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New Technologies for the Delivery of Services

Reduction in the complexity of deploying and managing services, accelerating new service introduction, and reducing capital/operational expenditure overhead are key priorities for network operators today. These priorities are in part driven by the need to generate more revenue per user. But competitive pressures and increasing demand from consumers are also pushing them to experiment with new and innovative services. These services may require unique capabilities that are specific to a given network operator and in addition may require the ability to tailor service characteristics on a per-consumer basis. This evolved service delivery paradigm mandates that the network operator have the ability to integrate policy enforcement alongside the deployment of services, applications, and content, while maintaining optimal use of available network capacity and resources. Read More »

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Distributed? Centralized? Both?

Part of the interest in programmatic interfaces is fueled by the desire to logically centralize network control functions. A global view of network state can have many benefits but it does not preclude the use of distributed protocols within the network.  Network Programming Interfaces (NPIs) provide a facility to construct global state, mutate that state and distribute that state to the network which in combination with distributed protocols can aid in achieving greater network efficiencies, improve visibility, robustness and add to the value of the network overall. When used the right way, these NPIs will help set a new balance between centralized and distributed control.  Key to this balance will be domain or deployment specific constraints. Read More »

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Moving Networks to IPv6 MPLS (Bye-Bye IPv4 MPLS)

Now that the Internet community is done officially launching IPv6 (World IPv6 Launch) on June 6th, it is about time to seriously think about the co-existence of IPv6 and MPLS (i.e. MPLSv6) without relying on IPv4 for any control plane functionality.

Is it possible now? Well, yes (though the mileage may vary). Read More »

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2010+ networking software: how to open up, how to speed new ideas to market

The onePK announcement Ric describes in the previous blog entry is game changing. It also intersects a trend which has gone fairly unnoticed in the networking standards areas. The importance of new standards is declining relative to advances in software and hardware. Read More »

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onePK – Building Applications and Agents on API’s Across Cisco’s Network OS’s

Cisco’s OnePK (one Platform Kit) – APIs and the accompanying SDK is finally launching this week at Cisco Live! For myself and a few friends in Cisco, it has been a long journey to this point! Our passion is opening the network operating systems in such a way that customers can collaborate directly in code with the developers of the OSes and the platforms. The greatest challenge was, and still is, crafting a set of consistent and functional APIs covering the breadth of features in our network OSes.

Anyone who knows Cisco networking knows that feature consistency and breadth are all too often not found together. The unique challenge we have had is to achieve consistency without settling for a lowest common denominator approach. Letting platforms show their strengths while still offering a consistent programming model is a great challenge, and one I hope we will live up to.

Software Defined Networking, public networking APIs and abstractions are still in their infancy. Compare where we are today to the rich history of GUI APIs that we can read about here:

Networking APIs today are at a stage analogous to where applications under MS-DOS with proprietary GUIs were in the late 80s, coming up to the 1990s, when mainstream use of the desktop API’s propelled us into a decade of innovation in GUI elements and abstractions. Are we here with Network OSs?

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