While that might sound self-serving, he had some evidence to back it up -- a gain of 7.2 points in overall service-provider router market share (to 57.4 percent) since last year, according to stats from ACG Research .
"In the customer set that was the most resistant to using a single vendor, we gained more market share in a year" than any single vendor has before, Chambers said.
It was a highlighted point during Chambers's keynote at Cisco Live, the company's annual customer and partner event.
Chambers had set up that "most resistant" comment by explaining to the audience (most of whom come from enterprise IT) that service providers were a fiercely independent breed. They preferred to use a variety of network gear, forcing vendors to interoperate with each other.
"What's the problem with that? Connectivity is now commoditized," Chambers said. Service providers need to find new revenue sources (and cost-cutting sources), and that's made them more open to a single-vendor architectural approach, he claimed.
The shift is important because architectures have become a central part of Cisco's strategy. They'll be particularly crucial to Cisco's plans in cloud computing and software-defined networking.
Of course, that's nothing new for Cisco; like any big company, it's always looked for ways to sell more products to each customer.
But Cisco is coming out of a restructuring that saw the company pare down to five priorities: routing and switching; the data center; video; collaboration; and technology and business architectures. The whole "architecture" idea is now formally a tenet of the company.
At Cisco Live last year, Chambers had noted that he thinks these transitions are going to happen more frequently. He alluded to that idea a few times during his keynote Tuesday. "Market transitions wait for no one," he said. "The speed of change is just getting started in terms of this hyperconnected world."
Last year, Chambers had also promised to simplify Cisco for its customers, and a cursory audience poll gave him a mixed report card there. Asked how many people found Cisco easier to work with than last year, a smattering of people raised their hands. "About the same" got a much stronger response. Only one or two attendees voted that Cisco had actually gotten worse.
One thing Cisco might have to start doing is disclosing its longer-term plans, Chambers said. This goes hand-in-hand with the whole "architectures" thing. If Cisco is asking customers to commit to major business transformations based on big architectures, it's going to have to talk about the next step -- the multiple phases of those architectures and how they tie into one another. "We've got to get better at that," he said.
- Cisco's Software Router Targets the Cloud
- Cisco Broadens Its Software-Defined Networking
- Chambers Promises a Simpler Cisco
- Cisco Live 2011 in Photos
— Craig Matsumoto, Managing Editor, Light Reading