Over the last several months, since Cisco announced its Open Network Environment strategy, there has been considerable progress on multiple fronts:
- Early field trials (EFTs) with several Enterprise and Service Provider customers
- Proof-of-concepts (PoCs) and customer feedback providing more insight into use-cases and product evolution
- Several acquisitions have been announced that complement the strategy we outlined
- Our engagement and leadership in all the standards bodies around various aspects of open networking continue to grow
During all of these activities and customer interactions, what stood out was the considerable appetite amongst customers and others to learn about these emerging concepts in a more structured way. They expressed a strong desire to break through some of the hype cycle that has pervaded the industry around some of these topics, causing some degree of confusion. They also asked Cisco to present information in an easily consumable manner.
Given the breadth of our portfolio and the diversity of our customer base, this was a bit of challenge for us. A lot of this information was disbursed across different landing pages, blog sites etc. So we had to take a fresh approach to accede to this request.
Based on efforts over the last several weeks, the team has built two foundational portals that serve the purpose of both information aggregation as well as hopefully a watering hole for knowledge seekers -
The Cisco ONE Knowledge portal: This is a centralized aggregated information repository of all the content that we are generating around the topic of open networking across the portfolio, whether it is more formal and structured, or more informal and social. The information here is organized in a more structured way, based on type of content and the chronology.
Check this out at www.cisco.com/go/one and click on the “Knowledge Portal” tab.
What you will see is some quality content manifest itself over time, as we bring the consolidated efforts from various Cisco thought leaders, customers, analysts etc. and assets including more demos, deployment use-cases, case-studies etc. We are also initiating a series of webcasts on this topic to do a deeper dive on technology topics with roughly a 4-6 week cadence, with Cisco CTOs across various technology groups mostly leading the sessions. The intent is to Educate in a more structured manner. For example, we’re kicking off the first of these Cisco ONE webinars with “An Introduction to OpenStack”. (If you have not registered for the webcast yet, please do so).
We sincerely welcome your feedback on how to continue to improve the content as well as experience with the Cisco ONE knowledge portal.
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Tags: Cisco ONE, Cisco Open Network Environment, Knowledge Portal, OpenStack, SDN
True Story: When my son was about 3, I took him to go see his first movie in an actual movie theater. They had just built a brand new theater near our home and he was suitably impressed with all the bright shiny lights. Anyway, we got our popcorn and grabbed our seats just as the lights were dimming (you never really go anywhere quickly when an inquisitive toddler is involved). We got through the movie trailers, then, to my surprise, my son popped out of his seat and said he was ready to go home. Being his first movie-going experience, he thought the trailers were the big deal and did not realize we had not yet gotten to the featured attraction.
I was reminded of this after watching some conversations around SDN and programmability unfold over the last few days. If you believe to some of the folks out there, SDN is a settled matter--the technology is done, use cases nailed, and winning vendors already crowned. All that’s left is for the janitors to sweep the popcorn off the floor.
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Tags: Cisco Open Network Environment, future, OpenFlow, OpenStack, SDN
So, with our announcements around OpenStack this week a few folks have asked me how OpenStack fits into our broader strategies like Cisco Open Network Environment. The short answer is “quite well, actually”, the longer answer follows.
If you look back our original introduction of the Cisco Open Network Environment, we made a couple of points—there is a plurality of use cases and as a result, there need to be a plurality of enabling technologies. While there are common objectives such as agility and programmability to better handle the macro trends like cloud and virtualization, the truth is, everyone has their own design objectives and priorities. To that sentiment, I might add that folks have varying operational objectives and priorities—the appetite for the amount of risk and complexity they want to take on.
With the three-pillar structure of the Open Network Environment, we feel like we have given folks the flexibility to choose the right technologies for the job. With initiatives like OpenStack we now support a different kind of flexibility.
While a segment of the market seems to want to start writing their own protocols and hand-wiring flow tables, a different segment of the market is moving in the other direction, expressing a desire to get out of the infrastructure business and focus their time and efforts on their apps and their users—this has traditionally been the Vblock and FlexPod crowd. With OpenStack, they now have another option—they get the programmability we talk about with the Open Network Environment, but at the stack level, instead of at the box level. The idea behind something like the Cisco Edition of OpenStack is simplify the task and reduce the risks of standing up a cloud stack. You have the full Folsom release of OpenStack, some Puppet recipes to simplify deployment and validation against the relevant Cisco hardware (follow that last link for details).
To get more insights into our OpenStack announcements this week, check our this blog by Lew Tucker, our VP/CTO for Cloud Computing and this post by Kyle Mestery, one of the many Cisco folks who has invested a great deal of time and effort in OpenStack.
One final thought. We are a long way from being done yet. In just the last few days, I blogged about how our Virtuata and vCider acquisitions fit into a multi-cloud strategy, we have had the aforementioned posts related to this week’s OpenStack announcements, and Rodrigo Flores just posted about our Multi-Cloud Acceleration Kits for our Intelligent Automation for Cloud solution. While cloud is the destination, there are many ways to get there as we have customers and we will continue to innovate and partner on a number of fronts and in a number of ways that will likely surprise some folks. Stay tuned.
Tags: Cisco Open Network Environment, Cloud Computing, FlexPod, OpenStack, programmability, SDN, Vblock, virtualization
For those of you wondering about the impact to Cisco of Software Defined Networking and the combined SDN strategy of VMware and Nicira, I point you to a very rational and well-articulated article by Mike Fratto of Network Computing, that basically says Cisco doesn’t have much to worry about. (Enterprise Strategy Group had already said something similar, by the way).
Specifically, Fratto says:
The lack of programmability in existing networking hardware is certainly a problem, but VMware’s acquisition of Nicira does not mean that Cisco and its ilk will be marginalized… It does mean the role and management of the physical network is changing, and I think Cisco is further ahead than most of its competitors in creating a vision for the next phase of networking.
I couldn’t agree more. Since Cisco live! when we announced our Cisco ONE strategy for network programmability as well as the advances in our Nexus 1000V portfolio for virtual network overlays, I have been posting on many of the same points.
My take here was that the VMware-Nicira acquisition did not portend a strategic break with Cisco, and while there are some obvious overlaps in our product lines, there are still a number of areas of collaboration, cooperation and interoperability. The virtual network infrastructure is just one piece of a larger software stack and the differentiation will likely be decided in the orchestration, management and applications built on top of the newly programmable infrastructures sometime down the road. Read More »
Tags: Cisco ONE, Cisco Open Network Environment, FabricPath, LISP, Nexus 1000v, Nexus 5000, Nexus 7000, Nicira, OpenStack, OTV, SDN, software defined networking, virtual network overlays, VMware, vPath, VXLAN