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Seeds of Change

October 24, 2014 at 10:08 am PST

While change is a hallmark of the IT industry, the actual levers for change are BLOG-OPEN-COMPUTE-PROJECT-LOGO-FEB12have actually remained fairly stable. Vendors were the initial agents of change largely because they were the only ones with the critical mass of smart people, R&D, manufacturing and service delivery to seed and then maintain a fledgeling industry—barriers to entry were a bit higher 30 years ago than they are today because the innovation was happening at the physical layer—we were still fighting over layer 1 and layer 2. The best thing that happened to this industry was the rapid emergence of standards developing organizations (SDOs) as the next arbiter of change. The action moved up the stack and networking exploded because protocols like Ethernet, TCP/IP and BGP were standardized and created a stable, level playing field that benefited everyone alike. Over the last few years, the open source movement has emerged as the latest lever for change in the industry. By democratizing the whole process of innovation, open hardware and software is giving rise to an astounding rate of change.

Now, there is many a VC pitch that’s hinges on painting Cisco as the ossified incumbent (trust me, I have seen a few), but the inconvenient reality is we have been active contributors in the open networking initiatives that have emerged in the last few years including ONF, OpenStack, OpenDaylight, and OPNFV. To that list, I am pleased to announce that we recently joined the Open Compute Project as a Gold member. The motivation behind our membership is similar to our involvement in the aforementioned open networking projects: we see the OCP community as an excellent forum to work  with our customers to co-develop solutions to meet the challenges they face.

As you many know, OCP is structured into a number of projects (networking, server design, storage, etc). While there are a number of areas where we could (and will likely) engage, the first project will be Networking (shocking, I know), where we feel we can make some useful contributions to the existing work underway.

Beyond this, I do not have a whole lot more to share—to borrow a phrase from a friend of mine, the coin of the realm is code and specs and the work is just getting started for us, but expect to see some cool stuff in the near future.

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IPv6 in the Cisco Live World of Solutions

Just recently I wrote about the IPv6 enabled logo program here at the Cisco Live 2014 World of Solutions (WoS). It is now time to share some of the results! In what follows I will say that I did not have enough time to exhaustively visit every single demonstration in the WoS. My time there was confined to a short window on the Tuesday morning, where I went to investigate and locate the IPv6 enabled demos myself.

Armed with my phone camera and IPv6 enabled logo stickers, I began my journey in the WoS starting with the Cisco demonstrations.

It didn’t take me more than a few steps to find the first one - Cisco Autonomic Networks. My colleague Amit Dutta was showing this technology in action and here you can see him alongside the demo which is tagged with the IPv6 enabled sticker. Check out the technology and the logo! Also leveraging the Autonomic feature set, Cisco was featuring the Autonomic Train with my colleague Toerless Eckert. Read his extensive blog that explains the demonstration in details and watch the video.

Another place in the Cisco campus where I found IPv6 in action was with the Cisco VIRL team. My colleague Joel Obstfeld was showing VIRL in action and v6 is fully supported by VIRL which was on clear show in the WoS. See Joel here alongside the VIRL demo and the IPv6 enabled sticker is on clear view.

onePK provides IPv6 capabilities and were demonstrating this. Jason Pfeifer is seen here alongside his demonstration on the Cisco stand bearing the IPv6 enabled logo.

Cisco Prime also has extensive support for IPv6. I found my colleague Gilles Clugnac demonstrating these capabilities and we identified his demonstration as being IPv6 enabled.

