Written by Igor Dayen, SP Product and Solutions Marketing
If you had a chance to join us at Cisco Live Milan last month, thank you very much for making this another exciting event for all of us. If you missed out being there in person, let me give you a brief summary of the highlights. Milan is the main industrial, commercial, and financial center of Italy and a leading global city where the EXPO 2015 will take place. What could be better than such a city to host the Cisco Live 2015 event! It proved to be fertile grounds for driving innovations with our service provider customers and partners. Our exhibition was structured to tell the story of the Open Network Strategy by presenting over 15 technology and business demos. We also brought the newest routers and switches with us to showcase the latest innovations that service providers can start deploying today. Last but not least we have teamed up with the DevNet area where attendees could get their hands on developing applications and learning on virtualization, orchestration, and automation. Our service provider booth of the Cisco Campus in the World of Solutions was very busy: “standing room only” and so many insightful conversations were conversations around the NFV (Network Functions Virtualization) and the SDN (Software Defined Networks), as pillars for delivering cloud services and an automated networking handling respectively, have matured significantly and are ready for prime time. Read More »
Tags: #DevNet, application virtualization, autonomic networking, business transformation, capex, cisco esp, cisco live, Cisco Live Milan, Cisco Open Network Environment, Cisco SDN, Cloud VPN, epn, esp, evolved programmable network, evolved services platform, MOI, monetization, netconf, network function virtualization, Network Service Orchestration, network virtualization, NFV, NSO, nV technology, open network strategy, Operational Simplicity, opex, SDN, segment routing, service providers, software defined networking, SP, virtualized Management services, vMS
When it comes to software-defined networking (SDN), much of the buzz is on reducing networking complexity and costs. Those are good but can SDN help you make money along with saving money?
Simply, yes! Here are three ways we can look at achieving that:
- Repurpose existing services onto a SDN making them more flexible at a lower cost – you can achieve higher margins and/or expand your market reach. Read More »
Tags: Cisco, flexible architecture, quality of service, Service Provider, software defined networking, white paper
As a writer for the IT media, conference speaker, and co-host of the Packet Pushers podcast, I cover emerging networking technologies often. The new tech that comes across my screen ranges in value from “I can’t believe that got funded,” to “Why has no one thought of this before?” and everything in between. As a big idea, software defined networking (SDN) seems to generate about that same range of responses from network engineers. Some networkers think that SDN is an extraordinary technology that’s going to change the world of IT. Others see SDN as yet another in a long string of quirky networking ideas that never gained acceptance. In fact, as I’ve read responses to my SDN-related content over the last few years, I believe that more folks are in that latter camp. SDN is a fad. SDN is a buzzword. SDN will go nowhere useful. SDN will eventually fail to have a universal impact.
I understand the cynicism. After all, for a long time, networking had lapsed in an innovation coma, with nothing especially exciting coming along to really shake things up. Yes, Ethernet’s gotten faster. And that BYOD thing got everyone excited a couple of years ago. But for the most part, we design, build, and operate networks the same way today that we did fifteen or more years ago. The core underlying protocols have grown up or had new knobs and levers added, but generally speaking, if a networker of the past fell out of a time warp and into a design project today, it wouldn’t take them too terribly long to catch up. Read More »
Tags: #ciscochampion, Cisco ACI, Cisco onePK, DCI, SDN, software defined networking, virtualization, VLANs
Would SDN, by any other name, still smell as sweet?
Perhaps I’m in the minority that is still frustrated by this, but as a marketing person who is tasked with explaining technology and solutions to customers and prospects, I feel hamstrung by a lack of a widely agreed upon definition of what is and is not “SDN” still. This usually comes up in discussions about our new Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI), and how it compares to traditional SDN concepts, as well as alternative approaches, such as overlay networks advocated by VMware.
