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2010+ networking software: how to open up, how to speed new ideas to market

June 15, 2012 - 5 Comments

The onePK announcement Ric describes in the previous blog entry is game changing. It also intersects a trend which has gone fairly unnoticed in the networking standards areas. The importance of new standards is declining relative to advances in software and hardware.

Don’t get me wrong, standards are still very important. But you should not look for a plethora of new foundational IP networking standards anytime soon. The decade of 2010 will not be groundbreaking from a standards perspective relative to the 1980s and 1990s when concepts like TCP, Ethernet, BGP, ICMP, DHCP, and IPv6 were solidifying.

But networking continues to evolve quickly. Upcoming fundamental changes will be driven from computer industry innovations such as:

Intersecting these drivers gives some guidance on what to expect from the 2010s:

  • Being able to leverage Multicore means that routers must continually support more threads/processes.
  • Linux Containers will enable application processes (e.g., Open Source) to be safely isolated from critical infrastructure (e.g., forwarding or route topology calculation).
  • Moore’s law means off-the-shelf CPU intensive applications can be brought into the network
  • If these applications are run within a Linux Container, they can be spun up without requiring a full suite of network element regression testing and recertification.

The deadliest barrier to networking innovation is the long lead time from concept to embodiment. So when people say “speed kills”, think “slow speed kills good ideas”. All of the drivers described above remove real barriers slowing an idea’s time to market. Once an emerging idea has been vetted, morphed, and validated by the market, then it will be time to consider standardization. (Food for thought: don’t be surprised if the forums for standardization shift into code dominated areas involved with Linux and Open Source.)

The onePK announcement is a huge step to increasing the speed and flexibility for new applications entering the network. Complimentary advances in software and hardware will remove the majority of boundaries slowing the realization of the next wave of networking advances.  Without tools like onePK, emerging applications will continue to congregate on servers attached to routers and switches.  And operational costs and complexities will keep many worthy ideas from being realized.

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  1. Additional UI tip: place the “reply” button below comment text, next to the “like” button.

    Enhancement request: Cisco of all companies should support OpenID authentication, rather than restricting things to vendor-controlled Facebook or Twitter. An Internet of open standards is good for Cisco, and good for Cisco’s blog presence.


  2. The Add button exists, yes, but the content is truncated. For example:

    “The onePK announcement Ric describes in the previous blog entry is game changing. It also intersects a trend which has […]”

    If you include the full text of articles in the syndication feed then the feed will be much more useful, and more people will subscribe.


  3. Hello,

    Is there a full RSS feed for this blog available?


    • Is the RSS Feed “Add” button not showing for you? We are only at four blog posts so far, but you should expect to see additional ones in the coming days.