Light Reading
The Cisco SDN plan is here. If you're waiting for OpenFlow, don't get your hopes up

Cisco Takes ONE Step Beyond SDN

Craig Matsumoto
News Analysis
Craig Matsumoto
6/13/2012
50%
50%

SAN DIEGO -- Cisco Live -- Application programming interfaces (APIs) are king, and OpenFlow is almost an afterthought, in the software-defined networking (SDN) strategy that Cisco is announcing Wednesday.

It's Cisco's long-awaited contribution to -- or its rebuttal against -- the SDN craze. The official unveiling is expected during a press conference here Wednesday morning.

In keeping with the hints dropped in recent weeks, Cisco is pitching a model of whole-network programmability, one that officials say goes beyond the usual definition of SDN.

As for OpenFlow, don't get your hopes up. Cisco is announcing an OpenFlow 1.0 controller aimed at universities, but it's just a proof-of-concept box -- an experiment. No commercial product is being announced at all, nor is Cisco declaring OpenFlow integration for any of its products yet.

That's the appropriate level of support for where the market is today, Cisco officials argue, because the standard lacks security and policy-based forwarding. They also don't consider it to have stabilized yet. (See OpenFlow Taps the Brakes.)

"Over time, it might change, and over time, you might get much of that functionality. But without those basic pieces being available, customers might not be in a position to deploy it," says Shashi Kiran, a senior director of market management at Cisco.

Not every switch/router vendor sees it that way. Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD), for instance, recently announced a marketing partnership with NEC Corp. (Tokyo: 6701) that includes that company's OpenFlow controller. Similar partnerships with other controller vendors are likely, Brocade Director of Product Management Keith Stewart tells Light Reading. "We do believe that controllers are important," he says. (See Brocade Sets an SDN Plan.)

But getting back to Cisco: Its news is less about controllers and more about APIs.

Hail the API
Cisco's answer to SDN is called the Open Network Environment, or ONE. (Thanks to SDN, everything is "open." It's the new "tera.") (See Ciena Opens Up to Software-Defined Networking.)

It includes three initiatives related to SDN. One is the OpenFlow controller.

Another is a new set of capabilities for the Nexus 1000v routers, including support for OpenStack cloud management and for all popular hypervisors, and the ability to run VXLAN gateways for moving virtual machines. All of these features would be used to create overlay networks -- subsets of the whole network. (Customer trials of these abilities should start in the fourth quarter, Cisco says.)

The star of ONE is the platform kit, called onePK. It's a set of Cisco-provided APIs that tap the network for state information, then let applications use that information to set policies or otherwise program the network -- a feedback loop, as Cisco describes it. The network holds a lot of information that applications can now access -- information involving what types of users are accessing applications, or which parts of the network are getting congested, for example.

Cisco contends that ONE goes beyond the point of most SDN discussions, because SDN, and OpenFlow in particular, concern the control plane and forwarding planes only. Cisco says its APIs will program the rest of the network as well: at the transport, services, and management and orchestration layers.

This is where Cisco's obsession with architectures comes into play. "You've got to have the visibility of all these components. That's where Cisco can play a huge role," says Sanjeev Mervana, director of product management for Cisco's Service Provider Group.

OnePK will target across Cisco's IOS, IOS-XR and NX-OS operating systems.

Not like the cloud
CEO John Chambers insists Cisco is not just reacting to SDN hype. Rather, he claims it's getting ahead of the market when it comes to network programmability, including SDN.

Cloud networking, by contrast, is one area where Cisco was late, Chambers noted in a Q&A session with the media Tuesday. That's why, when CTO Padmasree Warrior arrived three years ago, her first assignment was to get Cisco caught up in regard to the cloud.

SDN isn't the same story.

"This is pre-"cloud-three-years-ago" in terms of where the approach is. The difference is that we're going to lead here," Chambers said. "We're pursuing it on multiple fronts, including the spin-in option, as well as internal, as well as through acquisitions."

The spin-in is Insieme, the latest startup from a team led by Mario Mazzola, Luca Cafiero and Prem Jain, ex-Cisco executives who have founded two other spin-in startups that Cisco acquired. Insieme is intended to be the third. (See Cisco Outlines an SDN Plan.)

Cisco officials aren't commenting yet on Insieme's product plan. Come to think of it, does Insieme have a product plan yet? "It's too early to comment on that," Kiran says.

