As I was thinking about how best to advise you on how to “experiment” with SDN technologies, and more specifically why you should run a formal pilot to evaluate SDN technology options (a topic I covered in my previous blog), I was reminded of this “wipeout” picture I took last year at a “freeride” competition – the “Coe Cup“ -- at my local ski mountain, Glencoe Moutain Resort, here in the UK. Let me tell you why!
Why you may want to “pilot” new technology adoption!
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.
Cisco Live Milan is around the corner and I’m getting my session, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to onePK, ready for it’s European debut. While it’s lovely to be in the CiscoLive Distinguished Speaker Hall of Fame, putting a good presentation together hasn’t gotten any easier. The hard questions still need to be asked: Do I have too many slides? Have I crossed the line between technical and boring? Will the demos work? Will anyone laugh at my jokes?
And perhaps most importantly for this session: does anyone read Douglas Adams any more?
Here’s why. I borrowed the title of Douglas Adam’s iconic Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy for good reason. The original Hitchhiker’s Guide follows an ordinary guy, Arthur Dent, as he is unwillingly dragged into an intra-galactic adventure, with little more than the Guide, a pint of beer and a packet of peanuts to see him through. Faced with the vast and confusing world of Software Defined Networking (SDN) and programmability, network engineers are in a position to know exactly how Arthur Dent felt. New buzzwords, emerging standards, an abundance of marketing slides with vague but brightly colored blobs, and a lot of talk about programming languages can be disorienting to the best of us.
Notice that I did not call my session the Hitchhiker’s Guide to SDN. SDN calls for more of an Encyclopedia Galactica than a Hitchhiker’s Guide, if you know what I mean. Instead, my aim is to take a deep dive into one aspect of network programmability that network engineers can really relate to: onePK. Read More »