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SDN: Cisco Domain Ten tells us it’s not (just) about the Network

In my first SDN blog, I asserted that “Services” – that is technical support, professional and consultancy services – are the missing “S” in the SDN debate.  I’d now like to apply our Cisco Domain TenSM framework “in anger” :-) to examine in more detail the impacts that SDN may have on your IT services and operations.  While come of our competitors will only talk about the network switches and new device protocols,  l’ll show how it’s not just the network switches that you should be concerned with: your SDN and Cisco ONE journey could involve impacts across multiple “domains”.

As I bogged about Cisco Domain Ten this past year, I’ve positioned it as a mechanism to help you on your data center journey.  Let me now extend that use – SDN after all is more than just a data center technology play.  My experience with Cisco Domain Ten over the past year has helped me realize that it is, in fact, an excellent framework for considering impacts to more general IT services, and not just to  the data center .  I’ll also illustrate my case with both service provider and enterprise/business/public sector examples.

The following diagram summarizes the areas impacted – let’s discuss each one.

SDN Impacts - via Cisco Domain Ten

SDN Impacts – via Cisco Domain Ten

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The Programmable Network: IP and Optical Convergence

Someday soon, personal sensors, wearable gadgets, and embedded devices and services may make today’s PCs, laptops, tablets, and smartphones look quaint by comparison. But as the Internet of Everything­ (IoE) ─ with its diverse array of devices accessing a plethora of existing and new services ─ continues to rapidly evolve, user friendly interfaces mask growing complexity within networks. An article on today’s digital designers in the September 2013 issue of Wired captured how the focus is now “creating not products or interfaces but experiences, a million invisible transactions” and that “even as our devices have individually gotten simpler, the cumulative complexity of all of them is increasing.”

Which inevitably takes us behind the curtain to the exciting challenge of building hyper-efficient programmable networks using virtualization, the cloud, Software Defined Networking (SDN), and other technologies, architectures, and standards.

So far, this blog series on The Programmable Network has described various new and exciting capabilities leading to greater efficiencies and cost benefits. We’ve shared with you how you can now:

  • Visualize and control traffic using path computation via a network controller
  • Monitor and optimize traffic flows across network connections
  • Order services through an easy-to-use online portal which then launches automated service creation tasks

These capabilities are all Read More »

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ONE + ONE = 6: The New Enterprise Programmability Math

In my last blog I discussed how Cisco ONE Enterprise Networks Architecture fits with the Cisco ONE. Let’s now look at how the new Cisco ONE Enterprise Architecture provides at least 6 significant benefits to Enterprises. ONE + ONE = 6!

Problems that Enterprises are facing:

As enterprises are consolidating their IT infrastructure into private cloud (enterprise data-centers) or public/hybrid clouds they’re realizing massive economies of scale in application deployments. Further, they’re taking advantage of XaaS (Software/Infrastructure as a Service) offerings from Cloud Service Providers with Pay As You Go models that increase the speed of deployment and the agility of their business critical applications. This is a major shift in how applications are now being delivered over the WAN to their end-users in branch offices and on mobile/BYOD devices. IT consolidation and virtualization in the data-center are placing a lot of requirements on the enterprise WAN. Business agility and end-user and customer application experience are imposing critical requirements on the WAN. The major challenges that enterprises are facing with cloud migration are: Read More »

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ONE + ONE = 6: New Math for Enterprise Programmability

In my previous 3-part blog series I discussed the challenges in the Enterprise WAN and relevancy of SDN in overcoming these challenges and how Cisco ONE Enterprise Networks Architecture addresses these WAN challenges. In this blog post I will discuss how Cisco ONE (Open Network Environment) and ONE Enterprise Networks Architecture fit together. In a following blog, I will discuss how Cisco ONE Enterprise Networks Architecture provides six significant benefits to enterprises through programmability. ONE + ONE = 6 is the new math for Enterprise programmability!

Cisco ONE

Cisco ONE (Open Network Environment)

Cisco ONE is a comprehensive, Cisco wide solution (not just data center) approach to making networks more open, programmable, and application-aware. There are numerous blogs, and videos about Cisco ONE that can be found here. As a brief summary, Cisco ONE comprises of 3 pillars that provide a programmable approach to both physical and virtual infrastructure: Read More »

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SDN 101: What It Is, Why It Matters, and How to Do It

Despite all the buzz about software-defined networking (SDN), many organizations don’t yet have a clear idea of how it will benefit them. In this blog, I’ll tackle the what and why of SDN, and explain the different approaches you can consider.

What: A Disruptive Approach to Network Control

For the last quarter century, network devices have performed two types of processing:

  • The data plane looks at a routing table to decide where to forward packets. This processing takes place in dedicated hardware ASICs.
  • The control plane takes care of everything else, such as spanning tree, AAA, exporting NetFlow statistics, SNMP, and more. The control plane is implemented in software, and you can think of it as the brains of the network element.

So, if your network includes 200, 2000, or 20,000 network devices, that means you’re managing 200, 2000, or 20,000 control planes and keeping all of them up to date. Read More »

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