Then I talked to some of the Partners:

  • Citrix Nestcaler provides server load balancing for IPv6 and provides an IPv6 proxy function that allows Data Centre’s and hosted web server to enable a dual stack presence. I met Charles and David on the Citrix stand and they showed me v6 in operation.
  • APCON was showing their Network Monitoring technologies which were fully v6 enabled. Timothy Kcechowski showed me this in operation on the APCON stand and we placed the IPv6 enabled logo on their demo.
  • Netformix has a suite of tools that have long supported IPv6 and they were also happily showing v6 in action. This picture shows Justin Giffen and Mario Oliver alongside the Netformix platform with the IPv6 enabled logo on display.
  • SevOne provides Network Performance Management tools for Big Data. Jason Smith demonstrated this to me and here is his picture alongside their stand with the IPv6 enabled logo on display.
  • Infoblox has a fully featured IPAM/DHCP solution and it is fully capable of IPv6 support. This platform was on display on the Infoblox stand and Ken Crozier showed me IPv6 in operation.
  • Network Instruments provide Monitoring and Analysis tools. They were IPv6 enabled and received their sticker. Here you can see Charles Thompson on the Network Instruments stand alongside the monitor showing the IPv6 enabled logo.

I had a great time meeting old and new friends and spent many an hour in very interesting meetings trying to help move IPv6 forward inside our customer networks. I look forward to Cisco Live in Milan in early 2015 when I hope to be able to place more IPv6 enabled stickers. See you there!

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Autonomic Networking: Where Do We Go From Here?

It’s great to be back at another Cisco Live event, this time in the great city of San Francisco.  This is the last day of the event, and if you have some time, please do stop over at the World of Solutions, where you can see Autonomic Networking in action.  We have set up a live demo of the Autonomic Networking Infrastructure (ANI) at the Service Provider area!  The following figure shows a summary of the functionality, and i’d like to refer you to a previous blog for a more thorough explanation.

ANI

Summarising, the ANI allows networks to grow and self-organize organically, merely by  devices at the edge of the Autonomic Domain joining the Autonomic Control Plane.  A new device is cabled up and powered up and will be discovered by a  device at the edge of the Autonomic Domain/Network through the Channel Discovery Process.  The new device offers its identity to the Network, and the Network, after successful authentication, will deliver a Domain Certificate to the New Device as a result, and this is achieved using the Adjacency Discovery Process.  The New Device can then leverage this Domain Certificate to join the Autonomic Control Plane (ACP), which is essentially an IPv6 based, routed IP infrastructure that is secure/encrypted, self-organising and self-healing, and which cannot be de-configured and is not prone to mis-configurations. Read More »

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Cisco Live 2014……IPv6 Is Everywhere!

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It is so great to be back in one of my favourite cities -- San Francisco ! It is particularly great to be here for one of my all time favourite events -- Cisco Live. This year of course is very special being the 25th anniversary. It is particularly exciting to see so much great innovation and energy being generated all over the event and not least of which by the World of Solutions. Read More »

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Providing the Right Platform is Sometimes All it Takes

Change is the only constant. Except that it isn’t; constant that is. We are seeing changes to IT services, infrastructure, eco-systems, and business models, with consequent demands and expectations that we have not witnessed before. Cisco is responding to all of this with new technologies for the DevOps community, including APIs, development tools, training and more, all of which I discuss below.

The Economist likens this to the Cambrian era that saw the multiplication of life forms that populate our world today: “… this time is … different, in an important way. Today’s entrepreneurial boom is based on more solid foundations than the 1990s internet bubble, which makes it more likely to continue for the foreseeable future.”

What has made this possible, which the Economist illustrates with a variety of examples, is the ubiquity of communications and open source platforms in a “cloud” environment. The Economist lists these elements:

  • …snippets of code that can be copied free from the internet, along with easy-to-learn programming frameworks (such as Ruby on Rails).
  • … services for … sharing code (GitHub) …
  • … “application programming interfaces” (APIs), digital plugs that are multiplying rapidly …
  • … “platforms”—services that can host startups’ offerings (Amazon’s cloud computing), distribute them (Apple’s App Store) and market them (Facebook, Twitter).
  • … the internet, the mother of all platforms, which is now fast, universal and wireless.

What has also changed is that the IT stack is, in effect, collapsing. The “separation of concerns”, that kept the network infrastructure distinct from the applications running over it, is being whittled away. In October 2013 we teamed up Read More »

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