Light Reading

Cisco Extends Its SDN & Cloud Plans

Craig Matsumoto
News Analysis
Craig Matsumoto
2/4/2013
50%
50%

Cisco Systems Inc. is getting closer to making its software-defined networking (SDN) plans a reality, with a set of announcements Monday that also extend the company's cloud-computing capabilities.

A couple of forces are at work here. Cisco is determined to take control of the SDN transition, saying the future is going to be about network programmability through application programming interfaces (APIs).

And both there and on the cloud side, new capabilities are fueling the indirect war between Cisco and VMware Inc. While they're trying to stay partners and are continuing to support their VCE joint venture, they're also both aiming for a starring role in future networks that blend physical and virtual elements.

Cisco's announcements Monday include a new fixed-configuration switch, the Nexus 6000, that houses up to 96 40Gbit/s ports. But that's not the most interesting part.

SDN gets closer
Cisco says it's ready to make good on the Open Network Environment (ONE), the SDN master plan it announced last June. (See Cisco Takes ONE Step Beyond SDN.)

The products still aren't shipping, and Cisco is being vague about when they'll be available -- "first half of 2013" is the availability timeline for most items including:

  • An SDN controller;
  • Support for onePK, Cisco's web of APIs for programming the network, on the ISR G2, ASR 1000 and Nexus 3000 routers/switches; and,
  • OpenFlow support on at least the Nexus 3000.

The SDN controller, more properly called the Cisco Open Network Environment (ONE) Software Controller, would talk to routers and switches through a protocol such as OpenFlow. It's going to be central to Cisco's SDN plans, with many product lines eventually adding applications to take advantage of it, says Omar Sultan, Cisco's senior manager of emerging technologies.

Part of what's new is that Cisco is adding applications to the controller.

The first one announced had been the ability to partition the network, creating slices that have different switching rules, for example. Now, Cisco is also saying it will add network monitoring, a commonly discussed SDN feature that gives operators a deeper look at what's happening in the network.

Another controller application will be customized forwarding, where switches would make forwarding decisions based on factors such as low-latency requirements. But again: None of this is available just yet; it's coming in the next few months, Cisco says.

Cisco is also going to add OpenFlow support to more of its systems, starting with the Nexus 3000 line for sure, and possibly the Catalyst 3000 line. (Cisco describes the latter as being in the proof-of-concept phase.)

Other product lines with OpenFlow in the proof-of-concept stage include the Catalyst 3000, the Nexus 7000, the ASR 9000 (the main boxes for the data-center core and the service-provider edge) and the old-as-the-hills Catalyst 6500.

But like most vendors right now, Cisco is emphasizing that protocols besides OpenFlow will need to be supported as well.

Connecting clouds
The part of the announcement that's a little more radical is the Nexus 1000V InterCloud, a platform for connecting clouds and allowing them to tap each other's resources.

It's a way for a service provider to extend its cloud (and associated items including policy and security) down into the enterprise, creating a new type of hosted service, Sultan says.

The idea works in the other direction too -- an enterprise's network can be extended into a service provider's cloud, making the cloud behave like an extension of the enterprise.

In either case, both networks would run under one network management system and one set of policy rules.

Both cases work towards the hybrid cloud that most equipment vendors believe will become the norm. The idea is that most enterprises will employ some combination of a cloud that's their own (whether internally housed or run by a hosting company) and publicly available clouds. It seems useful to have those clouds running under the same network management and apply the same policies across both clouds.

The 1000V InterCloud can run on Nexus 1000V virtual switches, but it's not dependent on any particular type of hardware; as with virtual switches, what matters is the hypervisor. The 1000V available to work with VMware and Microsoft Corp. hypervisor environments at first. Support for the KVM open-source hypervisor is still in development, Sultan says.

— Craig Matsumoto, Managing Editor, Light Reading

(2)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
philatcisco
50%
50%
philatcisco,
User Rank: Light Beer
2/5/2013 | 9:58:39 PM
re: Cisco Extends Its SDN & Cloud Plans
Current Northbound API support is-ábased on the use case requriements-áthat early adopter customers have expressed as thier current priorities. The ONE Controller is also extensible so that as use case requirements expand, corresponding Northbound API support requirements can also-áexpand-áwhile-ámaintaining-áan update methodology to the software rather than a rip and replace oriented approach.
Craig Matsumoto
50%
50%
Craig Matsumoto,
User Rank: Light Sabre
2/4/2013 | 5:15:24 PM
re: Cisco Extends Its SDN & Cloud Plans
For the northbound interface... Cisco's Software Controller will ship with Java and RESTful APIs, but Cisco is also saying it'll support whatever other standards or cenventions develop -- basically, like everyone else, Cisco is saying "whatever" to the northbound interface.

