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My Top 7 Predictions for Open Source in 2014

My 2014 predictions are finally complete.  If Open Source equals collaboration or credibility, 2013 has been nothing short of spectacular.  As an eternal optimist, I believe 2014 will be even better:

  1. Big data’s biggest play will be in meatspace, not cyberspace.  There is just so much data we produce and give away, great opportunity for analytics in the real world.
  2. Privacy and security will become ever more important, particularly using Open Source, not closed. Paradoxically, this is actually good news as Open Source shows us again, transparency wins and just as we see in biological systems, the most robust mechanisms do so with fewer secrets than we think.
  3. The rise of “fog” computing as a consequence of the Internet of Things (IoT) will unfortunately be driven by fashion for now (wearable computers), it will make us think again what have we done to give up our data and start reading #1 and #2 above with a different and more open mind. Again!
  4. Virtualization will enter the biggest year yet in networking.  Just like the hypervisor rode Moore’s Law in server virtualization and found a neat application in #2 above, a different breed of projects like OpenDaylight will emerge. But the drama is a bit more challenging because the network scales very differently than CPU and memory, it is a much more challenging problem. Thus, networking vendors embracing Open Source may fare well.
  5. Those that didn’t quite “get” Open Source as the ultimate development model will re-discover it as Inner Source (ACM, April 1999), as the only long-term viable development model.  Or so they think, as the glamor of new-style Open Source projects (OpenStack, OpenDaylight, AllSeen) with big budgets, big marketing, big drama, may in fact be too seductive.  Only those that truly understand the two key things that make an Open Source project successful will endure.
  6. AI recently morphed will make a comeback, not just robotics, but something different AI did not anticipate a generation ago, something one calls cognitive computing, perhaps indeed the third era in computing!  The story of Watson going beyond obliterating Jeopardy contestants, looking to open up and find commercial applications, is a truly remarkable thing to observe in our lifespan.  This may in fact be a much more noble use of big data analytics (and other key Open Source projects) than #1 above. But can it exist without it?
  7. Finally, Gen Z developers discover Open Source and embrace it just like their Millennials (Gen Y) predecessors. The level of sophistication and interaction rises and projects ranging from Bitcoin to qCraft become intriguing, presenting a different kind of challenge.  More importantly, the previous generation can now begin to relax knowing the gap is closing, the ultimate development model is in good hands, and can begin to give back more than ever before. Ah, the beauty of Open Source…

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Features, Bugs, and Backdoors: The Differences, How Language Can Be (Mis)Used, And A Word Of Caution

Language is a powerful tool.

With acronyms like ACL, IPS/IDS, and APT*, the security world has created its own language, acronyms, and catchphrases. In our industry, sometimes the meaning of more commonly used words can cause misunderstandings. For example, is a hacker a bad actor or a well-intentioned individual? Are all software bugs also security vulnerabilities? Can the terms feature, bug, and backdoor be used interchangeably?

A feature, a bug, or a backdoor might look like the same thing to some, but they are not. Imprecision in this area can breed misunderstandings. I believe that there are two key differences between a feature, a bug, and a backdoor: intent and transparency. Read More »

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Social Media – The Efficacy of the Corporate Guide

***Link Updated: June 2012***

In early May we published our “Cisco Social Media Policy for our employees to read, acknowledge and if applicable inculcate into their daily regime as employees of Cisco.  An internal Governance Board created this document to empower the employee’s engagement rather than harness as the employee traversed through the social media and social network landscape.  Does it answer all the questions imaginable, no, it does, however, provide the necessary guidance to allow any employee to navigate and escalate any questions which may arise during the many daily social media journeys.

Many ask, what’s inside a Cisco social media policy document and why do you have one?  As stated above, the guide is there to help employees navigate social networks, as the employee engages the many audiences present within these social networks.

At Cisco we are a community that embraces transparency, authenticity and openness.  We encourage our employees to be a part of social networks, both internal to Cisco, as well as, external to Cisco.  Our employees may use social networking sites while at work to conduct business.  Cisco does not block access to social networking sites – we believe in empowering the workforce and instilling trust in our employees to work responsibly.

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Does the Data Center Provide an Advantage for Government?

Today, as I watched the Cisco Data Center webcast “Evolutionary Fabric, Revolutionary Scale: A Nondisruptive Way to Handle Dynamic Data Center and Cloud Environments” I thought about how data centers can provide an advantage for government agencies seeking ways to increase operational efficiency and reduce costs.

In many ways, data centers today have similar characteristics when compared to government organizations with:

  • isolated silos of information
  • labor-intensive manual processes
  • rising costs of service
  • limited flexibility
  • mandates to provide open access to information
  • changing workplace with mobile applications, video, …
  • requirements to ensure security

In the data center, silos include servers, storage, applications, and network devices.  In many government organizations, different agencies often operate independently in separate silos.

The strategic advantage for both government IT organizations and government agencies is to develop holistic strategies that unify the separate parts into a system to deliver better efficiency with higher resource utilization that is easier to manage and costs less.

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