Light Reading

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   >   >>
Flash Poll
From The Founder
The New IP is actually bigger even than business. Like another hugely important tech that Light Reading is digging into right now, the New IP has the potential to change the world by fundamentally advancing what it is possible for people to achieve with communications.
Que Sera Sarah
Growth of the 5G Ecosystem

3|6|15   |   1:15   |   (1) comment


Use cases and industry collaborations dominated 5G discussions during Mobile World Congress 2015. For what the road to 5G means for operators and their partners, head to the Building America's 5G Ecosystem event in New York on April 14.
LRTV Custom TV
Sonus NaaS IQ Real-Time Demo

3|6|15   |   4:03   |   (0) comments


Compass Networks Chairman and CEO Matt Bross and Ray Dolin, CEO of Sonus Networks, demonstrate their Sonus IQ SDN solution using a live video conference connection.
LRTV Custom TV
LRTV Talks Carrier WiFi & WiFi Calling With Aptilo Networks

3|6|15   |   4:53   |   (0) comments


We stopped by Aptilo Networks, a market leader in WiFi service management and offloading, to discuss the new possibilities with next-generation WiFi calling and why WiFi should be a natural part of any operator strategy.
LRTV Interviews
NGMN Chairman Outlines His 5G Vision

3|6|15   |   5:10   |   (1) comment


Bruno Jacobfeuerborn, chairman of the NGMN Alliance and Deutsche Telekom CTO, shares his thoughts on the challenges, opportunities and costs of 5G.
LRTV Interviews
In the Cloud With Telecom Italia

3|5|15   |   7:10   |   (0) comments


Light Reading CEO Steve Saunders sits down with Telecom Italia's Simone Battiferri at Mobile World Congress to discuss virtualization, agility and the economic advantages of the cloud.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
New Ways of Working

3|5|15   |   4:24   |   (0) comments


At the ICT Leaders Roundtable, hosted jointly by Light Reading and Huawei at the Hotel Renaissance in Barcelona just prior to Mobile World Congress, Hong Kong Telecom's Michael Yue explains how the transformation in its business has changed its customer relationships.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Bridging the Digital Gap

3|5|15   |   4:03   |   (0) comments


At the ICT Leaders Roundtable, hosted jointly by Light Reading and Huawei at the Hotel Renaissance in Barcelona just prior to Mobile World Congress, Boingo's Dr. Derek Peterson explains how ICT can help telcos bring the physical and virtual worlds closer together.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Making the Internet of Things Affordable

3|5|15   |   2:42   |   (0) comments


At the ICT Leaders Roundtable, hosted jointly by Light Reading and Huawei at the Hotel Renaissance in Barcelona just prior to Mobile World Congress, Telefonica's Dr. Mike Short explains how the Internet of Things demands a new low-cost approach to connectivity from telcos.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Evolution, Not Revolution

3|5|15   |   2:00   |   (0) comments


At the ICT Leaders Roundtable, hosted jointly by Light Reading and Huawei at the Hotel Renaissance in Barcelona just prior to Mobile World Congress, Heavy Reading's Patrick Donegan explains why telcos can't be too hasty in their efforts to transform themselves.
LRTV Custom TV
Management & Orchestration Enablement Strategies Required for NFV Commercial Success

3|5|15   |   6:22   |   (0) comments


NFV commercial success rests on successful service orchestration strategies which can span heterogeneous physical, virtual, legacy and next-gen networks. Network data and security integrity are additional key aspects. Nakina provides a suite of orchestratable network integrity applications built on an open, scalable MANO enablement platform.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
The Power of Five Convergences in OceanStor OS

3|4|15   |   6:24   |   (0) comments


OceanStor OS is Huawei's brand-new storage operating system. While inheriting the consistent high stability, reliability and performance from the company's previous storage products, OceanStor OS abounds in new converged storage features. Specifically, the new storage operating system achieves "five convergences" to lift storage convergence to a higher level.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
4K Brings Extreme Video Experience

3|4|15   |   8:10   |   (0) comments


4K video is a hot topic in the video industry. It will certainly bring an extreme video experience to end users. At the same time, however, it will also pose a big challenge to operators. Check out this Huawei 4K experts' discussion about how operators can achieve success in 4K video service.
Upcoming Live Events
March 17, 2015, The Cable Center, Denver, CO
April 14, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City, NY
May 12, 2015, Grand Hyatt, Denver, CO
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 8, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 10, 2015, Chicago, IL
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Net neutrality, broadband services and the current outlook on data consumption, as presented by the New Jersey Institute of Technology.
Hot Topics
Internet Pioneers Decry Title II Rules
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 3/2/2015
Wheeler: We'll Enforce Title II 'Case-By-Case'
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 3/3/2015
New CenturyLink CTO in Major Overhaul
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 3/4/2015
Verizon Takes Radio Dot to Detroit, VoLTE Overseas
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 2/27/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Chattanooga’s EPB publicly owned utility comms company has become a poster child for how to enable a local economy using next-gen networking technology. Steve Saunders, Founder of Light Reading, sits down with Harold DePriest, president and CEO of EPB, to learn how EPB is bringing big time tech to small town America.
Light Reading CEO Steve Saunders talks transformation and virtualization – including Light Reading's independent testing of the vendor's virtualization solutions – with Cisco CEO John Chambers at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
Check out Light Reading's interview with Jay Samit, the newly appointed CEO of publicly traded SeaChange International Inc. With a resume that includes Sony, EMI, and Universal, Samit brings a reputation as an entrepreneur and a disruptor to his new role at the video solutions company. Hear what he had to say about the opportunities in video, as well as the outlook for cable, telco, OTT and mobile service providers.
G'day! And welcome to an entirely new feature on Light Reading -- our weekly "CEO-to-CEO" interview.