The topic came up again this week with a NetworkWorld article in which the head of VMware’s network virtualization business is now saying, “SDN will never happen” (our rebuttal). Well, what is happening, if it’s not SDN? Or just because the technology has evolved, do we need to create a new term just because some early assumptions the industry made have changed? As we start out a new year, I thought it a good time to try and reframe the definition, and look at how the trends in SDN may be shaping up to extend the concept into new areas.
Why do customers need SDN?
By early 2012, there was so much hype and expectations around Software Defined Networking, focused on the ability to “program” the network, that real customer use cases and the killer SDN app was lost in the conversation. But what slowly emerged, that is driving all the investment, pilots and product designs is a much better way to manage the data center and cloud network, and to automate IT tasks so that the infrastructure could respond dynamically to rapidly changing business conditions and requirements. The “intelligence” to make all that happen is moving from the network devices and device management consoles, to centralized policy-management platforms, orchestration tools and cloud-managers.
What’s caused the biggest evolution in SDN is the realization that very few organizations really have the desire, skills and incentives to write a new class of applications to a published API to program the network. These users are outlying use cases compared to the vast majority of organizations just looking to automate IT tasks, accelerate application deployment, make their cloud networks more flexible, and better align their IT infrastructure with business requirements. The focus has shifted from SDN being an open API/controller platform, to a platform capable of hosting a myriad of orchestration and IT workflow automation solutions that drive customers to their end goal. To that end, ACI is meeting all those objectives, and in more advanced and innovative ways than earlier SDN approaches.
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Tags: ACI, Cisco ONE, Open Daylight, Open Network Environment, OpenFlow, OpenStack, SDN, software defined networking, XNC
In a January 13, 2014 NetworkWorld article, VMware executive, Steve Mullaney, compared VMware NSX to Cisco ACI and other SDN architectures. Cisco’s Frank D’Agostino replied to those assertions in the comments section of the article. Frank’s points are abbreviated and summarized here:
1. VMware pricing model is fundamentally flawed, which is raising OpEx costs, and affecting network design decisions and scale.
VMware is charging customers per-port, per-VM, and increases the cost of networking by 2x or more, while providing lower functionality, increasing operations expense, and forcing you to adopt a different network architecture. ACI delivers more functionality with zero VM tax.
For VMware, our customers consistently report pricing starting at $50 or more per VM per month. In competitive engagements, pricing rapidly declines to $15 per VM per month, then lower depending on the negotiation. Customers do not like the per port pricing, the same as they do not like per VM pricing. All of those models get expensive and alter your designs and scale considerations.
2. Claims that ACI is a proprietary platform or policy model belies the fact that many aspects of VMware’s architecture require vendor lock-in, on top of the premium pricing model.
VMware claims that ACI is proprietary. Yet customers have to get their OVS from VMware not the open switch download, under open source license. Currently, VMware is the only hypervisor platform that locks customers into a proprietary controller – RedHat, KVM, and Hyper-V all provide open access. ACI contributions are showing up in OpenStack, IETF drafts, and through VXLAN extensions, and is providing the most open implementation in the industry – API’s, data model, and integration with 3rd party controllers. Federating NSX with 3rd party controllers, such as HP, is different that providing open, bi-directional programmability.
3. Openness is really measured by the breadth of infrastructures, OS platforms, orchestration models, etc., that are supported by the policy model, and ACI is rapidly outdistancing NSX in this area.
ACI supports any hypervisor, any encapsulation (VXLAN, NVGRE, VLAN, and even STT), any physical platform, storage, physical compute, layer 4 through 7, WAN, with full flexibility of any workload anywhere, with full policy, performance, and visibility in hardware. ACI supports Open vSwitch and allows a 3rd party controller to program ACI hardware components. Investment protection is built in supporting existing platforms, and within the Nexus 9000 products enabling you to run enhanced NXOS and ACI mode with a software upgrade.
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Tags: ACI, application centric infrastructure, NSX, SDN, software defined networking