For the first time in F5's history, we've exceeded Cisco in overall market share in the L4-7 market as measured by Dell'Oro.  This is an exciting milestone for the company.

Last quarter (Q4 2005) we were declared #1 overall by Gartner in the Application Delivery Controller and Advanced Application Delivery Controller segments and we're anxiously waiting for their Q1 2006 numbers to be released.

One of my colleagues sent an email out on this topic that is worth posting here.  I've added a few comments and embedded some links:

The entire F5 team should be congratulated for the hard work and dedication to help make this happen. When you think about this accomplishment, it’s a significant product and company milestone and really is something that we all can be extremely proud of. This company has grown to define the market, created products which have innovated and challenged the biggest competitors in this space, out executed larger sales organizations, survived lean times, and managed through growth successfully. I don’t think there are a lot of organizations that can point to taking the number 1 share position from not only the industry giant, but a competitor which has historically had a strangle hold on enterprise accounts.

 Consider Cisco’s position for a moment and what we’ve come up against:

  • They wrote their own product  and were there at market inception with Local Director – a 1st generation product [Dan - Local Director was purchased from Network Address Translation Inc. in 1995.  NTI was purchased primarily for the PIX Firewall and Local Director was an offshoot from the same code base]
  • They spent 7 BILLION dollars making up for product gaps by purchasing Arrowpoint – a 2nd generation product [Dan - The price tag for Arrowpoint was just under $6 billion3 months later Nortel purchased Alteon for almost $8 billion.  Arrowpoint was subject to what we called the east coast - west cost wars in Cisco.  Arrowpoint on the east coast and Catalyst on the west coast.  The Catalyst team had their own competing approach to the problem - see next bullet item]
  • [Dan - Cisco also purchased Netiverse for $210 million which was the basis for the CSM product]
  • They mobilized a sales army and leveraged the Cisco brand
  • They purchased other startups like Fineground for roughly $70+ million – Option on ACE now [Dan - the option is not actually available on ACE yet.  This will supposedly be available in 2007]
  • They announced AON late last year and confused the heck out of people. That product is floundering
  • They adopted our messaging about Application Networking and Intelligence.
  • And finally, last month they announced ACE – a 3rd generation product that has already failed to impress analysts and lost on two early accounts to BIG-IP v9

That’s a boat load of money Cisco has spent on a loosing fight with F5!

Best of all, I think the future is extremely bright given our architecture, products and growing market. I think Dan’s quote in the release sums it up well, “There’s a lot of market noise and exaggerated positioning by vendors in this space. That’s why we value research of this nature that helps to provide an accurate picture of what’s really going on in the market place.”

I’m honored to be a part of this team and to get to carry this message! Congrats!


All that being said, Cisco is an amazing company.  We respect them and they are a fierce competitor.  However, when it comes to this segment of the market, F5 has expertise, focus and the will to win that gives us a huge advantage over them.