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SDM: Software Defined Manageability

Much has been made of the emergence of Software Defined Networking and the programmable network.  At its core, SDN involves opening up network interfaces in order to make the network programmable and allow for the development of applications.  While some of those applications interact directly with the data plane, determining how individual packets are treated, many applications actually involve what can fundamentally be described as management functionality – automation of workflows, reaction to events, closing of control loops.   A popular example concerns orchestration, in which resources are allocated and state modified so that collectively a service is provided – in many ways resembling a reincarnation of service provisioning in a new context and under a new name.

Of course, management applications and management interfaces have been around for a long time, so what is really new and different this time?  Is SDN simply an exciting new label for a tired old concept? Does SDN obviate the need for traditional management? At the core of these questions are the concepts of programmability and manageabilityRead More »

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Cisco Opens Up EIGRP

What’s new and exciting with EIGRP (Enhanced Interior Gateway Routing Protocol)? Actually, lots…  First a bit a background on EIGRP.

EIGRP is an advanced distance vector routing protocol used extensively by enterprise customers.  It is very popular because it is simple to deploy and support. Some major attributes are:

  • EIGRP does not mandate many network design requirements and is therefore perceived as “forgiving” and “flexible”.  For example, EIGRP does not require support for multiple routing sub-domains or Areas.
  • While route summarization is a recommended best practice to minimize route table size, it is optional with EIGRP.
  • EIGRP can scale to support thousands of routers in a Hub and Spoke configuration.  The Hub and Spoke design is especially popular in WAN networks.

For additional information on EIGRP, please click here.  There is also a great BLOG that compares EIGRP and OSPF that I think you will find informative and is posted here.

While EIGRP has a large customer following, some customers have hesitated because of concerns of EIGRP being “proprietary”, which would prevent them from multi-vendor network support.  In some cases this has caused customers to design their networks to limit usage of EIGRP, even though they would like to deploy it ubiquitously.  One result has been non-optimal network design and traffic flow, resulting from multiple IGP (Interior Gateway Protocol) redistribution points.

That brings me back to what is new and exciting with EIGRP. Read More »

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A week in my life at Cisco Live London

It is not often you get a peek in the behind scenes of the Cisco Employees who put their personal lives on hold to support a major event like Cisco Live.  I am very sure this blog will not do justice to sharing one person’s perspective, but lets give it a try shall we?

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DO NOT PANIC: Autonomic Networking is on the Horizon!

dontpanic

By looking at the sheer amount of Breakouts and technical sessions here at Cisco Live London, it isn’t hard to understand why networks are becoming more and more complex.  Networks are converging onto single infrastructures, more and more business processes are becoming more network centric and this translates into more functionality and more dependencies between functions and network layers, and thus more complexity.  It becomes very hard for a single human being to understand these dependencies and layer interactions in order to do per-box configuration.  Typically this problem is attempted to be ‘solved’ by moving some of these dependencies and layer interactions into a central place, but that just moves the problem.  Wouldn’t it be cool to allow networks to become self-aware, such that they can learn from their neighboring nodes ? Read More »

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Live from Cisco Live!

This blog is live from the floor of Cisco Live in London. The highlight for me this year in London has been the introduction, with our partners Ping Identity, of the Identity Cloud Connector, built on onePK, as part of the Cisco Cloud Connectors family of solutions. I’ll go into that in more detail below, but first some other highlights.

Yesterday we delivered a full day workshop on network automation, including EEM and introductions to onePK. Bruno Klauser, Joe Clarke, Jason Pfeifer, with me in a supporting role, helped  29 attendees through a series of exercises to help them get the most out of the extensive automation features on our platforms. The attendees must have liked it, as the score was 4.61/5. Well done guys!

The buzz here in the World of Solutions (WoS) is great. We have onePK demonstrations in the Data Centre and Borderless Network architecture zones, and we have been talking to customers and partners non-stop, all day. The Open Network Environment (ONE) strategy has really gripped people’s imagination, and it has been very exciting, and fun, to engage in some serious conversations about what ONE can do for our customers’ businesses. Read More »

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