ORLANDO — Four years ago at Cisco Live, the network giant’s DevNet develop community was nascent, but creating a buzz. Four years later, Cisco announced the community has surpassed 500,000 registered members, and expanded the program in several new avenues, most notably introducing a marketplace for networking code and apps built by community members.
Susie Wee, vice president and CTO of DevNet at Cisco, said that membership number meant the community has attained “critical mass” and showed that in the networking world, the innovation model is shifting towards software, as the networking giant itself has since the rise of Chuck Robbins to the top role.
“We have a programmable infrastructure, and a community using the APIs on top of it. Now, we’re building an ecosystem of people coding, and people who can use that code,” Wee said. “That code turns into products and solutions, and now we’re enabling the business ecosystem.”
In a note likely to resonate with many Cisco partners, Wee said that innovation on the network “is not just reselling [technologies] in a bundle anymore,” but rather today found in building unique code — and using that provided by others.
With the community growing, and achieving greater prominence with Cisco itself pivoting towards software over the last three years, the company has added some new functionality and capabilities to the program, seeking to help members learn, as well as exposing and marketing their own unique offerings.
The DevNet Ecosystem Exchange is the first marketplace for DevNet-developed applications that can be bundled into solutions, with a goal of providing greater visibility for the products of Cisco-focused developers to the broader Cisco partner ecosystem. Wee also said it would provide a place for systems integrators and other partners looking to build customized solutions using parts or all of those offerings. At launch this week at Cisco Live, the company is currently highlighting 1,300 applications on the Ecosystem Exchange.
For smaller pieces or components of a solution, the company is also introducing Code Exchange, which Wee described as a curated list of software built around Cisco’s platforms and APIs. Whereas Ecosystem Exchange is about getting commercial-ready or usable code to market through the broader Cisco partner ecosystem, Code Exchange is about finding pieces that to use when building those applications, including sample code, connectors, and open source applications or applets.
“You know there’s code out there, but what can you use in your own work?” Wee said. “We look at listings across GitHub and curate what’s recommended.”
Finally, the company is adding what it calls DevNet Developer Centers, sub-hubs within DevNet that cover a variety of Cisco- and partner-related topics, including its DNA Center software, and its developing partnership with Google around Hybrid Cloud.
At a time when Cisco and other vendors, are pushing partners — and in many cases partners as pushing themselves — to develop unique intellectual property, often in the form of code, DevNet and the more traditional Cisco partner program are “inextricably linked,” said Rick Snyder, senior vice president of Cisco’s Americas Partner Organization.
“We’re seeing that most partners have a level of application development capability,” Snyder said, noting that partners are building out their coding skills both organically and through acquisition, with the latter model providing particularly popular among larger partners.