IT Pros Vote 2016 SDN/NFV & Software Tool Brand Leaders

Cisco tops four product categories; IBM takes two
CA Technologies, HPE, Microsoft, Oracle, Splunk and VMware also chosen Market Leaders

San Diego, CA—May 25, 2016— IT Brand Pulse, a trusted source for research, data and analysis about data center infrastructure, today announced the results of the recent IT brand leader surveys covering twelve SDN/NFV and Software Tool products.

IT Pros from around the world responded to the independent, non-sponsored survey in April 2016, and were asked which vendors they perceive as the leader in the following categories:

“In the latest round of surveys, enterprise IT pros voted for leaders in four SDN/NFV product categories, and for leaders in eight categories of software tools,” said Frank Berry, CEO and Sr. Analyst, IT Brand Pulse. “The results suggest that Cisco is winning the minds of enterprise IT for SDN/NFV, while longtime enterprise software leaders, CA, IBM, Oracle and VMware have built or acquired brand loyalty for popular software tools.”

Survey Highlights

Cisco emerged as the biggest winner in these annual brand surveys by capturing Market leadership in four product categories:  SDN Enabled Switches (fourth year in a row), SDN Platform (third time in past 4 years), Layer 4-7 NFV Services Platform, and Unified Communications.

  • For SDN Enabled SwitchCisco brought in more than half of the IT pros’ Market Leader votes (with HPE and Dell coming in second and third, respectively), and was named Performance, Reliability, Service & Support, and Innovation leader as well. Dell broke up the monopoly by locking in the Price Leader title.
  • Cisco extended its 2015 sweep for SDN Platform, once again, as respondents picked it to be Market, Price, Performance, Reliability, Service & Support, and Innovation HPE finished in the number two Market position, ahead of Brocade.
  • In Layer 4-7 NFV Services Platform, Cisco upset three-time Market Leader champion, VMware, who—despite having a lock on this category over the last few years—managed to tally only the 2016 Price and Innovation leader awards (and took second in Market, with HPE, third). Cisco was the Performance, Reliability and Service & Support leader choice.
  • From a field of 20 challengers in the Unified Communications survey, voters from the IT community decided on Cisco as the leadership titleholder for Market, Price, Performance, Reliability, Service & Support, and Innovation. Microsoft was the Market Leader runner-up, in front of Avaya.

“Cisco is excited to sweep the ‘Triple Crown’ of IT Brand Pulse leader awards for SDN data center innovations this year,” said Dhritiman Dasgupta, vice president of product marketing for Cisco Data Center solutions.   “Cisco won in the categories of SDN Enabled Switches for the fourth year in a row, SDN Platform for the second year in a row, and this year also won for Layer 4-7 NFV Services.  As the IT Brand Pulse survey demonstrates, Cisco Application Infrastructure (ACI) is the proven, open leader for SDN solutions in the industry.  In addition to strong performance in the data center, Cisco also won for Unified Communications.”

HPE swept SDN Monitoring this time around, after two years of shut outs by Microsoft (who placed second across the board for 2016). Gigamon filled in the third all-around slot.
“We are thrilled to be recognized by IT Pros globally voting us the Number 1 solution this year for monitoring SDN environments in terms of innovation, performance, reliability, service and support and price,” said Dominic Wilde, vice president and general manager, Data Center Switching, Hewlett Packard Enterprise. “As we work to be transform enterprises to hybrid cloud infrastructures, the HPE Intelligent Management Center Software Platform plays a key role in IT infrastructure by delivering comprehensive resource management for a wide range of virtual and physical devices, from routers and switches, to PCs and servers.”

April 2016 Winners chart

Microsoft was one of four vendors to sweep all six leadership awards (per product category) in this round of 2016 brand surveys; securing Market, Price, Performance, Reliability, Service & Support, and Innovation for Application Performance Management Tools. Riverbed was the second-place Market Leader, with HPE, slotted at number three.
“The evolving needs of IT Professionals are a critical factor as we develop application performance management solutions like System Center and Operations Management Suite, and we are honored to be chosen as the market leader in this category,” said Michael Leworthy, Director, Enterprise Cloud Marketing, Microsoft. “Enterprises need trusted solutions that can keep up with today’s pace of business, and we will continue to deliver APM investments to empower IT professionals to drive business transformation through application innovation.”

