Light Reading

Cisco Pledges SDN Openness With Cariden

Craig Matsumoto
News Analysis
Craig Matsumoto
11/30/2012
50%
50%

Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) still insists it's got an "open" strategy for software-defined networking (SDN) and that the Cariden Technologies Inc. acquisition will only strengthen it.

That statement might make competitors choke on their coffee, given that Cariden's sofware -- used for evaluating and planning IP/MPLS networks -- just fell into enemy hands. Cisco announced Thursday that it's buying Cariden for roughly US$141 million. (See Cisco to Spend $141M for More SDN Help.)

Service providers use Cariden's network planning tool, called MATE, to see what's going on inside a variety of vendors' equipment -- Cisco, Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR), Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU), Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. and others.

Cisco claims it's going to keep it that way.

"It is our express intent to leave it multivendor," says Shailesh Shukla, vice president of the newly created service-provider software and applications group (i.e., the new boss of Cariden). "You know that service provider networks are multivendor, so it's important for any software platform that's involved in the network planning to be multivendor."

As for the "open" part, Cisco plans to standardize Cariden interfaces by creating the appropriate extensions to standards such as GMPLS and RSVP. "There's nothing inherently proprietary about any of those interfaces," says Kishore Seshadri, a Cisco director of product management.

Even so, it sounds awkward for Cisco to own a tool that's meant to peek into, say, Juniper equipment. It's one thing for a smaller player like Cyan Inc. to be able to do that. Cisco is a bigger name with a stigma of world domination and Godzilla-sized footprints.

"Juniper and Alcatel-Lucent were using Cariden. If I were them, I'd be a little bit worried," says Eve Griliches, an analyst with ACG Research .

Cisco counters by pointing out that it's already embracing a multivendor world, one where customers use (gasp!) other companies' gear. Prime, Cisco's own network management suite, has had multivendor support for a year and a half, Shukla says.

"We have real deployments of customers where Prime is managing other vendors' equipment" he says. "So the multivendor piece is not an inherent conflict," he says.

Carrier SDN
One might also ask -- as Greg Ferro of the Packet Pushers podcast did -- whether Cariden is overlapping what Insieme Networks Inc. is supposed to be doing. Insieme is Cisco's spin-in that's been described as an SDN startup.

Cisco describes the division this way: Cariden is specifically for service providers, whereas Insieme is more about the data center.

"What service provider customers are asking for is not what we're hearing on the data-center side," where much of the buzz is about the potential for new networks built on commodity switches, Seshadri says. "What they [the service providers] seem to be looking for is more of an incremental approach."

That incremental approach has become popular in SDN circles, especially when talks of service-provider networks come up. It's obvious -- telcos won't rip up networks for SDN's sake -- but it's got some implications that equipment vendors might not love. Namely, it implies SDN will have to tailor to multivendor networks and probably support multiple types of controllers.

Regardless of what Cisco actually does with it, Cariden is going to fill a gap. Cisco sees Cariden's software being merged with nLight, the control-plane technology announced in October for provisioning the IP and optical layers together. The result, in theory, is a way to provision network paths by picking optimal combinations of IP and optical connections. (See Cisco's Core Router Gets Optical Genes.)

"Cisco really didn't have the orchestration part, and they really needed it," Griliches says. "They are definitely more focused on adding value in the software space. I think people don't give Cisco enough credit in the sense that they're handling the market changes in that space.

"My question is: Why isn't Cariden going to be integrated with Prime, the Cisco network managment system? It could be that it's just too early," she adds.

There's also the fact that Cariden has an IP/MPLS heritage but falls short on the optical side. Cariden had already been working on IP-plus-optical management, Shukla claims, but Griliches has her doubts about how much optical experience Cariden has amassed.

"I don't think Cariden has a lot of time working on the optical side of things. They're talking about IP-and-optical and multilayer optimization. Cariden says they've been working on this for a year, but given all their clients, I don't know how much they've done," Griliches says.

— Craig Matsumoto, Managing Editor, Light Reading

(8)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Pete Baldwin
50%
50%
Pete Baldwin,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:16:46 PM
re: Cisco Pledges SDN Openness With Cariden


Cisco says Cariden hasn't had to work closely with other vendors in order to tap their equipment, that it's just been arm's length. 


