There’s an incredible amount of hype and excitement these days around Software Defined Networking (SDN), which promises to herald in a new age of flexibility, business agility and automation to our existing data center and campus networks. Since there are very few, if any, SDN networks in production environments today, though, we know there are a lot of implementation details to work out before the industry achieves the lofty benefits of network programmability. Cisco opened its kimono this week on its strategy around programmable networks (an even broader concept than what we believe the traditional definition of SDN is), called Cisco Open Network Environment. (Get Omar’s take on Cisco ONE).
If you are like a lot of people, you might think that SDN is synonymous with OpenFlow, the leading standards-based approach for SDN today. However, we are already seeing folks across the industry extending the SDN vision beyond what OpenFlow is currently envisioned to do, so we think the definition of SDN will probably evolve over the next year or so to include additional programming models and protocols. Cisco ONE, for example, includes three approaches to network programmability: 1) our own onePK set of API’s to Cisco network operation systems and devices, 2) a portfolio of agents and controllers that will support OpenFlow, among other things, and 3) our Nexus 1000V-based portfolio for building virtual network overlays.
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Tags: ASA 1000V, Imperva, Nexus 1000v, onePK, Open Network Environment, OpenFlow, OpenStack, REST, SDN, software defined networks, virtual overlays, VXLAN
“Boiled frog syndrome” refers to a fable that when you put a frog in hot water, it jumps out. However if you slowly heat up the water the frog is in, the frog will cook.
The number of features and associated CLI for networking equipment has increased gradually over the last 15+ years. Each feature is valuable in its own right, but the weight of all CLIs, all OSs, and all variations of deployment cannot be internalized by any human. The result: the concept of the über-CCIE is cooked.
The question is what displaces the CLI over time? It is argued by “good enough” network vendors that this complexity isn’t necessary. But considering most networking costs are operational costs, this argument can generally be discarded.
More articulate arguments are made by people who want to simplify overall network operations activities versus concentrating upon enhancements to CLI. Businesses don’t want to manage individual boxes; they would love to shed this complexity. Instead they would rather express their operational intents to their network, and let the network itself sort any box specific details.
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Tags: Autonomic, CLI, fex, OpenFlow, SDN
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