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Cisco Looks to Open Source for 'Badder Ass' Internet

Mitch Wagner
5/26/2016
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The network needs to expose data to platform-as-a-service providers such as CloudFoundry, OpenStack, Heroku and Microsoft Azure, to allow developers to take advantage of that data, Cooney said.

These applications will be easier to simplify and secure. "Bigger and badder doesn't necessarily mean more complex," Cooney said.

Bridging application and network management to enhance robustness (or make the network more "bad ass") is key to Cisco's networks-on-demand strategy, outlined by Cooney's boss, Cisco engineering CTO Dave Ward, in an interview with Light Reading in March. (See The Future Is Networks on Demand, Says Cisco Chief Architect.)

Identifying projects that are likely to succeed is important to organizations getting involved in open source, and in making decisions on where to direct resources, Cooney said.

Likelihood of success is determined not by financial investment, but rather by the quality of the code and the community, she added.

According to Cooney, successful open source projects have high contributor diversity, a high degree of deployment and commercial offerings wrapped around the open source code. Without those factors, an open source project starts looking proprietary, with the same risks of vendor lock-in.

Importantly, diverse participation means a variety of companies, customers and end users.

For example, Cisco is involved in Project Mantl, a project on Github to help network operators get up to speed on microservices and containers. "It has every component you need," Cooney said. In addition to Cisco, Getty Images, Comcast and Charter are contributing code, among 66 contributors, with only 50% of code coming from Cisco. And Getty is deploying the project.

Successful open source projects also avoid drama. "There's a lot of drama in the industry," Cooney said during a panel discussion of open source in the data center here Wednesday. "The code and the community are the most important things. Drama is not. Skip the drama."

Cisco is not alone among networking vendors backing open source. Huawei is using open source components as part of its Application Driven Networking (ADN) platform, using 5G principles to build networks with the flexibility needed for different voice, Internet and machine-to-machine communications. (See Huawei Threatens Cisco With Application Driven Networking.)

Huawei also backs OPEN-O open source network orchestration. (See OPEN-O Focused on Orchestrating SDN & NFV.)

And Brocade has based its IP networking strategy around OpenDaylight, distributing a hardened commercial version of the open source SDN controller and contributing fixes back to the community distribution. (See Brocade Beefs Up SDN Operations Support and Brocade Wants to Be Red Hat of OpenDaylight.)

Additionally, Brocade bought StackStorm, a startup which develops an open source cloud automation toolset, in March, incorporating those tools into its Workflow Composer network automation toolbench for automating management of both the cloud and network, announced this week. (See Brocade Looks to Bridge Network & Cloud Automation, Brocade Looks to Enterprise & Cloud With StackStorm Buy and Brocade Buys StackStorm to Boost DevOps.)

— Mitch Wagner, Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading.

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danielcawrey
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danielcawrey,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/30/2016 | 3:46:33 PM
Re: Great headline!
I certainly like the idea of reduced drama. 

We're seeing so many networking players come in and say open source is the way forward. I'm a fan of that – it's just interesting to have this all happen at the same time. 
Kelsey Ziser
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Kelsey Ziser,
User Rank: Blogger
5/26/2016 | 3:39:59 PM
Great headline!
Looking forward to a drama-free, bad-ass network!
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