Cisco Blogs


Cisco Blog > The Platform

Myth-busting: Is Cisco’s Approach to SDN Open?

In our continuing myth-busting series, Cisco SDN expert Frank D’Agostino and I are debunking trendy technology myths around SDN.

The more I speak to customers these days, the more I hear them talk about open. Customers want an infrastructure that is programmable and based on open standards. They want rapid feature integration and network automation. And they’re looking to take advantage of third-party tools and existing assets, and integrate them efficiently and cost-effectively into a modern network.

To address these needs, Cisco has modernized our operating system NX-OS through programmability, provided open northbound and southbound APIs for ACI, and established an open Partner Ecosystem—which even includes some of our competitors—for the integration of third-party tools.

But that’s not all. Cisco has a history of contributing technology innovations to open and standards initiatives, and things are no different with SDN. In the past year, for example, we’ve opened up and published our ACI interfaces and have contributed ACI’s Group Based Policy model to OpenDayLight and OpenStack.  We’ve also published the OpFlex standard to the IETF and worked with the open source community to provide a reference implementation of the OpFlex agent, which is leveraged by the OpenStack and Linux communities. In addition, we’ve created an open model to enhance SDN network agility and make it easier for customers to manage virtual machines using BGP-EVPN (which stand for Border Gateway Protocol and Ethernet Virtual Private Network respectively) with VXLAN. Our goal is to provide openness and scale in a multi-vendor environment.

Bottom line: Cisco embraces an open approach through open APIs, open standards, open source contributions. Customers benefit because they can integrate with their existing tools and appliances, and that really represents true investment protection.

We look forward to reading your comments and feedback.

Tags: ,

How and Why We Created “Software Defined Networking for Dummies”

SDN for DummiesLast week we launched our new book, Software Defined Networking for Dummies, which I wrote the vast majority of and was responsible for producing. And the response to date has been far more enthusiastic than even I anticipated. The feedback from the Cisco field has been great, and there is strong demand for reprints across all regions and localization in a number of languages. [Printed copies can now be ordered from the Cisco Collateral Store at nominal cost here.]

Naturally, we’ve also gotten a number of questions, such as “Does this mean we think SDN is for Dummies?”, “Do we think our customers are Dummies?”, “Why did Cisco decide to leverage the Dummies brand for this topic?”, etc. In order to clear some of this up, the social media team asked me to write a bit of the backstory of the creation of the book, why we decided to do it, and why it’s proving to be such a popular asset.

It all started when I was looking to fill a large gap in Cisco product marketing, particularly around SDN and our Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI). SDN has certainly proven to be a revolutionary break from traditional networking architectures and is really changing the way organizations think about their IT processes and how they design data centers. With all this change, it’s been hard for a lot of people to get their heads around what this new technology trend is really all about. When Cisco introduced ACI as a very sophisticated and comprehensive SDN solution, there’s no doubt it took people a lot of time to understand ACI, how it was similar to SDN, and where it was introducing new innovative concepts.  Read More »

Tags: , , ,

Myth-busting: ACI or NSX, which is the Real SDN Leader?

I speak with customers every day and often hear they are confused by conflicting vendor claims, marketing hype and embellishments. This is especially true when discussing SDN, where both the technology and the market have evolved significantly over the past few years.

I’ve invited Frank D’Agostino, one of Cisco’s top technical experts on SDN, to join me in separating fact from fiction. Frank and I are on a mission to debunk trendy technology myths, and this is the first in a three-part video series that we’ll bring to you over the next week.

In this first episode, Frank and I discuss the differences between Cisco’s ACI and VMware’s NSX. Frank is in a unique position to discuss both technologies, since he’s the only expert that has been deeply involved in the development of both NSX and ACI.

We think that ACI and Nexus is the most complete solution on the market. It does everything customers want from SDN, while offering more capabilities than NSX, and being two to three times less costly in typical customer configurations.

Cisco also collaborates very closely with our customers on technology, and we work with a wide variety of industry leaders, including competitors, to offer the best level of technology integration and interoperability. The reality is that the choice between ACI or NSX is not “either or:” if customers want both, NSX can run on ACI just like any other application, and in fact NSX will run better over an ACI infrastructure than over any other infrastructure on the market.

Take a look at our first video below, and then compare for yourself which solution makes the most sense from the perspective of cost, performance, scalability, and features.

We look forward to reading your comments and feedback.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Cisco APIC Makes Best of Interop 2015 Finalist

BOI_2015_finalist1

With Interop less than three weeks away, we are excited to learn that Cisco APIC, the SDN controller for our Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) fabric, has been selected as Best of Interop 2015 Finalists  in Software Defined Networking (SDN) category. As you may recall, when we announced ACI back in Nov 2013, we mentioned that APIC would be the software controller for the application-centric policy model, and would be available in Q3, CY 2014. In a short span of less than a year, APIC has gained broad industry adoption with more than 300 Customers either deploying or in production already.

Interop Vegas, is a great venue to unveil more aspects of the ACI fabric, the policy model, and key APIC features. If you aren’t going to be in Las Vegas the last week of April, now may be the time to start making plans as we gear up for some exciting ACI news and events, and  hopefully bringing home this Best of Interop award.

But wait, there’s more…

If you are not familiar with ACI or APIC yet, let me take the opportunity to tell you about APIC and why I think it is a finalist for the Best of Interop.

The Cisco APIC is the unified point of automation and management for the ACI fabric and health monitoring. The Cisco APIC is built with open APIs and an open application-centric policy model designed to simplify the provisioning, monitoring, and management of applications across the data center. Cisco’s Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) is a fabric architecture with centralized automation and policy-driven application profiles designed to make the infrastructure highly responsive to the needs of applications, while significantly simplifying the data center and cloud operational model.

APICGraphic

The Cisco APIC is built on the SDN principles of an extensible/programmable centralized controller, standardized north-bound API’s, a protocol for communicating with and orchestrating data center devices and network nodes, and  features and agents within the network infrastructure to support the controller’s policy model and respond appropriately.

The Cisco APIC uses an application-centric policy model rather than network-centric SDN policies that do not adequately reflect business requirements. Cisco ACI is an open ecosystem of management, services, and security partners that incorporate best-of-breed solutions across physical and virtual infrastructures. Customers have a choice of flexible workflow automation and orchestration solutions on top of APIC and the ACI fabric, including OpenStack, VMware cloud automation solutions, Microsoft System Center, Cisco UCS Director, and more, rather than being locked into a specific automation model.

The APIC software is delivered on turn-key UCS C-Series server appliances, so the user out-of-box experience is simple.

Apparently these stellar traits weren’t lost on the Best of Interop judges as it made it to Finalist status.  We sincerely hope this bad boy brings home the prize too – stay tuned for more excitement to come.

Related Links

www.cisco.com/go/apic

www.cisco.com/go/aci

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Customer Centered, Cloud Service Management: Come See it in Action at TM Forum Live in Nice

No one will question that a significant contributor to a company’s long term success is customer loyalty. Loyalty is gained by providing your customers with an experience that make them keep coming back to you for more, and even bringing along others with them – ultimately helping you drive more revenue and profitability.

Technologies like NFV (network functions virtualization) and SDN (software defined networks) make the infrastructure on which services are Read More »

Tags: , , , ,