was coming across customers that were coming back with requirements and features that, quite frankly, weren’t even on Cisco’s roadmap.”

He said Cisco was trying to do too many different things, with a bigger focus in recent years on switches and routers. Channel partners were expected to focus on Cisco’s overall portfolio.

Verbloot is an application management and storage specialist. And he had been “blown away” by what F5 was doing in application traffic management.

F5 was working with vendors such as SAP and Oracle to produce a strong, integrated offering. So he decided to defect, after five years at Cisco, he said.

However, Cisco’s performance in one niche wasn’t the only reason for his departure, Verbloot conceded.

“My background is in smaller companies,” he said.

He added that Cisco had been a “great” company to work for. “I’m not bagging Cisco, but in this particular area they are not developing this best-of-breed product,” Verbloot said.

Peter Witts, public relations manager for Cisco, said Cisco would not respond to competitor claims.

“[However] on the wider issue of traffic management, Cisco is a leading player. In fact, the core functionality that Cisco customers focus on, in the enterprise space in particular, are delivered by Cisco, namely through scalability and performance features for web traffic and secure SSL-type traffic,” Witts said.

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