Cisco Systems has named Gary Moore as its first COO, formally giving CEO John Chambers a sidekick to help transition the switching and routing king into new markets in the data centre and beyond.

A 10-year Cisco veteran, Moore has been running the $8 billion-a-year Cisco Services business as an executive vice president and will now oversee engineering, marketing, operations and services organisations. Moore will report to Chambers though isn't necessarily seen as a successor to the CEO, who has been in that role since 1995.

Chambers said: "I have tremendous confidence in Gary's ability to align Cisco's world class innovation engine with industry leading operational practices to drive and extend the next generation of Cisco's market leadership."

Such skills will be crucial to Cisco's success going forward as it looks to own new markets beyond its flagship switching and routing businesses, including data centre products such as servers and consumer offerings including umi personal telepresence systems. For the first time in company history, revenue in Cisco's core routing and switching markets has been overtaken by sales of new products and associated services in data centre, virtualisation, video, collaboration and mobility.

Chambers acknowledged earlier this month when announcing Q2 financial results that switch sales have been hurt of late due to the company being "in the middle of major product transitions" and that the $40 billion company is feeling "pricing pressures." Industry watchers have expressed concern about whether Cisco is spreading itself too thin in its effort to diversify.

Questions also have been raised about whether Cisco really "gets" its new markets, including the consumer market, and the company's share price slumped earlier this month after analysts downgraded the stock out of concern about increased competition and lower margins for Cisco. 

Cisco competitors from HP to Juniper show no signs of letting up either, with Juniper expected later this week to make a big cloud switching announcement. 

Meanwhile, Cisco's marketers on Tuesday cranked out an update on "customer and technology milestones" related to its newer products, including that the company has sold Unified Computing Systems to about 4,000 customers.