When it comes to the word “Virtualization” the name seems to be synonymous with one company, and the April survey proved to be no exception. VMware cleaned up all honors for Virtualization Management Tools, garnering nearly three-quarters of the entire Market Leader votes cast, as well as chosen tops in Price, Performance, Reliability, Service & Support, and Innovation. SolarWinds and VMTurbo, rounded out the number two and three Market results.
“We are honored that IT professionals have voted VMware as the clear industry leader in virtualization management across all categories including Price, Performance, Reliability, Service and Support, and Innovation,” said Sajai Krishnan, vice president of product marketing, Cloud Management Business Unit, VMware. “A majority of our customers are able to identify significant savings by using VMware vRealize® Operations to optimize their virtual estate, and many are using VMware vRealize® Suite to build out a private cloud based on a software-defined data center architecture and manage workloads across multiple clouds.”

As a first-time-ever winner in these annual brand leader surveys, CA Technologies scored in IT Infrastructure Monitoring Solutions as IT professionals recognized their leadership for Market, Performance, and Reliability.  SpiceWorks —the third Market finisher, behind Service & Support Leader, Nagios—captured both Innovation and Price achievements.
“We are honored to be recognized by IT pros globally as the 2016 brand leader for IT Infrastructure Monitoring solutions in terms of market, performance and reliability,” said Ali Siddiqui, general manager, Agile Operations, CA Technologies. “This acknowledgment is a testament to our commitment to provide IT executives with flexible and scalable solutions that enable them to proactively optimize IT infrastructure performance across their on-premises and cloud environments.”

Another inaugural winner, Splunk, pulled in five of the six available leader awards for Security Info & Event Management Solutions. As the 2016 Market, Price, Performance, Reliability, and Innovation pick, Splunk kept SolarWinds (who won Service & Support) to second-place Market Leader. RSA filled in the third position.

Although Oracle came out on top as the Market, Innovation and Service & Support leader for Business Intelligence Tools, it shared the remaining titles with both SAP (Performance and Reliability), and Microsoft (Price). SAP was next in line for Market Leader, ahead of IBM.

The seven product categories encompassing Software Tools are new to the IT Brand Pulse survey calendar, and IBM topped two: Functional Testing Tools and Identity & Access Management Tools. IBM secured Market, Performance, Reliability, and Innovation titles, with HPE nabbing Price and Service & Support. Oracle and HPE slipped into the next Market Leader positions, accordingly.

IT Brand Leader Surveys

IT Brand Pulse awards are the symbols for brand leadership. Winners are voted by global IT pros in surveys that are independent, non-sponsored research.  The surveys are designed to measure the pulse of brand leadership in specific product categories. Within each product category, respondents choose the overall market leader, as well as the leader in price, performance, reliability, service and support, and innovation. Respondents are provided with a category description at the start of each product section, a randomized choice of vendor answers, and the ability to write-in a vendor, if not listed.

Global IT Pro respondents to recent surveys include:
20th Century Fox – Aetna – American Airlines – American Express – AT&T – Bank of America – Becton Dickinson – Bhabha Atomic Research Ctr – Blue Cross-Blue Shield (BCBSA) – Boeing – Boston Scientific – British Columbia Lottery  – Burger King – Caltech – Caterpillar – Cineca – Citigroup – City of L.A. –  ComEd – Cox Communications – C.R. BARD – Daybreak Game Co. (Sony Online Entertainment) – Delta Airlines – Delta Dental  – Detroit Medical Ctr –  Ernst & Young  – ESPN – Expedia – ExxonMobil – FAA – FedEx – Ford Motor Co. – GE – General Dynamics – General Motors – Grupo Terra – Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab – J. M. Smucker Co. – JP Morgan – Lockheed Martin – Los Alamos National Lab (LANL) – Lowe’s – LRZ – Macys – Michael Kors – MIT – Morgan Stanley – NASA – Nationwide Insurance –  NYC Transportation – Northrop Grumman – Oppenheimer – Optum – PepsiCo – Perrigo – PPG Industries – Porsche Cars N.A. – Prudential – REI – Ricoh – SAIC – Shell – Siemens  – Stanford University – Staples – Target – Thomson Reuters – T-Mobile – Torchmark – Transamerica – UBS – UPS – UNFCU – United Airlines – Universal Parks & Resorts – USC – U.S. Dept. of Commerce – Verizon – Vonage – Walmart – Weizmann Institute of Science ..& many more.

About IT Brand Pulse
IT Brand Pulse is a trusted source of research, data and analysis about private, public and hybrid cloud IT infrastructure, including servers, storage, networking and operating platforms. Learn more at

Cheryl Parker
Director & Senior AnaIyst, End User Research
IT Brand Pulse

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