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How Intercloud May Extend Cisco’s Leadership in Collaboration

Wow!  Last week was a big week for Cloud news.   Whilst Amazon Web Service, Microsoft and Google started a price war or ‘race to the bottom’ for Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) services, Cisco came out with a potentially industry-shaping announcement around Cloud Services.

On March 24th Cisco announced plans to build the world’s largest global Intercloud together with a set of partners to create a network of clouds.  This is not a trivial investment, Cisco expects to invest more than $1 billion in its cloud business over the next two years.  This ‘Intercloud’ will feature APIs for rapid application development and will deliver a new enterprise-class portfolio of cloud IT services.

Cisco’s overall strategy for the cloud is based on the premise that there will be a “world of many clouds.” My colleague Fabio Gori wrote a great blog describing how Intercloud is the critical enabler to capture the immense value of the Internet of Everything (IoE).  In this post, Fabio provides a clear summary of how we see Intercloud impacting the next phase of cloud computing, the IoE and ultimately how we all collaborate.

Intercloud and Collaboration

Gartner consistently places Cisco in the Leaders Quadrant for Unified Communications, and we think the Intercloud can help us further extend our leadership by enabling our partners to offer even better experiences, on multiple devices, and across multiple platforms by connecting the world of many collaboration clouds.    Read More »

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Cisco ISR 4451-X Wins Best of Interop for Networking – No Fooling!

 130A0355The Interop Las Vegas team chose April Fools’ as the day to announce the Best of Interop winners – a curious choice some may say. But, there was no fooling when the Interop team announced the Cisco ISR 4451-X Converged Branch Infrastructure for the Best of Interop Networking category.

Here is what judge Kurt Marko wrote about the solution:

“Convergence has been a persistent theme at Interop for several years, yet it’s typically been applied to data center infrastructure. With the ISR 4451-X branch office router platform, Cisco is … transforming a product line that began as a way to connect remote sites to corporate networks and the Internet into a small-scale data center in a box…a very small, 2U box. … The product’s innovative hardware design splits the control and data planes between two multi-core CPUs. … The 4451-X is poised to address the gap between networking functions that are fully virtualized and those that are still embedded in dedicated networking devices. While edge devices with varying degrees of virtualization have preceded it, Cisco has exploited its UCS expertise to meld the traditional networking features of its branch platform with a general-purpose compute engine, opening the door to levels of integration that allow a blurring of where computing ends and networking begins. As organizations transition to greater virtualization of applications and network services, as embodied by NFV, the 4451-X will facilitate the shift and could serve as a model for future converged hardware designs.”

It is great validation that industry experts like Kurt Marko and other Interop judges understood the importance of convergence in the branch with an architecture that delivers unprecedented compute and WAN service performanceThis advancement in routing comes at a very important time, when the industry is quickly migrating to mobile-cloud architectures and preparing for the Internet of Things. Both trends have dramatically changed branch requirements and have raised the dependency on the network to support business operations. Read More »

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Cisco Technologies featured at OFC/NFOEC’14: Programmable, Converged & Highly Scalable

By Leonard Luna, Senior Marketing Manager, Cisco Service Provider Solutions

This past March at OFC/NFOEC’14 in San Francisco, California, Cisco was a once again a significant part of the leading edge dialog.  Organizers took full advantage of the dynamic Moscone Center facilities to create a highly compelling environment for suppliers, analysts, industry experts and end users to collaborate on optical and networking solutions.  The event was very successful for Cisco from both a face-to-face and social media perspective.


Above: View onsite observations from Sanjeev Mervana, Cisco Sr. Director Product & Solution Marketing, direct from Cisco booth at OFC’14

This year, we leveraged one of our largest booths ever to create some ambitious live demos showcasing how Evolved Programmable Networks (EPN) are designed to handle the challenges and opportunities presented by the Internet of Everything.  The entire Network Convergence System (NCS 6000, 4000 and 2000) was live within the booth, and one year after its introduction at OFC, an expanded Cisco CPAK family of transceiver modules was also featured, including the LR4, SR10, ER4 and show favorite – the Cisco CPAK 10 x 10G LR solution.

If you missed your opportunity to engage with Cisco at OFC’14, you can view the following video demos created right on the show floor to see a few of our attendee’s favorites:  Read More »

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Introducing OpFlex – A new standards-based protocol for Application Centric Infrastructure

Continuing on its tradition of contributing and committing to open source and open standards over the last 25 years, today Cisco announced “OpFlex” – a new open standards-based protocol for Application Centric Infrastructure that has been submitted into the IETF standardization process. We believe this will accelerate multi-vendor innovation in data center and cloud networks to drive operational simplicity, lower costs and increased agility.

Why is this required?

Traditional SDN models today function on the basis of an imperative control model with a centralized controller and distributed network entities that support the lowest common denominator feature set across vendors such as bridges, ports and tunnels. As the network scales, the controller becomes a bottleneck due to the need to maintain increased state, and starts to impact performance and resiliency. Likewise, because the applications, ops and infrastructure requirements need to be translated into network configuration, it impacts agility and introduces a manual learning process, requiring app developers to describe their requirements in low-level constructs.

OpFlex1

If we contrast that with the vision of the ACI model with the Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC), ACI adopts a declarative management approach. This model abstracts applications, operations and infrastructure providing simplification and agility. By distributing complexity to the edges, it also increases better scalability, and allows for resiliency – i.e. the data forwarding can still continue to happen even if there is no controller. It further provides ease of use with self-documenting policies automatically deployed or cleaned up from devices as necessary. All of these help circumvent the issues seen in traditional SDN models.

For this declarative model to work across a multi-vendor environment, to translate and map policy definition into the infrastructure, there has hitherto been no standard protocol to do that across physical/virtual switches, routers and L4-L7 network services. This vacuum has led to the development of “OpFlex” – a new open standard recently submitted to the IETF.

Who is contributing to OpFlex?

Several industry leaders and practitioners are actively involved in the standardization process. These include Microsoft, IBM, Citrix and SunGard Availability Services, in addition to Cisco.

Read More »

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Cisco Intelligent WAN (IWAN)

April 2, 2014 at 9:00 am PST

In the last three weeks, I have been to two Cisco Events. The first was in Munich (Halbergmoos), which was a dedicated IWAN Workshop in the Cisco Offices and the second was the Cisco Network Innovation Summit in Berlin. I was inspired about the technology and the possibilities of IWAN.

What the heck is IWAN?

IWAN is an abbreviation of Intelligent Wide Area Network. Cisco says it delivers an uncompromisable user experience over any connection. Now, you can benefit from the right-sized connections for your branch offices, while gaining operational simplicity with lower costs. So it bundles a set of features to form a solution. Cisco Intelligent WAN is based on the following components: Read More »

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