& cplSiteName &

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        ADD A COMMENT
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   >   >>
Light Reading’s Upskill U is a FREE, interactive, online educational resource that delivers must-have education on themes that relate to the overall business transformation taking place in the communications industry.
NEXT COURSE
Wednesday, September 14, 1:00PM EDT
What Is Agile?
Kent J. McDonald, Product Owner, Agile Alliance
UPCOMING COURSE SCHEDULE
Friday, September 16, 1:00PM EDT
How to Implement Agile
Alan Bateman, Director, Agile Transformation
Wednesday, September 21, 1:00PM EDT
What Is DevOps?
Colin Kincaid, CTO, Service Provider, Cisco
Friday, September 23, 1:00PM EDT
How to Implement DevOps
,
in association with:
From The Founder
Light Reading today starts a new voyage as part of a larger Enterprise.
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.
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat: UXP Systems' Gemini Waghmare

8|26|16   |     |   (0) comments


Light Reading CEO Steve Saunders and UXP Systems CEO Gemini Waghmare discuss the strategic importance of digital identity for operators in the midst of transformation.
LRTV Custom TV
F5 Virtual Network Function Integrations With Partner Orchestration Platform

8|24|16   |   6:38   |   (0) comments


F5's Kishore Patnam, product manager for F5's service provider solutions, discusses why service providers are moving towards virtualization and how his clients are utilizing F5's solutions.
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat: Intel's Alexis Black Bjorlin

8|17|16   |   06:23   |   (0) comments


Join us for an in-depth interview between Steve Saunders of Light Reading and Alexis Black Bjorlin of Intel as they discuss the release of the company's Silicon Photonics platform, its performance, long-term prospects, customer expectations and much more.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Accelerating Telecom Digital Transformation With Nominum DNS

8|1|16   |   12:04   |   (0) comments


Light Reading's Steve Saunders gets an update from Nominum CEO Gary Messiana on how his company is helping carriers on the digital transformation journey.
LRTV Custom TV
Reinventing Operations for a Virtual, Software-Defined World

7|28|16   |   5:23   |   (0) comments


Heavy Reading Senior Analyst Jim Hodges speaks with Accenture's Larry Socher and Matt Anderson about what service providers must do to transform their business to get the benefits of SDN and NFV including: leveraging DevOps, introducing real-time OSS and implementing analytics.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Fujitsu Sales Leader Shares Lessons Learned

7|27|16   |   5:12   |   (1) comment


As Fujitsu's only female sales leader, Annie Bogue knows the importance of asking for what you want, being flexible (she's been relocated five times), keeping a meticulous calendar, 'leaning in,' working harder than everyone else around you, being aware and more.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
VeEX Test & Measurement Solutions

7|25|16   |   08:57   |   (0) comments


Cyrille Morelle, president and CEO of VeEX Inc., talks test and measurement with Light Reading's Steve Saunders at BCE 2016. This includes innovative products such as VeSion Cloud-Based platform for network monitoring; MTTplus Modular Test platform for Access, Business, Carrier Ethernet, Transport and Core services; and OPX-BOX+ for Fiber Optics.
LRTV Custom TV
VeEX: Live From BCE 2016

7|25|16   |   03:20   |   (0) comments


VeEX's Senior Director of Business Development, Perry Romano, explains how VeEX provides tools to help install, maintain, monitor and manage network infrastructure efficiently and effectively. The portfolio of products on display include the RXT-6000, MTTplus and TX300s.
LRTV Custom TV
Real-Time Telemetry & Analytics for Intelligent SDN Orchestration

7|25|16   |   03:09   |   (0) comments


Packet Design CEO Scott Sherwood discusses how real-time network telemetry and analytics are enabling a new breed of SDN orchestration applications.
From the Founder
The Russo Report: Driving Disruption

7|25|16   |   07:44   |   (2) comments


In the first episode of a four-part series, Light Reading Founder and CEO Steve Saunders and Calix President and CEO Carl Russo drive around town discussing the disruptive mega-changes in the communications industry and where hope lies for service providers to meet the escalating demands of the cloud.
LRTV Custom TV
NetScout: Maximizing Enterprise Cloud for Digital Transformation

7|20|16   |   04:53   |   (0) comments


Light Reading Editor Mitch Wagner talks to NetScout CMO Jim McNiel about maximizing the benefits of enterprise cloud and digital transformation while minimizing potential pitfalls with a proper monitoring and instrumentation strategy.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Ciena's VP Offers a Career Crash Course

7|20|16   |   4:14   |   (2) comments


How did Ciena's Vice President of Sales, Angela Finn, carve out her career path? Simple, she tells WiC. She stayed true to her company, customers and principles. She shares her advice for women on how to be authentic and credible, as well as for companies that want to make a real change to their culture and practices.
Upcoming Live Events
September 13-14, 2016, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
November 3, 2016, The Montcalm Marble Arch, London
November 30, 2016, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 1, 2016, The Westin Times Square, New York, NY
December 6-8, 2016, The Westin Excelsior, Rome
May 16-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Hot Topics
Cisco Developing 'Monica' Digital Assistant
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 8/22/2016
FirstNet: A Billion-Dollar Boondoggle?
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 8/26/2016
WiCipedia: Should Men Be Included? & Olympians Face Discrimination
Eryn Leavens, Special Features & Copy Editor, 8/26/2016
Google Fiber Can't Be Called a Failure
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 8/26/2016
Google Fiber Downsizing Not Confirmed
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 8/25/2016
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Light Reading CEO Steve Saunders and UXP Systems CEO Gemini Waghmare discuss the strategic importance of digital identity for operators in the midst of transformation.
Join us for an in-depth interview between Steve Saunders of Light Reading and Alexis Black Bjorlin of Intel as they discuss the release of the company's Silicon Photonics platform, its performance, long-term prospects, customer expectations and much more.
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

Bridging the tech skills gap is a major challenge for service providers and suppliers alike today – and the challenge is two-fold when it comes to increasing the number of women in the comms space. Level 3 Communications has made it a priority to overcome both challenges by implementing several unique programs focused on building the right candidates from within – in addition to filling the funnel by supporting STEM and other education programs. During this radio show, you’ll learn about these programs from Mary Beth McGrath, SVP of Global Talent Management at Level 3, and the best ways to bridge your own skills gap so that you are motivated and equipped for change. Plus you’ll have the chance to ask Mary Beth your questions live on the air.