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:
Episodes will publish weekly (or as close to it as we can manage)
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 »
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.
Amsterdam may be the one place on earth where it rains more than it does in London. So, it was no surprise that I encountered stormy weather on my flight to Broadband World Forum (BBWF) 2012. As things turned out, the conference theme and the weather were clearly aligned, since the BBWF is fiercely embracing evolution to cloud. Here are some core themes that emerged as I shared some of Cisco IBSG’s findings at the conference:
Cloud 2.0: Most service providers (SPs) have already launched an initial cloud offering and are now beginning to measure scaling and growth. The initial offering is often a stand-alone cloud solution, typically focused on infrastructure as a service (IaaS). Once their original implementation goes live, SPs often need to focus on the following improvements: Read More »
The lack of programmability in existing networking hardware is certainly a problem, but VMware’s acquisition of Nicira does not mean that Cisco and its ilk will be marginalized… It does mean the role and management of the physical network is changing, and I think Cisco is further ahead than most of its competitors in creating a vision for the next phase of networking.
My take here was that the VMware-Nicira acquisition did not portend a strategic break with Cisco, and while there are some obvious overlaps in our product lines, there are still a number of areas of collaboration, cooperation and interoperability. The virtual network infrastructure is just one piece of a larger software stack and the differentiation will likely be decided in the orchestration, management and applications built on top of the newly programmable infrastructures sometime down the road. Read More »