Along with several key industry players we announced the formation of and participation in ONF, the Open Networking Foundation with the purpose of promoting a new approach to networking, called software defined networking, open standards based of course, and implicitly open source since all compute loads (or clouds) need and want both, as we are continuously reminded.
Following my last blog post , I have gotten a number of questions on how we specifically define “fabric” so I thought I’d dig into that a bit more with this post. So, the primarily point is that our definition of fabric it built around a specific set of features and capabilities. It is not tied to specific products or topology. Again, we think it’s important that our customers have choice and not have an arbitrary architecture foisted upon them.
At its most basic level, a fabric is a highly available, high performance shared infrastructure built with integrated, intelligent compute, storage and network nodes that can be rapidly and simply organized around the requirements of a given workload.
We see this fabric as having six specific characteristics:
- Open – based on open standards
- Integrated – breaks down traditional silos with a more holistic approach
- Flexible – allows customers architectural flexibility and choice
- Scalability – easily grows and adapts as the data center evolves
- Resilient – delivers bullet-proof uptime
- Secure – provides security and policy compliance
Every time I think about the relationship between Open Standards and Open Source I am reminded of a fascinating talk by Paul Saltman, a biochemist from Caltech, invited to speak to a Chinese forum years ago, about national food policy for China, later published in Caltech’s Engineering & Science, titled The Yang of Nutrition…The Yin of Food.
I am not a nutritionist, or biochemist, or expert on food – though in more than one occasion I’ve been known to venture in the art – but I do know a little about open standards and open source – let’s just say enough to be sentient of the wholeness and synergy in which these opposites attract and coexist, perhaps not unlike The Cathedral and the Bazaar.
By the very nature of our industry, open standards are not just important, they are indispensable, the foundation upon which every internetworking protocol is based, the pre-requisite of interoperability, so naturally we take open standards seriously, the yang side, as it were. But what is often overlooked, just as the case with the yin of food in Saltman’s parallel, is the yin of open source, some of which is in fact the implementation, the other side, or yin as it were, of these open standards and more, with things like jabber or tigerstripe just to name a few. We’d like to tell you more about what we’re doing with these and other open projects, soon to be covered in this blog.
All too often, vendors talk about products or features when customers really want solutions and “how do I get there?” models for evolving their business. Cloud Computing is a topic that definitely falls into the latter category because it isn’t a single piece of hardware or software, but rather it’s a new way to align business needs with technology capabilities.
For many companies, Cloud Computing represents both an opportunity and a challenge. From an opportunity perspective, it potentially represents a chance to leapfrog your competition by leveraging technology as a core driver of new business models. This would create a compelling business differentiation and it’s most likely what every CIO will be talking about in 2011. From a challenge perspective, it introduces some new types of change that your company will need to address, such as:
- How to think about an IT strategy for Cloud Computing?
- How to measure IT success in a Cloud Computing world?
- How will IT groups interact as technology changes with Cloud Computing?
- What will my company looking like from a technology perspective during the Cloud Computing journey?
[WARNING] It’s very possible that this post could get slightly lengthy, so if you’d like the cliff-notes version, check out Cisco’s Enterprise Private Cloud homepage and click on the short video at the top. 3 minutes could save you months or years on your Cloud Computing strategy.
Evolving the Data Center to Private Cloud