For more



— Craig Matsumoto, Managing Editor, Light Reading

(12)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
Pete Baldwin
50%
50%
Pete Baldwin,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:30:23 PM
re: Cisco Takes ONE Step Beyond SDN


One way Cisco summarizes its strategy is All Of The Above -- they're doing SDN via APIs, via controllers (like OpenFlow), and via overlay networks (engineered by the Nexus 1000v for now).

Quote from Shashi Kiran during the Cisco press conference: "We're in a position to offer the best in each of these areas, and we're in a position to break the silos between these areas."

First -- would you agree with that? And second -- doesn't the controller part of the plan seem kind of half-hearted? (Granted, Cisco has a point in saying OpenFlow is still a work-in-progress.)

torivar
50%
50%
torivar,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:30:22 PM
re: Cisco Takes ONE Step Beyond SDN


Here is the Cisco Blog post about OnePK


http://blogs.cisco.com/getyour...


There is nothing groundbreaking in what they are talking about, Juniper started doing this stuff with JunOS years ago.  


I would somewhat agree I don't think OpenFlow is flushed out enough to really be used on a large scale today, but comparing it to MS-DOS is probably a bit harsh.   OpenFlow is meant to control a forwarding plane, not manage an entire router, it's just a cog in the entire system.   OpenFlow doesn't need to do all of the things Cisco is talking about...  


 


 

jggveth
50%
50%
jggveth,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:30:21 PM
re: Cisco Takes ONE Step Beyond SDN


This vendor architecture marketing and need to bow down at the SDN alter is starting to get old. 


It's so 2 months ago. 

Sisyphus
50%
50%
Sisyphus,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:30:21 PM
re: Cisco Takes ONE Step Beyond SDN
junos's sdk(s) are far more prescriptive and don't fully cater to application architects. The fact cisco says REST and python (why no PHP?) is very web 2.0... Min you the proof is in the APIs and they don't seem to be public yet. Ultimately the power of SDN is the power of abstraction. APIs that are only understood by certified networking engineers don't take the network any further when it comes to app level relevance.
Pete Baldwin
50%
50%
Pete Baldwin,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:30:21 PM
re: Cisco Takes ONE Step Beyond SDN


You're right, dwx, and I should have mentioned that in the story. Juniper is big on the idea of using APIs to reach into the brains of network elements. Except they make it sound less gory.

Pete Baldwin
50%
50%
Pete Baldwin,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:30:20 PM
re: Cisco Takes ONE Step Beyond SDN


> Min you the proof is in the APIs and they don't seem to be public yet. Ultimately the power of SDN is the power of abstraction. APIs that are only understood by certified networking engineers don't take the network any further when it comes to app level relevance.


True. Cisco says their aim is to make it so that using the APIs doesn't require extensive network knowledge. That'll be something to watch for as this all unfolds.


Pete Baldwin
50%
50%
Pete Baldwin,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:30:20 PM
re: Cisco Takes ONE Step Beyond SDN


> This vendor architecture marketing and need to bow down at the SDN alter is starting to get old. 

<div>

&gt; It's so 2 months ago.


I think even the staunchest SDN supporters would tell you they expect a backlash. Hype will do that.

</div>
skroenig
50%
50%
skroenig,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:30:20 PM
re: Cisco Takes ONE Step Beyond SDN


According to their blogs and press releases, Cisco announced OpenFlow on their Cat3K switches not on their Nexus plus a sdn controller for research.&nbsp;if you watch thier press conf. looks like they don't think it is relevant in DCs.

Pete Baldwin
50%
50%
Pete Baldwin,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:30:19 PM
re: Cisco Takes ONE Step Beyond SDN


&gt; According to their blogs and press releases, Cisco announced OpenFlow on their Cat3K switches not on their Nexus plus a sdn controller for research.&nbsp;if you watch thier press conf. looks like they don't think it is relevant in DCs.


