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Delivering Policy in the Age of Open Source

This is an exciting time in the history of datacenter infrastructure.  We are witnessing the collision of two major trends: the maturation of open source software and the redefinition of infrastructure policy.
The trend towards open source is self-evident.  Platforms such as OpenStack and OpenDaylight are gaining huge developer mindshare as well as support and investment from major vendors.  Even some newer technologies like Docker, which employs linux kernel containers, and Ceph, a software-based storage solution, offer promising paths in open source.  Given the fundamental requirements of interoperability in architecturally diverse infrastructure environments, its no surprise that open source is gaining momentum.

The second trend around policy is a bit earlier in its evolution but equally disruptive.  Today, there is a huge disconnect between how application developers think about their requirements and the languages and tools through which they are communicated to the infrastructure itself.  For example,  just to handle networking, a simple three tier app must be deconstructed into an array of VLANs, ACLs, and routes spread across a number of devices.  Storage and compute present similar challenges as well.   To simplify this interaction and create more scalable systems, we need to actually rethink how resources are requested and distributed between different components.  This really boils down to shifting the abstraction model away from configuring individual devices to focus on separately capturing user intent, operational, infrastructure, and compliance requirements.

At Cisco, we’ve really embraced both of these trends.  We are active contributors to over 100 open source projects and were founding members of OpenStack Neutron and OpenDaylight.  We’ve also made open source a successful business practice by incorporating and integrating popular projects with our products.  In parallel, Cisco has accumulated a lot of experience in describing policy through the work we’ve done with Cisco Unified Computing (UCS) and most recently with Cisco Application-Centric Infrastructure (ACI).

Building on this foundation, we see a unique opportunity to collaborate with the open source community to deliver a vision for policy-driven infrastructure.  This will enhance the usability, scale, and interoperability of open source software and benefit the entire infrastructure ecosystem.

This vision includes two initiatives in the open source community:

GroupBasedPolicy

  1. Group-Based Policy: An information model designed to express applications’ resource requirements from the network through a hardware-independent, declarative language and leave a simple control and dataplane in place.  This approach replaces traditional networking constructs like VLANs with new primitives such as “groups”, which model tiers or components of an application, and “contracts” describing relationships between them.  Group-Based Policy will be available in the context of OpenStack Neutron as well as OpenDaylight through a plug in model that can support any software or hardware infrastructure.
  2. OpFlex: A distributed framework of intelligent agents within each networking device designed to resolve policies.  These agents would translate an abstract, hardware-independent policy taken from a logically central repository into device-specific features and capabilities.

 

Let’s look a bit more closely at each of these initiatives.

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Midsize Renewable Energy agency in India optimizes network for efficiency

Renewable energy

The World energy demand will be 41% higher in 2035 with India and China accounting for half the growth.

The development of renewable energy sources ranks as a key responsibility for the top economies in the world. India, as one of the top 5 emitters of greenhouse gasses, has prioritized the development of renewable energy resources.

Read More on how this Indian agency deployed a network that promotes energy conservation below.

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Seven Years – Hundreds of Millions of Fans Engaged

Cisco Sports & Entertainment is proud to be celebrating our seven-year anniversary this year as a specialized industry vertical business unit – and it’s simply incredible to look back and see how far we, and more importantly the industry, have come in such a short period of time.  The key to success has been working with our customers in defining their needs and tailoring, or engineering, a few solutions while always keeping in mind the “fan trends” and business models.  This infographic sums it up nicely – more than 200 venues, in more than 30 countries around the world flawlessly engaging hundreds of millions of fans, who were previously unconnected to the live action.

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Cisco GMCC Team – My Gratitude

I would like to personally thank the entire Global Marketing and Corporate Communications team at Cisco for the amazing work they do!

Because of their tenacity, creativity and dedication to elevating Cisco’s brand throughout 2013, I accepted the Marketer of the Year award for Brand Building on behalf of our team at last week’s Marketers that Matter awards ceremony in San Francisco.

This talented team continues to inspire me, but also our employees, our customers and our partners on a global scale. They have set the bar high for building a brand in an age of the empowered and connected customer, truly bringing the Internet of Everything to life.

Congratulations all around and my GRATITUDE! I am so fortunate to work with such a talented team.

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Check out the video below that was part of the winning nomination!

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Almost time for Cisco Live 2014 – San Francisco, CA – May 18-22

Can you believe it has been almost a year since we all gathered together in Orlando at Cisco Live? Well, it has and you know what that means -- it is just about time for Cisco Live San Francisco!

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One of the great things about Cisco Live is the educational experience afforded to everyone who is in attendance on-site and who joins via the Internet at Cisco Live Online (https://www.ciscolive.com/online/connect/publicDashboard.ww). There are hundreds of sessions where you can learn about networking technologies -- from Mastering Subnetting (BRKCRT-9346), to Nexus 7000 Virtual Device Context Design (BRKDCT-2121), and even the latest information on the Architecture of the Nexus 9000 (BRKDCT-3640). There are sessions encompassing Data Center, Security, Service Provider, Certifications, Wireless, Voice, etc. They have sessions for everyone and every skill level – it is a great chance to gain exposure to technologies that you have only heard of! Read More »

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