& cplSiteName &

Cisco Links SDN & Policy

Craig Matsumoto
4/27/2012
50%
50%

Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) has devised a plan to take advantage of software-defined networking (SDN) that involves bringing service providers closer to the information that's needed for smart policy decisions.

It's all about taking advantage of the information that's already in the network -- information that's not being put to good use, said David Ward, CTO and chief architect of Cisco's service provider divison, at the recent Open Networking Summit.

Take enterprise applications. "You see odd or kind-of weak attempts at trying to divine what the network is doing," Ward said in an interview with Light Reading. "We can provide that directly into those really big development platforms that are out there. Our strength is being able to get that data out and make it available."

In other words, Ward believes Cisco can utilize SDN to unlock network information that can then be put to use in policy, authentication or quality of service applications.

There's a lot of skepticism about whether SDN and Cisco can get along. SDN is all about separating network management from network equipment. That could mean turning routers into dumber, programmable boxes controlled by an outside source, thus commoditizing Cisco's most important product lines.

Naturally, Cisco doesn't share that view. "I absolutely do not see our platforms getting commoditized," Ward said. "We're looking at more interfaces to them. We're looking at more functionality."

Ward has been around the block. A former IOS XR architect, he rejoined Cisco late in 2011 after working at Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR) for a time and he has dozens of routing protocols under his belt. He'll often finish a sentence by tacking on a tirade about why a certain protocol did or didn't succeed, or about how something being tried today is so similar to a particular standard from years ago. (See Cisco Adds Another Juniper Exec.)

The current round of SDN, combined with the needs of mobile networks and video, prompted him to rethink a few things. Ward gave a talk at ONS that started with him describing an epiphany he'd had -- that two of the router tenets that have been the foundation of the Internet no longer need to hold true.



Ward turned next to the capabilities of the network, posing the question: Just what can service providers do with SDN?

To answer that, he looked at what resources SDN can tap -- network state, in particular.

He described a feedback loop that's yet to be fully exploited, created by analytics, policy and the network. That's where Cisco can put SDN to use, he said.



For service providers, SDN won't be about programming features into the network, Ward thinks, because that would open too many security and reliability questions. Service-provider SDN will be more about "the ability to integrate these different mechanisms of orchestration to put together new services," he told Light Reading after his talk.

He sees this direction being particularly useful for mobile operators. "They have ways of doing content. They have ways of getting your mobile phone onto the network. They have ways of doing transcoding and encoding and address management. They'll need a way to just pull it together, such that the policy you need for getting the right video with the right transcoding onto your mobile phone can be actually put into the network."

So, Ward's job will involve bringing Cisco into the SDN world. Cisco has also funded a spin-in called Insieme that's going to work in this area, and Ward said it's all part of one unified SDN strategy that Cisco has worked out. Insieme will craft its strategy as part of that team, not as an all-star outsider, he said. (See Cisco Outlines an SDN Plan.)

— Craig Matsumoto, Managing Editor, Light Reading

(3)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Pete Baldwin
50%
50%
Pete Baldwin,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:34:51 PM
re: Cisco Links SDN & Policy


Cisco's approach does make sense, in terms of being able to grab and wield all this information that's locked up in the network. And of course, it makes sense from the point of view of a company that's already in the network.


I think a lot of SDN strategies are going to get tried out there, though. Service providers tend to be cautious, but SDN would let them try things on fractions of the network. It's like the way cloud computing got accepted inside enterprises: It usually started with some IT group wanting to do something that they wasn't allowed on the network, so they went rogue and used the cloud. I could see SDN nudging its way into service providers in a similar way.


I tend to agree with Ward that SDN doesn't equal the doom of Cisco, but I have to say I also see some interesting possibilities for replacing routers. Had a great talk with Vyatta about that; it's something I should find the time to write up.

^Eagle^
50%
50%
^Eagle^,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:34:49 PM
re: Cisco Links SDN & Policy


Craig,


I would be quite interested to read about what Vyatta had to say.  Please do write it up.


thanks,


sailboat

Soupafly
50%
50%
Soupafly,
User Rank: Light Sabre
12/5/2012 | 5:34:48 PM
re: Cisco Links SDN & Policy


+1 to the Vyatta write up.


Surely one of the key considerations is where the decision will have an impact on the value-add, end user and network optimisation. That question, in no way puts Cisco automatically, at the centre of the web.


Those 3 areas intersect but may not automatically correlate in the same place both within and across the network. So depending on the specifics of Vl-Add, End Usr & Ntwrk Optmstn, you will see a different level of interplay across the network.


An example of said would be cloud networking and mobile networks. The policy components for LTE are located within the core and interact with users at a distance today. That functionality will need to become more distributed, as the bandwidth threshold increases, or the policy will itself be devolved and pushed to the device or platform to determine. (Not unlike a cookie, that states your a "gold user" so have a priority path for voice & video but a 2nd tier path for push data. A Platinum user may have priority across all 3 paths, for example.)

