Welcome to our new blog, Architect & DE Discussions, where you can hear from (and yes, discuss and debate) the architects and distinguished engineers behind some of Cisco’s top technologies. As we move forward into Cisco Live San Diego next week and open up a new chapter of software innovation, one of the key areas we’d like you to hear about and provide feedback on is what we’re thinking about inside of Cisco.
We’re getting back to basics: the technology and what’s really behind it, but also future technologies and how we think they might impact the industry, or multiple industries. From what’s next inside IOS to how SDN goes to market first (wait, is SDN an architecture, or a solution, or.. ?) and yes, even OpenFlow, this is the place to hear it first.
This isn’t a blog where you’ll find marketing-speak or any lingo. This is a blog where you can actually hear directly from top engineers and architects driving not only the current but future technologies inside of Cisco. We’d love your feedback and strongly encourage participation and discussion. Do we always know what’s right? Absolutely not, but sometimes we understand the hard questions fairly early on. By sharing these questions and possible outcomes we would love to have a dialog with you on where you think the industry is moving as well and also what you’d like to see from Cisco. Read More »
Tags: architects, IOS, OpenFlow, SDN, technology
So, some closing thoughts on ONS. I know its a bit late, but hey, when you’re out of the office for a few days, things pile up a bit--overall, I think the ONF folks did a fine job with the event.
As I look back at ONS, I am reminded of one of my favorite IT quotes, courtesy of Bill Gates:
We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten
Long-term, I think SDN or the concepts it represents will certainly have a hand in shaping how we do networking a decade for now--how we get there and what that destination really looks like is a bit less certain.
First, I think we are early enough in the game that the technology is far from unsettled:
- Most folks are shipping 1.0 code, either literally or figuratively, and I am betting there are unseen technologies in the wings that will help shape things and I am sure folks will find interesting ways to also repurpose existing technology
- We can pretty much expect some wave of M&A to help shape the vendor and technology landscape
- As I have noted before, there is a lot of dogma about what SDN is right now that is not helpful, but I also believe it will eventually fall by the wayside
Eventually the market will sort this stuff out, and a handful of organizations are in a position to drive their own solutions, but for regular folks, I think there is enough near-term uncertainty here that it will give people pause--both in terms of customer adoption as well as ecosystem investment.
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Tags: Open Networking Summit, OpenFlow, SDN, software defined networking
So, the theme for the day was “Less Unicorns, More Ponies”
I have to admit, I could not attend some of the afternoon sessions--there is a define downside to going to a conference with your boss.
Anyway, we heard from a number of folks (a lot of SPs and academics) that are doing the hard work of trying to do useful real-world things with OpenFlow and SDN. There were a fair number of successes but also a good number of struggles. Kudos to the ONS folks for trying to present a balanced view as opposed to hosting a two-day OpenFlow pep rally. So, sadly, the shine is starting to come off the SDN unicorn, but in the long run, this what needs to happen for the long term health of SDN.
Hands down, my favorite session was Igor Gashinsky from Yahoo! for a number of reasons: 1) it was darn entertaining, 2) I think hyperscale data centers present some the most interesting and demanding environments right now, 3) the use case was interesting, and 4) frankly, it allows me to make a point.
It seems that much of the conversation around SDN centers on the southbound conversation--the ability to program the hardware. While that is certainly useful and interesting, at least as interesting and important is the northbound conversation--the ability to extract interesting information from the infrastructure and make it available to the controllers, applications, tools, etc. In Igor’s case, he talked about being able to extract info directly out of the switching hardware to facilitate troubleshooting--not an inconsequential task when you have 20K servers and 400K VMs. Its a good use case but I also think its just scratching at the surface.
I believe its an interesting topic and one of the things that David Ward will dig into a bit further during his session this afternoon.
Tags: hyperscale, OpenFlow, SDN, software defined networking
Just in time for the Open Networking Summit, we are ready to tease a bit more of what we are doing on the Software Defined Networking front. David Ward has posted some really intriguing musings on SDN. Its a really good read and it should give you some hints on our thinking not the topic. If you don’t know David, he is über smart and quite entertaining--he is also the current chair of the Technical Advisory group at ONF, so he knows of what he speaks.
For those of you at ONS this week, David will be speaking on a panel on Wednesday @ 2pm.
Tags: Open Networking Summit, OpenFlow, SDN, software defined networking
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.
Tags: data center, OpenFlow