Yes; I wrote a follow-up to that effect, including the data-center-relevance part:


http://www.lightreading.com/document.asp?doc_id=221951

torivar
50%
50%
torivar,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:30:18 PM
re: Cisco Takes ONE Step Beyond SDN


Juniper has the Junos Space SDK which is very "web 2.0", using REST APIs. &nbsp;I think they announced it back in early 2011...&nbsp;

Page 1 / 2   >   >>
Educational Resources
sponsor supplied content
Educational Resources Archive
Flash Poll
LRTV Documentaries
Sprint's Network Evolution

7|24|14   |   14:59   |   (0) comments


Sprint's Jay Bluhm gives a keynote speech at the Big Telecom Event (BTE) about Sprint's network and services evolution strategy, including Spark.
LRTV Documentaries
BTE Keynote: The Software-Defined Operator

7|24|14   |   18:43   |   (1) comment


Deutsche Telekom's Axel Clauberg explains the concept of the software-defined operator to the Big Telecom Event (BTE) crowd.
Light Reedy
Numbers Are In: LR's 2014 Salary Survey

7|24|14   |   1:25   |   (2) comments


Our fourth annual Salary Survey paints a picture of who's hiring, firing, earning, and yearning for a change in the telecom industry.
LRTV Custom TV
Driving the Network Transformation

7|23|14   |   4:29   |   (0) comments


Intel's Sandra Rivera discusses network transformation and how Intel technologies, programs, and standards body efforts have helped the industry migration to SDN and NFV.
LRTV Custom TV
Distributed NFV-Based Business Services by RAD

7|18|14   |   5:38   |   (0) comments


With the ETSI-approved Distributed NFV PoC running in the background, RAD's CEO, Dror Bin, talks about why D-NFV makes compelling sense for service providers, and about the dollars and cents RAD is putting behind D-NFV.
LRTV Custom TV
MRV Accelerating Packet Optical Convergence

7|15|14   |   6:06   |   (0) comments


Giving you network insight to make your network smarter.
LRTV Custom TV
NFV-Enabled Ethernet for Generating New Revenues

7|15|14   |   5:49   |   (0) comments


Cyan's Planet Orchestrate allows service providers and their end-customers to activate software-based capabilities such as firewalls and encryption on top of existing Ethernet services in just minutes.
LRTV Custom TV
Symkloud NVF-Ready Video Transcoding, Big Data

7|9|14   |   3:41   |   (0) comments


Kontron and ISV partner Vantrix demonstrate high-performance video transcoding and data analytic solutions on same 2U standard platform that is ready for SDN and NFV deployments made by mobile, cable and cloud operators.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
The Evolving Role of Hybrid Video for Competitive Success

7|4|14   |   4:09   |   (0) comments


At Huawei's Global Analysts Summit in Shenzhen, China, Steven C. Hawley from TV Strategies speaks to us about the evolving role of hybrid video for competitive success.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
How CSPs Leverage Big Data in the Digital Economy

7|4|14   |   4:48   |   (2) comments


Justin van der Lande from Analysys Mason shares with us his views on how telecom operators can leverage customer asset monetization with big data. His discusses the current status of big data applications and the challenges and opportunities for telecom operators in the digital economy era.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Accelerator for Digital Business Future Oriented BSS

7|4|14   |   3:08   |   (0) comments


Mobile and internet are becoming intertwined; IT and CT are integrating; and leading CSPs have begun to transform to information service and entertainment providers. How should the BSS system evolve to enable this transformation? Karl Whitelock, an analyst at Frost & Sullivan, shares his views.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Orange Tunisia Discusses Multi-Band Antenna With EasyRET Solution

7|4|14   |   2:45   |   (0) comments


As new site acquisition becomes more difficult, Orange Tunisia has requested multi-band antenna to support UMTS and LTE innovation. Some things considered include reducing the cost of antenna maintenance and having high reliability antenna and EasyRET solution.
Upcoming Live Events!!
September 16, 2014, Santa Clara, CA
September 16, 2014, Santa Clara, CA
October 29, 2014, New York City
November 11, 2014, Atlanta, GA
December 9-10, 2014, Reykjavik, Iceland
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Infographics
Allot's latest MobileTrends Charging Report shows that value-based pricing plans are up from 35% in 2011 to 85% in 2014.
Today's Cartoon
Vacation Special Caption Competition Click Here
Latest Comment
Hot Topics
Microsoft to Axe 12,500 Ex-Nokia Employees
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 7/17/2014
The Municipal Menace?
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Utility Communications/IoT, 7/22/2014
Cisco Puts a Fog Over IoT
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 7/23/2014
GM: 10 Car Models on Road With AT&T's LTE
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 7/18/2014
Apple Earnings: Strong iPhone Sales, iPad Sales Slump, $7.8B Profit
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 7/22/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed