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Model-driven Programmability: The Rise of Network Automation

Software automation and data analytics are changing the face of computer networks. They are radically transforming how networks are built and operated. We are rapidly moving away from a world where a network operator manages tenths of network devices.  Instead, one individual can deploy and manage hundreds, thousands and tenths of thousands of complex network devices with the help of software and data analytics (what is your current ratio?). This transformation is quickly spreading from its birthplace, the data center, to all places in the network. To help accelerate these changes, we introduced significant software innovations for cloud Scale networking in Cisco IOS XR last year. A main component of those innovations is model-driven programmability.

The new programmability capabilities in Cisco IOS XR provide a rich and flexible infrastructure for network automation. What makes them rich and flexible? Read More »

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Halloween can be scary. Automating your network doesn’t need to be.

Some random, yet strangely connected, thoughts the night before Halloween…

  1. Zombies can be scary:

zombie

  1. Death Metal* can be scary:

Click here to listen.

  1. Learning new skills and using new tools to automate your network can appear to be scary if you don’t have a coding background. But that doesn’t need to be the case…

In a previous blog post, I discussed Cisco’s SDN Strategy for the Data Center. I mentioned that it is built on 3 key pillars: Application Centric Infrastructure, Programmable Fabric, and Programmable Network. Regarding the 3rd pillar, I wrote that network programmability has largely been the domain of big Web SP’s, and/or those whose propellers seen to spin faster than others. However, the reality is that tools are available that are useful for networks of pretty much any size, and the tools are within reach of pretty much everybody.

Rather than rattle off a list cool features that are part of Programmable Network (some of which are summarized here), I thought it more useful to consider common things network people actually do on a daily basis, then show how we can apply programmability tools to do those things with, for lack of a better phrase, “the 3 S’s”:

  • Speed – enabling you to do things much faster;
  • Scale – enabling you to do things to a much larger group of devices; and
  • Stability – enabling you to make far fewer errors (thereby also increasing Security…oops, now that’s 4 S’s…)

In upcoming posts, we will consider use cases such as switch provisioning. For example, you need to put a bunch of VLANs on a bunch of switches. Unless you have a battalion of minions to carry out your wishes, this can be a tedious, time consuming task. There is a better way, and we’ll show you how.

What’s that? You say you’re a network geek, but you moonlight as a server admin? You’ve been using Linux tools to monitor and troubleshoot servers and want to use the same tools for the network? Okay, we can cover that too because tools like ifconfig and tcpdump are all part of the party.

If you can’t wait for the future posts and/or you want to dive deep, this recorded webinar should tide you over.

Anyhow, I need to go carve a pumpkin now…Happy Halloween!

*For music aficionados…Yeah, I know – the link was Heavy Metal not Death Metal, but I used one of my own songs…and this is about as close to Death Metal as I get. That whole guttural screaming thing never worked for me…

Photo compliments of commons.wikimedia.org

 

 

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The State of Cisco and Energy2020

Chris KelleyBy Christopher Kelley, Lead Architect, Solution Services, Data & Analytics Group

Next week is the penultimate tech-fest of the year, in cable and broadband circles — the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers’ annual Cable-Tec Expo, happening in New Orleans. One topic we expect to be big involves the Energy2020 initiative, which aims to substantially reduce power consumption in all aspects of traditional and new cable infrastructure — essentially, from the side of the house, to the cloud / data centers.

Couple at a cafe- mobility

We’ll be there next week, talking sustainability and lots of other things, but we wanted to take a moment today to tell you about the work we’ve been doing on our cBR-8 converged broadband router. In fact, we just hosted a webinar on the topic this morning, with the SCTE! This blog can serve as a forum for the highlights, as that demo won’t be live yet. Read More »

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Simplifying Cable Plant Operations with SDN and DOCSIS 3.1

Igor-DayenGuest Blog by Igor Dayen, SP Product and Solutions Marketing

Carriers are continually challenged to deliver on the customer experience. One of the benefits of Cisco’s cBR-8 Evolved CCAP is the built-in telemetry, programmability, and DOCSIS 3.1 support of the platform. This makes it ideal for gigabit-speed access applications that demand both an automated and optimized cable access network.

With Software Defined Networking the cable operator can read information from the cable plant, make necessary decisions and then push an update back into the network. They can then decide on how conservative or how aggressive they want to be on adjusting the plant performance. Other tools such as a health check monitor that will validate performance, record a variety of statistics, and alert users when it sees something that is not a norm.
In addition, there are applications that enable management functions. Functions that today require human intervention can take place automatically – simplifying network operations and maximizing the customer experience.

Today, cable operators have an opportunity to Read More »

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Cisco cBR-8: Re-imagining CCAP with SDN

Guest Blog by Igor Dayen, SP Product and Solutions Marketing

Igor-Dayen

In an age of agile service creation with a virtualized IT infrastructure, the delivery of services by cable operators is undergoing a transformation. Two key technologies that are fueling this change are Software Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Function Virtualization (NFV). In this blog, we will examine how SDN is transforming service delivery for cable operators.

SDN offers much promise to cable operators. It changes how networks are designed, operationalized, and monetized, making them far more agile and responsive to customers. In traditional switch and router system architectures, the control plane is implemented in software running on a general-purpose CPU and the data plane is implemented with specialized hardware such as an ASIC. What SDN does is remove the Read More »

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