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Cisco and OpenFlow

With acolytes of open networking flocking to the Open Networking Summit this week, folks have been pinging me on what Cisco has been doing on this front recently.  So, if we look at open networking in general, we were pleased to have made some significant contributions to the Diablo release of OpenStack–for more details on that, check out this post by my cohort, James Urquhart.

On the OpenFlow front, I went to the source–our lead smart guy on our OpenFlow efforts–David Meyer.  David is a Distinguished Engineer at Cisco Systems, where he works on future directions for Internet technologies such as OpenFlow and Software Defined Networking.

Omar Sultan:  So, David, what is new with Cisco and OpenFlow since we joined in the Open Networking Foundation earlier this year?
David Meyer: Well, probably the most notable news is that we have announced that we will be providing OpenFlow support on our Nexus switches.

OS: Wow–that will surprise a lot of people–folks are gong to wonder why we would want to do this–its counter-intuitive…
DM: Not really–Cisco had always embraced disruption–we don’t always get it right on the first shot, but we usually get it in the end.  Take server virtualization as an example–while we may not have been first off the line, we now have the broadest and strongest portfolio of virtualization networking technologies in the market.  Critics only saw the short-term impact to our switching revenue (less ports sold) but we saw the transformational value of virtualization. We see SDN in a similar light–as the next evolution of networking and we see OF as an excellent mechanism to drive maturation of both the technology and the underlying thinking.

OS: Do I sense a bit of hedging about OpenFlow in its current state in that last response?
DM: Well, we believe that the OpenFlow specification needs to be fleshed out a bit more before its truly production ready–that’s why I am here.


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STP is not the problem, but FabricPath will fix it!

Few years ago, in order to interact with the audience, I started a Cisco Live presentation involving some Spanning Tree design with three questions:

  • Who hates the Spanning Tree Protocol (STP)?
    This one is easy. You could sell ice blocks to an Eskimo based on the ubiquitous hatred for STP. Here, I got a good 90% of the hands in the air.
  • Who has a good understanding of STP?
    More personal question, but this is Cisco Live, with networking experts all over the place. Some 60-70% hands were raised.
  • Who thinks that the root bridge can block a port?
    Audience stunned! Some were shaking their head, with a negative expression, the others suddenly realized they had an urgent email to check or looked away. Among the more than 100 attendees, only one person in the front was frantically raising his hand. Too bad for him, there was no prize.

I drew two conclusions from this:

  • First, giving the impression that you’re thinking your audience is made of idiots is not good for your session evaluation.

FabricPath, Dilbert-style

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Unified Fabric : Cisco Technology Executives Are Answering Your Questions

On October 25 at 9:00 am PST/ 12:00 pm EST , join a very special webcast  “Evolutionary Fabric. Revolutionary Scale “ with customers, analysts and Cisco executives and experts for conversations about the benefits of Cisco Unified Fabric .

I asked the other day our favorite bloggers Omar Sultan, Brian Gracely and Shashi Kiran to tell me why they think this webcast is important for our customers

“There is a lot going on in the data center these days – There is a continue expansion of virtualization , we see broader adoption of cloud and we see emerging trends, big data being the newest and trendiest of the hot data center topics – So there are folks out there who will tell you, you know what each of these needs special equipment, they have unique requirements , your regular infrastructure will not be able to handle these requirements So what we do believe is that each of these requirements, big data, cloud have their own specific needs , we truly don’t believe that you need purpose built hardware , at least if your infrastructure is built the right way “ Omar Sultan

So this webcast is really about learning how Cisco’s fabric-based approach delivers architectural flexibility across physical, virtual and cloud environments for any application.

For Brian Gracely the equation is simple to remember  : Cisco Unified FABRIC is Fast, Agile, Best of breed, Resiliant, Innovative, Cisco-based

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Looking back at Oracle OpenWorld: Intelligent Automation and Oracle on UCS

In case you missed it, the Cisco Intelligent Automation team was at Oracle OpenWorld a couple weeks ago. This fall has been packed with events for our team, ranging from major partner shows like SAP TechEd and VMworld to local Cisco Tech Days – and we’re at VMworld in Copenhagen this week.

That’s because our Intelligent Automation software solutions are relevant across the entire IT landscape. The more resources and applications that Cisco Intelligent Automation manages, the more our customers achieve efficiencies in their data center – including for Oracle applications and database management.

The Oracle event was a success for Intelligent Automation. We had three theater presentations and two demo pods about Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud and Cisco Tidal Enterprise Scheduler for Oracle enterprise applications running on Cisco UCS. We had great discussions about the heterogeneous adapter framework built into these solutions and showed our self-service provisioning and cross-application workload automation capabilities.

Here’s the presentation highlighting the Intelligent Automation solution at OracleWorld:

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Networking and Cloud – Driving Change

I was given the opportunity at Interop NY last week to give a 10-15min presentation at the Cisco booth. If you were watching the twitter stream, you probably noticed the pictures of some of the full audiences we had throughout both days in the booth.

I spoke about cloud and networking, something that both Brian Gracely and James Urquhart blogged about recently. Read on for my slides and some narrative comments. I apologize ahead of time for not embedding the slides, but unfortunately that little feature doesn’t seem to be working currently. We’ve got a white paper on the same topic as well as a webcast series that Brian Gracely has been blogging about.

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