But I could swear Cariden told me they worked hard to develop deep, involved partnerships with all the major equipment vendors, in order to 'read' their equipment.

It's possible the latter is more related to Cariden's analytics functions, which are relatively new. In any event, I'm still doubting Cariden will be able to keep offering its normal business for very long. Fwiw, Cisco says I'm wrong about that.

Pete Baldwin
50%
50%
Pete Baldwin,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:16:46 PM
re: Cisco Pledges SDN Openness With Cariden


Shukla told me service providers need the coordination of 3 things never coordinated together before:


* Cross-layer provisioning (Layer 1 through Layer 3)
* Faster service delivery
* Optimized placement of caches i.e. CDN nodes


The first two are SDN no-brainers.  The third one makes sense -- I mean, it certainly sounds useful -- but isn't something I've heard mentioned as a key SDN component or application.


Cariden and its network planning could certainly be useful there.  It's something to watch.

torivar
50%
50%
torivar,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:16:43 PM
re: Cisco Pledges SDN Openness With Cariden


The ALU CPAM tool integrated into their 5620 SAM NMS is built off of Cariden MATE so it will certainly be interesting to see how things play out.    It's completely seamless in the NMS so I'm sure there are some proprietary mechansisms Cariden and ALU are using between eachother.

alansar1
50%
50%
alansar1,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:16:43 PM
re: Cisco Pledges SDN Openness With Cariden


Hi Craig, 

When we spoke earlier this year, we were talking about *customers* (not vendors) as partners.


Cariden collects (from live customer networks) relevant equipment, topology, and traffic information, and then models it over time so that these networks can be better managed and orchestrated by engineering and operations groups. 


Cariden has only used published, generally available interfaces without relying on any "back doors" from other vendors; in any case, there is no vendor lab where one can replicate the issues we solved in the varied, multiplatform, worldwide service provider space.


- alansar1


 

Pete Baldwin
50%
50%
Pete Baldwin,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:16:41 PM
re: Cisco Pledges SDN Openness With Cariden


Got it. Thanks for clearing that up, Alan.

lrmobile_klandry
50%
50%
lrmobile_klandry,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:16:40 PM
re: Cisco Pledges SDN Openness With Cariden


@ dwx
The Alcatel-Lucent 5650 CPAM is developed solely by Alcatel-Lucent and is not “built off of Cariden MATE”. Integration with third-party products such as Cariden MATE or OPNET SP Guru Network Planner use open interfaces and are certified as part of Alcatel-Lucent’s OSS Connected Partner program.

Ashok_Santhanam
50%
50%
Ashok_Santhanam,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 7:03:25 AM
re: Cisco Pledges SDN Openness With Cariden
Nice article
From The Founder
Light Reading sits down at CES with the head of Cisco's service provider video business, Conrad Clemson, to discuss how NFV and cloud security relate to video, the challenge of managing 4K/8K traffic, the global expansion of Netflix and virtual reality.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
CLOUD / MANAGED SERVICES: Prepping Ethernet for the Cloud
Moderator: Ray LeMaistre Panelists: Jeremy Bye, Leonard Sheahan
LRTV Custom TV
Join Us at the Digital Operations Transformation Summit

2|4|16   |   03:52   |   (0) comments


The Digital Operations Transformation Summit on February 21, 2016 at the Crowne Plaza Barcelona Fira Centre will bring together 50 senior executives to engage in a unique debate on the opportunities and challenges presented by the transformative evolving digital landscape. RSVP now at events@lightreading.com.
LRTV Custom TV
Making the Test: ADVA Ensemble Connector vs. Open vSwitch

2|4|16   |   01:28   |   (0) comments


Light Reading, in partnership with EANTC, recently tested ADVA's Ensemble Connector, which replaces open vSwitch and offers carrier-grade capability and interoperability. The test results strengthen ADVA's credibility as a provider in the virtualization space.
LRTV Custom TV
Bridging the Gap Between PoCs & Deployment in NFV

2|4|16   |   31:50   |   (0) comments


Charlie Ashton of Wind River presents the keynote at Light Reading's 2020 Vision executive summit in Dublin.
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat With Mike Aquino

