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Networking Field Day 5: SDN and Unicorn Blood

March 10, 2013 at 11:51 pm PST

So, we wrapped up our day with the Networking Field Day crew last week with a free form discussion on where we go next with SDN.  To be honest, the session did not go quite as I envisioned, but, in retrospect, I would not changed anything.  As Ethan Banks (of PacketPushers fame) noted in Twitter, this session was more about shooting the unicorns than letting them run free.  It seems that if we are going to convert our SDN unicorns into SDN plough horses, we are going to shed a little blood.  At the end of the day, the market will be served by frank conversations—we need to move beyond painting SDN acolytes as starry-eyed and SDN detractors as being heretical and reactionary.

In the interest of keeping the conversation going, here are some of the things I walked away with after the conversation on Wednesday (in no particular order):

Is Hardware Innovation is Over?

This industry has always been one big pendulum and, currently, the pendulum is firmly in the software camp.  Today, many of the truly interesting things in networking are going on with software.  While most would agree we are at an inflection point with programmability, there are no clear directions for the evolution of SDN.  Certainly there are pieces in place like OpenFlow and OpenStack, but OF 1.3 in unlikely to be the zenith of OF evolution let alone SDN evolution—current technologies will continue to mature and new ones will inevitably emerge.  More importantly, the “how we do things” and “what do want to accomplish” of SDN will most certainly continue to evolve and as long as that is the case, software will rule because it’s simply easier and faster to experiment with software.  But, once some clear directions begin to emerge, I guarantee you the action will swing back towards the hardware because doing things in hardware tends to be faster and more efficient.  I could point to Cisco examples of this, but instead look at what Intel, the poster child for general purpose processors, has done with VT extensions to support virtualization or QuickSync for video transcoding.

Is OpenFlow Ready for PrimeTime?

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One of the more contentious points yesterday is if OpenFlow is production ready.  I think it’s a flawed “do these jeans make me e look fat” kind of question.  There are certainly folks out there using OF to handle production traffic—for example, some of the cool things Brent Salisbury is doing.  So, it’s not a binary question, but more a matter of assessing scope and scale. The better question to ask is what is the operational and performance envelope of OpenFlow and how does that match my needs, priorities, and capabilities. The risk with any emerging technology is that, often, the only way you find the edge of the envelope is once you’re on the other side, usually with colorful and memorable results. Regardless, I don’t see this question existing in another year or so.

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Three Years Post-Quake, Emergency Channels Still Vital Resource

Neelley Hicks, UMCBy Neelley Hicks, Guest Columnist

Near the epicenter of the 7.0 magnitude earthquake in Haiti, less than three months after it occurred, Clif Guy of Church of the Resurrection (COR) encountered a unique challenge: how to build a communications infrastructure so what was happening on the ground could be conveyed to incoming relief teams and others who had invested themselves in the Petit Goave community.

As director of IT at COR, Guy was used to technical challenges – but not of this scale. Spotty electricity and lack of Internet access in an area that had just suffered its worst natural disaster presented issues like never before. (Read how Clif used Google Earth to engineer a network to connect Haiti’s most needed areas.) Read More »

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Government Cloud CIO Roundtable (February 27, 2013)

March 10, 2013 at 1:38 pm PST

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Two weeks ago, we had the pleasure of hosting a TelePresence roundtable for 46 Public Sector CxO-level executives from 20 locations throughout Europe, Middle-East and Africa (see map below). The event was moderated by Jens Mortensen (Director Central Government & Healthcare, Cisco EMEAR) and the main objectives were:

  • To present and debate on 3 perspectives of Government Cloud Governance: Policy, Insourcing Model, Outsourcing Model
  • To share best practices and alternative governance models with peers in different countries
  • To help shape, plan and implement a proven strategy for government cloud

The CTO of a central ICT agency in Europe reported: “I valued the pragmatic approach (presentations from people in the public sector who actually have a service running) and the possibility to ‘network’ with very relevant people for the cloud project [my organization] is working on).”

The CEO of an ICT Provider for Government agencies reported: “I enjoyed the discussion very much. Clearly there are very many different approaches to implementation of domain cloud solutions for both public and private sector needs based on local supply structures and government culture.”

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Congrats to Abe Peled for the Lifetime Achievement Award at Cable Congress!

This week in London, our own Dr. Abe Peled accepted the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award from Digital TV Europe, as part of its “Euro 50 Awards” at this week’s Cable Congress.

Anyone who knows Abe knows that he’s a quick-witted, highly intelligent, super-motivated gentleman, and we’re all sincerely glad he’s part of the Cisco team, following our acquisition of NDS in 2012.

Abe has 40 years of accomplishments in the digital TV industry. He started his television life in 1974 at IBM’s Research Division, working on advanced digital signal processing techniques, and advanced up and up and up until he was named VP/Systems and Software, overseeing all of IBM’s research labs, worldwide. His work there even landed his face on a cover story in the New York Times’ Business section, in August of ’91. Read More »

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Cisco Sizzle – February Edition

Welcome to the Cisco Sizzle! Each month, we’re rounding up the best of the best from across our social media channels for your reading Cisco_Sizzle_Finalpleasure. From the most read blog posts to the top engaging content on Facebook or LinkedIn, catch up on things you might have missed, or on the articles you just want to see again, all in one place.

Let’s take a look back at the top content from February…

The Internet of Everything Economy
Cisco CEO John Chambers discusses the possibilities of the Internet of Everything Economy and the $14.4 trillion market opportunity for companies and industries worldwide over the next 10 years.

EIGRP: Enhanced Interior Gateway Routing Protocol
Chris Le and Donnie Savage discussed the reasons behind Cisco’s opening up EIGRP as an informational draft, how this benefits customers, and Cisco’s plan moving forward. Learn more: http://cs.co/jlbYTeigrp.

Cisco StadiumVision Mobile
Who watched the Super Bowl last month? Learn how Cisco is transforming the fan experience with Cisco StadiumVision Mobile, a groundbreaking solution that delivers live video to fans’ mobile devices to create an entirely new experience in sports and entertainment venues.

Super Wi-Fi
What connections could a Public Super Wi-Fi bring to the Internet of Everything?

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Collaboration: Cisco’s Approach
What really matters in collaboration? In the first of a series of blog posts, Cisco’s Rowan Trollope starts a frank conversation about what’s top of mind for IT, how Cisco is addressing these needs and how Microsoft’s approach is not hitting the mark.

Stay tuned for next month’s edition of the Cisco Sizzle for even more great content!

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