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Outtakes from #VM13 (Varrow Madness): Cloud Views, Chicken and Waffles, and More

Just back from Varrow Madness 2013 (#VM13) in Durham, NC, a local event for me, and a great opportunity to connect with customers, partners, and cloud knowledge. Here are some highlights.

 Rusty Buzhardt (Cisco), Jason Nash (Varrow), Elijah Stukenborg (Chiquita)

Rusty Buzhardt (Cisco), Jason Nash (Varrow), Elijah Stukenborg (Chiquita)

Really enjoyed an inspirational keynote by VCE President Frank Hauck and the opportunity to learn about some new technologies that are emerging in the Data Center space. Look for upcoming #EngineersUnplugged episodes for some discussions around NetScaler, Flash Virtualization, and more.

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Defense in Depth with Software Defined Networking

Last week at the RSA Conference in San Francisco, I had the pleasure of speaking to thousands of security professionals about the opportunities and risks associated with using Software Defined Networking (SDN) for security, which will be the underlying fabric of our next generation data centers and networks. SDN-enabled security will provide a better way to secure our most valuable applications, users and data, now and in the future.

Each vendor has a different definition of how the network is changing, and there are many different terms being used, such as software defined data center and software defined storage. Cisco calls this Application Centric Networking, for example, because we are introducing programmable APIs with a focus on distributed control plane intelligence so that applications can get value directly from the network.

It’s obvious why the networking industry is embracing SDN: lower operational costs and the ability to deploy applications and network services in a quicker, more scalable manner. Cloud bursting, which is about flexible compute in the cloud, is another SDN benefit that gives us the ability for applications to interact directly with the network in ways that do not happen today.  For example, applications will be able to query the network for location of users to manage Quality of Service and deliver highly targeted content.

So why should the security industry care about SDN? As the threat landscape evolves, the opportunity is to make Security a key application for SDN. We can use SDN to build a Network-based Threat Defense System. I see three key elements to this system:

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#EngineersUnplugged: S2|Ep2| #SDN Doughnut Style

In this week’s episode of Engineers Unplugged, Brian Gracely (@bgracely) of Virtustream takes on the challenge of explaining the industry’s top buzzword, Software Defined Networking, using doughnuts. Seeing is believing:

Welcome to Engineers Unplugged, where technologists talk to each other the way they know best, with a whiteboard. The rules are simple:

  1. Episodes will publish weekly (or as close to it as we can manage)
  2. Subscribe to the podcast here: engineersunplugged.com
  3. Follow the #engineersunplugged conversation on Twitter
  4. Submit ideas for episodes or volunteer to appear by Tweeting to @CommsNinja
  5. Practice drawing unicorns

Technology made delicious and simple. Thoughts, comments, or feedback? Join the conversation @CiscoDC.

Join us next week for Engineers Unplugged Episode 3: OpenStack, featuring Joe Onisick and Colin McNamara.

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Is Software Defined Networking (SDN) a journey to somewhere?

Not One-size-fits-all

In the world of fashion, one-size-fits all has very limited appeal. People come in all shapes and sizes, with tastes, preferences, and needs that are equally diverse. So too are the diverse approaches and use cases that are driving interest in Software Defined Networking (SDN), automation, simplification, orchestration, and other solutions. Service providers are exploring technologies for more efficient, flexible, and cost-efficient network operations that will in turn make their businesses more agile and competitive.

Last year at Cisco Live in San Diego, Cisco introduced a broad vision and strategy  ̶  The Cisco Open Network Environment  ̶  an evolutionary approach that not only includes SDN but also encompasses an array of solutions, products, and technologies that are applicable to most, if not all, use cases that are much broader than what SDN alone could address. Since then, as part of our “Build, Buy, and Partner” strategy, we have announced newly developed technologies and products accompanied by strategic company acquisitions that add tools to enhance visibility, orchestration, programmability, and other capabilities to Cisco offerings.

At the end of January at Cisco Live in London 2013, we discussed a variety of solutions that we are working on with service providers to start their journey toward making their networks more programmable. From custom routing and traffic processing, to security applications and automation of fulfillment and assurance, here are just a few of the use cases explored and implemented by early adopters of our technologies that were discussed: Read More »

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Five Cool Router Tricks with onePK

Network Management is dull.  No excuses.  Monitoring and interacting with the devices that move data from one location to another is a thankless undertaking that most of us building networks leave to an afterthought.  Part of that is the complexity associated with managing networks.  There are at least a dozen common methods for interacting with devices in the network including SNMP, CLI, AAA, Syslog, Netflow, and fancy XML/HTTP interfaces.  So much variety breeds complexity so we tend to set our goals pretty low for interactivity with the network.

What if we had one common mechanism for interacting with the network?  Different devices running different software would all speak a common language to the applications managing and monitoring them.  Now what if that language was something the programmers writing those applications understood implicitly like an API library they could compile directly into their program?  That would make interacting with the network as simple as making a procedure call within the application.  That’s exactly what onePK – or the “one Platform Kit” – accomplishes.

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