2|3|16   |   17:34   |   (0) comments


The former CEO of Overture Networks, Mike Aquino, discusses why truly open virtualization solutions provide service providers with the greatest choice.
Shades of Ray
MWC: Buckle Up for 5G & the IIoT

2|2|16   |   02:28   |   (0) comments


This year's Mobile World Congress looks set to be a 5G land grab and a chance to get down and dirty with the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) – but what will the 5G discussions actually be about?
LRTV Custom TV
Case Study: Building China's Next-Gen TV Networks

2|2|16   |   5:01   |   (0) comments


With over 2 billion viewers worldwide, Shenzhen Media Group is one of China's largest content producers. By partnering with Huawei and Sobey, SZMG was able to modernize media operations with the Converged News Center, a production studio that is a model for next-generation workflows.
LRTV Custom TV
Quad Channel Modulator Driver with 46 Gbaud Capability from MACOM

1|28|16   |     |   (0) comments


MACOM's MAOM-003427 is the industry's first surface-mount modulator driver with 46 Gbaud capability to support next generation 200G and 400G applications.
LRTV Custom TV
Video Infographic: Validating Cisco's NFV Infrastructure

1|26|16   |   02:24   |   (1) comment


We all know that the network of the future will be virtual, but when will virtual become a reality? This video infographic covers the four key areas in which Light Reading, in partnership with EANTC, tested Cisco's NFV infrastructure: performance, reliability, multi-service capabilities and single pane of glass management.

For the full report, see

Between the CEOs
CEO Chat With Phil McKinney, CableLabs

1|22|16   |   13:36   |   (1) comment


At CES in Las Vegas, we met with Phil McKinney, CEO of CableLabs. Phil provides an update on the rollout of DOCSIS 3.1, his views on the future of open source and how consumer interest in virtual reality could affect network traffic.
Between the CEOs
Ericsson CTO on the Changing Telecom Market

1|21|16   |   10:26   |   (0) comments


At CES 2015, CTO of Ericsson, Ulf Ewaldsson, sits down with CEO of Light Reading, Steve Saunders, to discuss the changing telecom market, the new partnership with Cisco and the future of the telecom industry.
LRTV Interviews
Ireland's Data Dream

1|21|16   |   14:31   |   (0) comments


Host In Ireland president Gary Connolly tells Light Reading's Steve Saunders about the role Ireland is playing in hosting data for the world's largest organizations.
LRTV Custom TV
Brocade Keynote: Transitioning to the New IP

1|20|16   |   27:23   |   (0) comments


At 2020 Vision in Dublin, Andrew Coward, VP of Service Provider Strategy at Brocade, presents the transition to the New IP.
Upcoming Live Events
March 10, 2016, The Cable Center, Denver, CO
April 5, 2016, The Ritz Carlton, Charlotte, NC
May 23, 2016, Austin, TX
May 24-25, 2016, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Cisco's latest VNI numbers suggest the world will be using 366.8 exabytes of data on smartphones and Internet of Things devices, up from 44.2 exabytes, in 2015.
Hot Topics
Alphabet Is Serious About Google Fiber
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 2/1/2016
Did Juniper Pay 'Peanuts' for BTI?
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 2/2/2016
Google's 5G Radio Ambitions Are Expanding
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 2/5/2016
How Data Center Outsourcing Fuels AT&T NetBond Growth
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 2/3/2016
3.5GHz Startup Gets $22M for Small Cells
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 2/2/2016
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
The former CEO of Overture Networks, Mike Aquino, discusses why truly open virtualization solutions provide service providers with the greatest choice.
As anyone who knows me will tell you, I like to think I know a fair bit about this next-gen-comms malarkey, but there's nothing like an interview with one of the ...
Animals with Phones
Happy Groundhogs for Technology Day! Click Here
Live Digital Audio

Broadband speeds are ramping up across Europe as the continent, at its own pace, follows North America towards a gigabit society. But there are many steps to take on the road to gigabit broadband availability and a number of technology options that can meet the various requirements of Europe’s high-speed fixed broadband network operators. During this radio show we will look at some of the catalysts for broadband network investments and examine the menu of technology options on offer, including vectoring and G.fast for copper plant evolution and the various deployment possibilities for FTTH/B.