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A Software Aware Society Driven by Sensors, Analytics and APIs

1“Software is Eating the World” is a quote attributed to Marc Andreessen and somewhat further explored by his business partner Ben Horowitz.  Mark Andreessen gives compelling reasons to validate this quote.  To some extend I have to agree with some of his reasons (but I am also a little bit biased as a software engineer). On the other hand, when I read this (and this is partly based on working in different domains on software), I wonder if software is that disruptive? If you look “under the hood” of software applications, you find that a lot of software is based on fundamental software principles that are already 20-30 years old, yet Read More »

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A Software Aware Society Driven by Sensors, Analytics and APIs

“Software is Eating the World” is a quote attributed to Marc Andreessen and somewhat further explored by his business partner Ben Horowitz.  Mark Andreessen gives compelling reasons to validate this quote.  To some extend I have to agree with some of his reasons (but I am also a little bit biased as a software engineer). On the other hand, when I read this (and this is partly based on working in different domains on software), I wonder if software is that disruptive. If you look “under the hood” of software applications, you find that a lot of software is based on fundamental software principles that are already 20-30 years old, yet they are still frequently used (and for good reasons).  That does not mean there are no new advances in software, however old and proven technologies still play an important role (like we say in mathematics, it does not become old, it becomes classic).

1So maybe the reason that “Software is Eating the World” is due to the advances in hardware? Would you run modern enterprise applications in the Cloud 20 years ago? One of the challenges could certainly be the bandwidth. Was the IPhone a victory for software or hardware? A lot of the IPhone GUI was not that revolutionary IMO but the combination of hardware and software made for a potent technology disruption.

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Virtualization: Can We Deconstruct the Problem and Opportunity?

This was the title of a November 19 2013 panel that I had moderated in Washington D.C. at the MPLS-SDN Isocore Conference.

The abstract for this conference was designed to be a bit provocative, specifically:

“ Virtualization as a concept is not new. However, in the context of Software Defined Networking,the virtualization discussion has been focusing on overlay functions e.g networking. What about virtualization overlays and interworking with existing architectures?   What are the implications to performance and management?   Are we speaking the same language?

The panelists will have an opportunity to articulate the virtualization problem space for the industry and the opportunity for the industry to address.”

My panelists included the following individuals: Read More »

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The Quickest Way To Get Started with ACI

November 19, 2013 at 10:26 am PST

By now, given all the launch and blogging activity activity over the past week or so, I am sure your understanding of and interest in Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) will have grown.   Many of you will be asking “how do I get started as quickly as possible?”, and “how can I free up some time and resources to investigate?”  You understand the “what” - now, as I blogged recently on SDN, it’s time to understand more about the “why” and take action on the “how”.   How then do you get off that start line as quickly as possible?

Get Set To Go With ACI

Get Set To Go With ACI

As with many things in life, it helps if you get help from someone who has “been there” and “done that”.  And that’s where Cisco Services comes in, as Scott Clark, the VP for our Data Center Services team, introduced  last week.  So let’s talk about why Cisco Services should be your partner in this application centric world, and what services can help you.

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Follow-up Q&A on ACI Methodology and the Pursuit of an Application-Aware Architecture

November 15, 2013 at 7:00 am PST

We’ve been getting a lot of great questions about ACI since our launch as people try and better understand the value of an application-oriented approach. I got the following questions on my blog post about the Application Virtual Switch that probed on some of the thinking behind an application-aware architecture, and why now was the right time to release it (after all, John Chambers called it the most disruptive Cisco innovation in a decade!). Anyway, on to the Q&A:

I’d like to know more about the path that Cisco pursued to evolve towards an “application aware” architecture. This back-story (how Cisco arrived at this juncture) would be very helpful to industry analysts, customers and institutional investors. Here’s some of the key questions on my mind.

- What were the primary roadblocks that inhibited the adoption of this innovative approach in the past?

I would say that the Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) was a combination of a Eureka! moment, that people just never thought of it before, and that it was also an insightful evolution from early SDN technology. So, it might be fair to say that SDN had to come along, and then we realized, here might be a better way to program the network (with an application-oriented model, rather than a network-centric model).

That might be another way of saying that the lack of SDN as a precursor to ACI was a roadblock. But I think of it as networks were just built on hardware that were optimized to pass packets and other very specific tasks. And the limitations of historical networking protocols and traditional network designs, coupled with very limited ways in which you could manage a network and tell it what to do, all served as roadblocks to implementing anything like ACI. So the roadblocks that had to be cleared included the ability to program switches through software interfaces, and to centrally manage the software applications or controllers to orchestrate the broader network, not an individual device. Those are some of the things SDN brought along.

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