Programmable Networks Will Power the Internet of Everything
We’re 13 years into the new millennium and we still don’t have flying cars, house cleaning robot maids or refrigerators that talk back to us. Not everything predicted for our Jetson-like future came true — or maybe not as quickly as expected. Yet, that doesn’t mean it won’t happen. Our industry talked about triple play voice, video and data services for more than a decade. Today we watch videos or TV on smart phones, tablets, PCs and television sets while texting friends, playing games or surfing simultaneously on any number of devices from anywhere. Technology has a way of catching up to our vision of the future. So don’t bet against innovation.
The next big thing is the Internet of Everything (IoE). It’s one part evolution and one part revolution. Network traffic is migrating from people-to-people communication to people-to-things. The network shift to machine-to-machine (M2M) or thing-to-thing traffic is the revolution that is quietly occurring right behind our backs. Dare I say BORG? Service providers will be at the center of interconnecting this world of many things. Trillions of tiny machines are coming on-line aggregating into peer-to-peer communities that live independently on the net. They’ll need to connect to a fully distributed network that is so dynamic, fluid, automatic and capable that response times must be virtually instantaneous. An underlying network that invokes, tracks, manages or, simply, turns things on and off without operator intervention. A programmable network that is not only always-on, virtualized and fully distributed, but also dynamic and interactive — working to keep “things” going while we mere humans sleep.
The sheer volume of M2M transactions and next generation applications flowing over wireline, mobile and WIFI networks will require entirely new levels of programmability. Software-driven networks will be the foundation upon which the next generation Internet is built. Programmable software-driven networks will be the glue that enables every element to talk to each other across and between every network layer: transport, forwarding, control, management, orchestration and application. Multi-directional, real-time feedback loops will be mandatory to enable analytics engines to talk to each application and other engines that power business rules. These rules must change on the fly. A next generation Internet will be about just-in-time policy changes that orchestrate and manage uninterruptable streams of content or data from trillions of sensors and devices that exist everywhere in our IP-enabled physical world.
It’s the programmable network that will allow service providers to automatically keep pace, by simply re-programing vs. manually re-building their network infrastructures for applications like: smart parking, smart lighting, intelligent transportation, smart farming, intelligent shopping, energy and water use, animal, fish and even kid tracking applications. A list that will continue to evolve and grow as fast as we interconnect these ‘things’ to the Internet in ways we cannot yet imagine.
Software Defined Networking (SDN) is directed at solving some of the basic challenges of programmable networks, but the vision needs to be bigger. Cisco believes that something more comprehensive is required to power a vision so complex and, yet, so powerful as the Internet of Everything. We call our solution the Cisco Open Network Environment or Cisco ONE.
With Cisco ONE, we’re thinking big and out-of-the-box. We’re building on the foundation we created when we started embedding intelligence into individual network elements decades ago. As Internet pioneers we’ve always been on the side of intelligent networks. Now we’re going to tie everything together into one, single integrated framework. By using Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), Network Programming Interfaces (NPIs), overlays, controllers and agents all working together with the underlying infrastructure, we’re creating the industry’s most comprehensive solution for programmable networks.
Applications and the underlying network will talk to each other in ways that were never before possible. Cisco ONE is being built not only to give providers the service agility they need for today’s applications, but more so, the fluidity and instantaneous responsiveness they’ll need to build the Internet of Everything right alongside us.