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SDN Adoption Challenges: My Wrap Up For 2013

December 23, 2013 at 11:34 am PST

2013 was the year I started working on SDN -- specifically in the area of devising professional services for Cisco ONE and Application Centric Infrastructure, ACI.  A few months ago, I used a compendium to summarize my Cisco Domain TenSM blogs.  This was well received, so  I thought it would be a good idea to wrap up the year with a summary of my 2013 journey into the SDN world, and in particular the adoption challenges I learned about along the way, some of which are illustrated in the diagram below.

SDN Adoption Challenges

SDN Adoption Challenges

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Hitchhiker’s Guide to onePK

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.

Enter the Hitchhiker’s Guide to onePK.

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 »

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Cisco’s onePK Part 2: Reaching out to a Network Element


In the previous installment of the onePK series, you received a crash course on Cisco’s onePK. In this article, you’ll take the next step with a fun little exposé on onePK’s C API. You will learn how to write a simple program to reach out and connect to a network element. This is staple onePK functionality and is the foundation upon which most onePK applications are built.

Preambling Details

The following short program “ophw” (onePK Hello World), is a fully functional onePK application that will connect to a network element, query its system description, and then disconnect. It doesn’t do anything beyond that, but it does highlight some lynchpin onePK code: network element connection and session handle instantiation. This is the foundational stuff every onePK application needs before useful work can get done. Read More »

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Leading the Network Evolution to SDN – Helping You with Your SDN Adoption Strategy

June 23, 2013 at 12:58 pm PST


If you are following the industry debates around Software Defined Networking (SDN), and are wondering “What really is SDN?”, “How the concepts of network virtualization and network programmability relate to SDN?” and perhaps more pertinently, “What can it do for my business” and “What network problems, indeed what IT problems, could it solve for my organization?” Well, don’t worry, you are in good company. Many customers looking at SDN are asking exactly these questions.  When I blogged the other week on “The Missing ‘S’ in the SDN Debate”, I mentioned I would write again in more depth on the offerings from Cisco Services that would help you identify and benefit from SDN, the next evolution in the network.  Today, then, I will share more information on the “Cisco Strategy and Analysis Services for Open Network Environment (ONE)”, which helps you gain an appreciation of what SDN is, what Cisco ONE is, and how it will help you.  This service has been design specifically to answer the questions above for you, enabling you to optimize your IT strategy to greatest effect.

First, if you are attending CiscoLive in Orlando this coming week (week of 24 June 2013), please do look out for our “Design Centers” in the Data Center Cloud or Enterprise Networks areas of the Cisco booth.  Here you can discuss your SDN and Cisco ONE questions with Cisco Services’ solutions architects, who have already been running strategy workshops with some of the early adopters of SDN and beta customers of Cisco ONE.


Cisco Strategy and Analysis Services for ONE

Cisco Strategy and Analysis Services for ONE

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Cisco’s onePK Part 1: Introduction


Cisco’s One Platform Kit (onePK) is a fantastic toolkit for building custom applications that interact with your Cisco routers and switches. Using onePK, you can build automation directly into the network and extend all sorts of functionality using Cisco devices. The first in a three-part blog series, this article will introduce onePK to the reader, explain what it is, how it can be useful, and will show how to configure onePK on a router. The second and third installments will walk the reader through a simple security-relevant application using the C API. Important to note is that we’ll be covering the 0.6.0 version of onePK features and service sets. At the time of this writing, the toolkit is still in Controlled Availability and as such, is still in active development, and the API could change before it is released into General Availability. However, even in the face of API evolutionism, this article will provide you with a solid jumping-off point for your plunge into the wondrous world of onePK.

OK, Just What is onePK?

OnePK is a Cisco IOS Software feature and a set of programming libraries enabling an application programmer to build powerful applications that tightly integrate and interact with Cisco devices. onePK is available to you via a well-documented and unified API, currently offered in C and Java with Python in active development. It is currently in pre-release and is available only on request. Details on how to obtain onePK are provided below. Read More »

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