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Looking Beyond Cost Savings with SDN and NFV

Cisco SDN and NFVA few weeks ago when we announced the Cisco APIC Enterprise Module, in response to a post by Cisco VP Jeff Reed, David had quite a lengthy comment to which I’d like to respond.  His specific question (within the full comment) was:

Do you see an upside for more value-added offerings — beyond the current anticipated cost-savings debate about the promise of SDN/NFV technologies?

First, thank you David for your questions.  In short, Yes.  At Cisco we see a lot of value in offering services to our Enterprise customers and also to our partners who offer managed services to their customers. Let me expand on this.

Cisco is fully aware of the emerging market segments with the still nascent SDN technology adoption. As you say, larger telcos and cloud service providers are looking at SDN/NFV with open hardware assessments and are more interested in scaling their deployments of multi-tenancy architectures. Whereas small and medium sized enterprises are evaluating SDN with a more application-centric approach. The main concern, given their modest investment infrastructure, (compared to the telcos and cloud service providers) is about having agile IT that can respond quickly to their business needs. Read More »

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Executing on Virtualization

With all the talk around virtualization in our industry, it’s easy to get a bit confused.  Between our industry’s love of acronyms and passionate evangelism of technological specs, it can be far too difficult at times to determine what’s really important, what is real, and what is just talk.  Our announcement of the Cisco Evolved Services Platform today is meant to address these very points.  It represents the progress we’ve made on our provider virtualization strategy and, unlike many others in the industry, orients the talk of virtualization around real business benefits and customer deployments.

The Evolved Services Platform represents a fundamental shift in the way service provider networks will be built.  It not only has the industry’s broadest, most comprehensive range of virtualized functions, but it also orchestrates them to create, automate and provision services in real time, across compute, storage and network functions across the entire architecture.  As the middle layer of the Cisco ONE SP architecture which works in conjunction with the infrastructure layer – the Evolved Programmable Network which we announced in September – the ESP ensures the right type of experience for subscribers regardless of how or where they connect to the network.  And it does this while also delivering both significant operational cost savings and the ability to more easily and quickly pursue new revenue generating opportunities.  In essence, the ESP does the equivalent for a service provider business as a retail storefront, factory, and tool kit would do for a manufacturer. It allows them to “manufacture” network experiences quickly, efficiently, and in a customized manner.

Those experiences can be many and span the entire provider’s existing services portfolio, plus an ever increasing array of new services that are now or will be possible in Internet of Everything.  But to help keep the business orientation of this announcement, we’re announcing the first two service modules, complete with business models that can help quantify the benefits to the providers that are interested in or already deploying them: Read More »

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Get Started on SDN and Cisco ONE: Learn from Our New Technical White Paper

February 14, 2014 at 11:26 am PST

If you were to believe the industry press, you could easily be forgiven for thinking that many companies across the world were rolling software defined networking (SDN) technologies into their networks today.  I’m part of Cisco’s Services team and my colleagues across the world are the experts in helping you all design and deploy networks.  If there is a large or complex leading (or bleeding!) edge network out there being designed, you can place a safe bet that someone from the Cisco Services team is involved helping our customers achieve their targets.  If you’re involved in deploying any type of high technology equipment, you’ll appreciate that there is a world of difference between selling, demoing, and actually making it all work in your environment when it comes to new technology. Our team are in the latter camp.

So what are our consultants telling me about SDN in the real world?  Excluding a few notable high profile cases (usually involving hyper-scale data centers) they are not seeing -- as yet, to be honest -- many early deployments.  However they are seeing a growing number of customers interest in learning about and evaluating SDN related technologies -- including Cisco ONE, NFV and in particular Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI).  And they are providing some early feedback on the use cases of SDN that customers are most interested in.  They are all clear, however, on this point: this is the time to learn what SDN and Cisco ONE can do for your network in the future.

So how do you get started in SDN?  Let me outline 5 key steps to help you get started.  I’ll also point you to a technical white paper written by Mitch Mitchiner and Reema Prasad, two of our Customer Solutions Architects in Cisco Services, two of our experts responsible for making all of this work for you, your team and your business.  I also recommend you check out the video link I’ve provided, for an excellent live demo of Cisco ONE technology, first presented at Cisco Live last year.  This video gives a live demo of latency-based routing, one of the use cases described in Mitch and Reema’s paper.

Read More »

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Programmability in Python: Confessions of a Networking Guy

I am not qualified to discuss it much, but can you guess what this does?

     ne = NetworkElement("172.16.66.1", "JasonsApp")
     conn = ne.connect("admin", "cisco", sc)
     intf1 = ne.get_interface_by_name("FastEthernet0/1")
     intf1.shut_down(1)
     sleep(5)
     intf1.shut_down(0)

 

If you guessed that it logs into a switch at 172.16.66.1 and disables interface F0/1 for 5 seconds and re-enables it, then you guessed right.

Let us talk a little about putting the “ability” in programmability.  Did I code in college? Yes. Was I good at it? Not really. Dijksta’s algorithm (the actual coding bit) drove me crazy, however, actually using and operating networks quickly became my cup of tea. I became a network geek. Subnets? Awesome! Cisco CLI? Sweet. Using Enhanced Interior Gateway Routing Protocol (EIGRP)? Yay! AVVID? Even better. But I never wanted to see C++ or another “program” again.

Fast forward to 2014.  I’m still a networking guy but now I’m seeing code again.  The good news is, maybe like you, I hang out with some really cool people. I challenged a couple of them to help me demonstrate program “ability” to networking people on the show floor at CiscoLive Milan…with me as the test subject! Read More »

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Cisco Announces Breakthrough Hybrid Cloud Solutions

Cisco’s vision for ‘The World of Many Clouds’™ drove us to a leading position in the Cloud Market:

  • Cloud infrastructure equipment sales: Ranked #1 in the industry three quarters in a row by Synergy Research for Q3 2013
  • According to IDC analysts and buyer perception, Cisco is an IDC MarketScape “Major Player” worldwide. (IDC MarketScape: Worldwide Cloud Professional Services 2013 Vendor Analysis)
  • Cisco named a “Strong Performer” and earns top marks on strategy for strategic vision and roadmap in private cloud software solutions (The Forrester WaveTM: Private Cloud Solutions, Q4 2013, Forrester Research, Inc.)

On January 28, at Cisco Live! in Milan, we announced important extensions to our Cloud Portfolio.

In this fast evolving cloud market, customers require flexible solutions to extend their infrastructure, take advantage of public cloud services and optimize their sourcing options, while maintaining consistent policy and security mechanisms.

Use cases like Test and Develop, Capacity Augmentation and Disaster Recovery require customers to integrate internally sourced services with public cloud and virtual private cloud services. Business leaders are realizing that the use of public cloud services needs be to standardized by IT to manage escalating costs, security risks and compliance requirements.

Enterprises and public sector institutions are eager to embrace a hybrid cloud model, but current approaches offered by large public cloud providers are proprietary and lock customers into their way of consumption. Other hybrid cloud approaches require customer to have a consistent hypervisor environment.

Customers want to make hybrid cloud the new normal, and they expect to do it with choice, consistency, control and compliance.

Our new Cisco InterCloud solution accomplishes all that – it enables bi-directional secure workload mobility to and from any supported or participating cloud provider, is hypervisor agnostic and it works with heterogeneous infrastructures. Depending on your IT and business requirements you can now move your data and applications to the Public Cloud with end-to-end security.

At the same time, Cisco InterCloud allows cloud providers to lower the barrier to public and virtual private cloud adoption, and easily extend their customers encapsulated data center into the public cloud with consistent network and security policies.

Read More »

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