There are several reasons for Cisco’s slow pace. The simple fact is that while the SDN movement has generated a significant amount of discussion, it has yet to generate any significant customer demand. For another, Cisco has dominated the market for decade with autonomous networking, so it’s easy to assume the company is assuring current profits by resisting change.
Although Cisco is late to the game it is a good thing that Cisco is delivering. Some months ago I didn’t expect Cisco to enter the OpenFlow market, for the same reasons Greg describes. The only reason Cisco is moving in this space is because every other vendor is. But again, the same reasons still apply and I recognize them in my market too: there is still no customer demand for SDN/Openflow. At the moment it is running in universities and labs (and Google), with promising solutions searching for networks that need them.
I, myself, believe in OpenFlow, but there is a market full of legacy networks that don’t want to reinvest in new hardware needed for OpenFlow. The business case is still not good enough.