From The Founder
Cisco's Conrad Clemson, recently promoted to head up the company's Service Provider Apps & Platforms developments, talks to Light Reading's Founder and CEO Steve Saunders about how he's bringing cloud video, mobile and virtualization together to empower network operators.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei at CeBIT 2017: Day 3

3|22|17   |     |   (0) comments


Light Reading reports from CeBIT 2017 in Germany, where Huawei is exhibiting on the application of technologies and key business verticals such as transportation, smart city, manufacturing, media and finance.
LRTV Documentaries
No Regrets: Cox's Finkelstein on Fiber & More

3|22|17   |     |   (0) comments


At the Cable Next-Gen Technologies & Strategies event in Denver, Cox's Jeff Finkelstein examines the cable capex conundrum.
LRTV Documentaries
Cable Next-Gen: The 'Mile High' View From Denver

3|22|17   |   11:56   |   (0) comments


Alan Breznick kicks off the Cable Next-Gen Technologies & Strategies event in Denver, casting his thousand-yard stare over cable's current competitive landscape.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei at CeBIT 2017: Day 2

3|21|17   |   2:27   |   (0) comments


Light Reading reports from CeBIT 2017 in Germany, where Huawei is exhibiting digital transformation solutions around IoT, smart data centers, OpenCloud ecosystem and its newly announced storage-as-a-service solution.
LRTV Custom TV
Driving Better Mobile Customer Experience While Transforming the Mobile Network

3|21|17   |   7:47   |   (0) comments


The Citrix NetScaler mobile gateway is an intelligent traffic management solution which can markedly improve the customer experience provided by mobile operators, even when traffic is encrypted. Critical network services can be consolidated and virtualized using NetScaler. Because of the unique architecture, NetScaler can be deployed on any hypervisor, on a ...
LRTV Custom TV
Mastercard: What's Next for Mobile Payments?

3|21|17   |   7:49   |   (0) comments


2017 marks the fifth consecutive year for Mastercard at Mobile World Congress and it was a great time to reflect on the amazing advances the payments industry has made as well as discuss "What's Next' in the digital commerce future. We spoke to James Anderson, executive vice president of digital payments at MasterCard, about digital wallets to tokenization to ...
LRTV Custom TV
Mastercard: 2 Billion Adults 'Trapped' in Cash Economy

3|21|17   |   03:51   |   (0) comments


Despite advances made in the last several years, two billion adults around the world are trapped in a cash economy and lack what we take for granted -- a safe way to receive, save and use money. Shamina Singh, executive vice president of sustainability and president of the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, chats about how Mastercard is developing new ways to ...
LRTV Custom TV
Mastercard: Payment From Every Device

3|21|17   |   5:55   |   (0) comments


A world where everything and everyone is connected creates new points of interaction for commerce. These digital experiences cannot be developed in isolation and instead require an ecosystem to drive mass consumer and enterprise adoption and create better consumer engagement. Predicting when that growth will happen is difficult, but always keeping the end user in ...
LRTV Interviews
InterDigital's Role in the 5G, IoT Era

3|21|17   |   05:47   |   (0) comments


Alan Carlton, managing director and VP for Europe at InterDigital, talks about the company's role in 5G projects in Europe and the prospects for the company in the IoT market.
LRTV Interviews
Lessons Learned From Digital Transformation

3|21|17   |   05:51   |   (0) comments


Ravi Palepu, global head of Telco Solutions at Virtusa, talks about some key takeaways from telco digital transformation experiences during the past couple of years.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
NetNumber's CMO Shares Her Diversity Do's

3|21|17   |   3:19   |   (2) comments


The telecom industry is transforming the world, and diversity plays a critical role in driving the innovation behind it. NetNumber CMO Kim Gibbons shares why diversity and being authentic is a do amidst all the don'ts women in comms often hear.
LRTV Custom TV
Software-Driven Architecture for 5G & IOT

3|20|17   |   1:56   |   (0) comments


We present Heavy Reading's Jim Hodges's report from Mobile World Congress -- where operators and vendors are working to bring a variety of technologies together to make virtualization a reality in the era of 5G and IoT.
Upcoming Live Events
May 15-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
May 15, 2017, Austin Convention Center - Austin, TX
June 6, 2017, The Joule Hotel, Dallas, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
High-Band 5G: Let's Address the Range Question, Shall We?
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 3/21/2017
Eurobites: Italy First Pasta the Post for 5G
Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, 3/17/2017
5G Faces a Marathon, Not a Sprint
Iain Morris, News Editor, 3/17/2017
Eurobites: A1, Nokia Turn It Up to 11
Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, 3/22/2017
SXSW Pics: Women, Weirdness & Waiting in Austin
Sarah Thomas, Director, Women in Comms, 3/16/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
TEOCO Founder and CEO Atul Jain talks to Light Reading Founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the challenges around cost control and service monetization in the mobile and IoT sectors.
At MWC 2017, Qualcomm's CTO Matt Grob talks to Light Reading's CEO and Founder Steve Saunders about the progress being made in the development of the technologies and standards that will underpin 5G.
Animals with Phones
Neither Do We Click Here
Is that a prerequisite?
Live Digital Audio

Playing it safe can only get you so far. Sometimes the biggest bets have the biggest payouts, and that is true in your career as well. For this radio show, Caroline Chan, general manager of the 5G Infrastructure Division of the Network Platform Group at Intel, will share her own personal story of how she successfully took big bets to build a successful career, as well as offer advice on how you can do the same. We’ll cover everything from how to overcome fear and manage risk, how to be prepared for where technology is going in the future and how to structure your career in a way to ensure you keep progressing. Chan, a seasoned telecom veteran and effective risk taker herself, will also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air.