The increasing diversity and complexity of traffic traversing the Internet of Everything­ today can be imagined as a three-dimensional collection of intersecting highways of different kinds (e.g., corporate WAN, Internet, mobile, Wi-Fi, cellular, cable, cloud), with a wide array of vehicles (e.g., PCs, tablets, smartphones) carrying various types of passengers (e.g., data, voice, video, email, SMS, Web).   Emerging traffic from the new category of machine-to-machine communications is scaling exponentially and introducing new policy triggers.

In this new environment network operators must become master traffic controllers to deal with all of the volume, diversity, and complexity. The most innovative and forward-looking experts are aggressively looking into providing more open programmatic access to their network functions and services. The goal is easier and faster control, in order to make them more agile, flexible and application interactive while at the same time optimally aligning costs with potential new revenues.

Cisco ONE Building Blocks: Controllers and Agents

Software Defined Networking (SDN) plays a key role within programmable network initiatives and plays a big part in the Cisco Open Network Environment (Cisco ONE)  ─ most notably, in the separation and abstraction of some control plane functions from the network devices and their placement into a centralized controller. The controller is responsible for collecting data from the network and programming the network devices attached.  It uses northbound appliction interfaces to allow applications such as analytics and business applications to more easily interact with the underlying network infrastructure.

In our last blog on one potential business application “End-to-end Visualization and Control” ─ features available with Cisco ONE ─ we talked about the network operating like a being with senses and a nervous system. It sees what’s happening within itself. It models and analyzes this information. And it automatically adjusts traffic paths in the WAN as needed for optimal resource allocation and traffic flow. Controllers and agents do some of the heavy lifting of communicating with the virtual and physical infrastructure to make the business application faster and more intelligent.

Now let’s take a closer look at how some of the newest SDN-inspired technologies ─ controllers and agents ─ provide access to both virtual and physical infrastructure to more easily monitor networks, optimize network behavior, and increase resource utilization and QoS.

Monitoring and Optimizing Network Flows

Using the Cisco ONE controller and agents, network administrators can monitor traffic flows across network connections, analyze the resulting data, and report their findings northbound. Then they can automatically allow the traffic to continue or they can optimize, redirect, or stop it, based on the need and instructions coming from any business application.

See Advanced Flow Control in action in this video:

The Programmable Network: Advanced Flow Control

Cisco ONE controllers and agents extend beyond today’s operations and administration tools by providing a more comprehensive view of the network. With the enhanced capabilities of Cisco ONE technologies, the network can respond in real-time to traffic and service demands.

Advanced Flow Control capabilities of Cisco ONE, provide a solution that simplifies the monitoring and control of traffic flows, scales the analysis of the data, and provides the ability to change network behavior. With Advanced Flow Control, you can:

  • Monitor networks more easily and with greater scale and flexibility than with current solutions
  • Redirect or optimize customer-specific or application-specific workflows end to end across the data center and WAN
  • Maximize resource utilization and QoS
  • Reduce network TCO
  • Open up new revenue opportunities with flexible monitoring and control capabilities

Find out more about how Cisco ONE is creating an entirely new suite of capabilities to power the Internet of Everything making your networks more agile.

Watch for our next blog on Elastic Service Delivery, describing how users can order IT services via any online portal followed by fast, automated fulfillment leveraging Cisco ONE centralized intelligence that initiates service and application-specific provisioning and programming of network and data center resources.


Sanjeev Mervana

Vice President of Product Management

Emerging Technologies & Incubation