"Whatever" might actually be a good enough answer in the long run -- by which I mean, there might be 6 or 7 major alternatives that all have to be supported.-á Or is there a better way, some way to standardize the northbound interface?-á My understanding is that the requirements are too widespread for that, but I'd be curious whether that's changing.-á
Flash Poll
From The Founder
Anshul Sadana answers questions from Steve Saunders, Light Reading's founder and CEO, about Arista's CloudVision, a global cloud network controller for workload orchestration and workflow automation delivering a turnkey solution for cloud networking.
Live Streaming Video
CLOUD / MANAGED SERVICES: Prepping Ethernet for the Cloud
Moderator: Ray LeMaistre Panelists: Jeremy Bye, Leonard Sheahan
LRTV Custom TV
End-User or Enterprise Benefits to the New IP

7|30|15   |   04:27   |   (1) comment


Andrew Coward discusses what the New IP means to end users or enterprise customers. He explains compelling reasons, including how every customer can get their own network, from the transformation to the New IP.
LRTV Custom TV
Network Visibility & the New IP

7|30|15   |   02:23   |   (0) comments


Mukund Srigopal provides an explanation of what network visibility is and how it is essential as service providers transition to the New IP. In addition, the importance of the network packet broker is discussed.
Between the CEOs
Video Exclusive With Basil Alwan, Alcatel-Lucent

7|24|15   |   26:44   |   (5) comments


Basil Alwan, President of IP Routing & Transport at Alcatel-Lucent, discusses virtualization, cultural challenges, the capex crunch and more with Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders.
LRTV Custom TV
VDF: Enable the Financial With Mobile Money

7|20|15   |   06:53   |   (0) comments


Ian Ravenscroft discusses how operators can expand to occupy the entire digital services value chain through service innovation.
LRTV Custom TV
Telefónica on OSS Transformation

7|20|15   |   06:01   |   (0) comments


Jose Gonzales discusses the details of Telefónica's operation transformation program.
LRTV Custom TV
Judi Achmadi on Huawei's Cloud Storage Solution

7|20|15   |   03:33   |   (0) comments


Judi discusses the key business goals of TelekomSigma's public cloud service and how Huawei's solution helps them address challenges.
LRTV Custom TV
KPN Enlightening Digital Business & IT Transformation

7|20|15   |   06:19   |   (0) comments


Rob de Beer discusses the changes that operators need to make with service innovation now coming from the Internet world.
LRTV Custom TV
Stratus Telco-Grade Cloud Solutions & NFV

7|20|15   |   07:34   |   (0) comments


Ali Kafel from Stratus Technologies addresses high-availability concerns within the telco industry with a solution that enables telcos to provide high-availability and stateful fault-tolerance using a software-based approach.
LRTV Documentaries
The Six Million Dollar Business Man

7|20|15   |   01:52   |   (0) comments


Steve Saunders, publisher. A man barely alive after an acquisition malfunction imploded the company he founded. Gentlemen, we can rebuild Light Reading. Better, faster, stronger.
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat With Anukool Lakhina, Guavus

7|20|15   |   38:51   |   (1) comment


Guavus CEO Anukool Lakhina talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the role of operational analytics in the communications services and networking sectors, particularly in relation to IoT.
LRTV Custom TV
IBM's Flash Storage With Intel QuickAssist

7|20|15   |   03:18   |   (0) comments


Intel's Bev Crair and IBM's Eric Herzog discuss how IBM's V9000 Flash Storage System has helped customers around the world. Featuring real-time compression powered by Intel QuickAssist Technology, the V9000 is a next-gen flash storage solution.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Thailand's AIS: Transforming to an FMC Operator

7|17|15   |   4:53   |   (0) comments


Saran Phaloprakarn, Senior VP of Fixed Broadband Business Management of Thailand's AIS, was a keynote speaker at the first Asia-Pacific Ultra Broadband Summit in Bangkok. In this video, he talks to Heavy Reading about transforming into an FMC (FBB+MBB+Content) operator.
Upcoming Live Events
September 16-17, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 16, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 16, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
October 14-15, 2015, New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, LA
November 5, 2015, Hilton Santa Clara, Santa Clara, CA
November 17, 2015, Santa Clara, California
December 1, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Network operators start seeing savings from NFV in the first year, according to a study by Affirmed Networks and ACG.
Hot Topics
Robbins Succeeds Chambers as Cisco Changes CEOs
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 7/27/2015
Cable Feuds With Senate Dems Over STBs
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 7/31/2015
RJio to Launch Its Own 4G Devices Brand
Gagandeep Kaur, Contributing Editor, 7/27/2015
Easing the Tech Pains for the Homeless
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 7/28/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
September 22, 2015
Media Begins With “Me”
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Basil Alwan, President of IP Routing & Transport at Alcatel-Lucent, discusses virtualization, cultural challenges, the capex crunch and more with Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders.
Guavus CEO Anukool Lakhina talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the role of operational analytics in the communications services and networking sectors, particularly in relation to IoT.
Cats with Phones
Comes With Free Phone Stand Click Here
Who says cats don't have any skills?