Light Reading

Cisco's Insieme Doesn't Like Your SDN Model

Craig Matsumoto
News Analysis
Craig Matsumoto
6/27/2013
50%
50%

There are two widely discussed architectures in software-defined networking (SDN) -- controllers and overlays -- and Cisco Systems Inc. spin-in Insieme Networks Inc. doesn't want to go with either of them.

Insieme revealed its "vision" at Cisco Live! on Wednesday but didn't describe what it's actually doing. In talking to Light Reading, officials didn't give any further detail, but they were happy to talk about the shortcomings of both controllers and overlays.

So, it seems Insieme's technology, called the Application-Centric Infrastructure, follows neither approach. Or maybe it mixes both of them. Take your best guess.

"It isn't so much about what you distribute as an overlay or a controller, or not. It's about taking that application view or security view, whatever is important at the time. The implementation of how you do it is less the issue than the end goal," says Ish Limkakeng, an Insieme vice president.

The overlay model involves virtual networks being created and destroyed at will on top of the physical network. That's what Nicira Networks Inc. (owned by VMware Inc.) and startup Plumgrid Inc. are doing. The controller model uses a centralized element or elements to make packet-forwarding decisions; this is how OpenFlow works, and it's what Big Switch Networks and many of the incumbent equipment vendors have been pursuing.

What makes these models so 2010 is the issue of running everything in software, Insieme and Cisco claim. Some visibility is lost; you can't always tell what overlay networks are being created, for instance. And Cisco claims both approaches hit performance limitations at scale, although plenty of SDN startups and non-startups have been working through that issue.

The big problem, Cisco claims, is that these models create new operational problems. For example, virtual structures like firewalls and load balancers don't always get taken down when their jobs are over. The network gets speckled with virtual elements "that everybody's afraid to touch because no one knows which parts are no longer needed, Limkakeng says.

Whatever Insieme is doing, Limkakeng says it involves a common operational model for the entire infrastructure -- or at least, the newer, Insieme-provided part of it.

That model will extend beyond Insieme's gear through APIs, letting other vendors' hardware or software participate in the SDN architecture.

Whatever Insieme is doing, it involves running some functions in ASICs. One such feature, mentioned during Wednesday's press conference, could be the ability to move virtual machines across different network domains, even if those domains don't use the same tunneling protocols for these moves. (VMware's VXLAN versus Microsoft Corp.'s NVGRE, for instance.)

Insieme's gear will be purpose-built for "application-centricity" just as Nexus, as an alternative to the Catalyst line of Ethernet switches, was built for virtualization, Kiran says. Cisco expects Insieme, Nexus and Catalyst to co-exist as ways of addressing different customer preferences for SDN and virtualization, or the lack thereof.

For more



— Craig Matsumoto, Managing Editor, Light Reading

(6)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
JVerity
50%
50%
JVerity,
User Rank: Light Beer
6/30/2013 | 8:40:28 PM
re: Cisco's Insieme Doesn't Like Your SDN Model
Isn't Cisco the incumbent with the most to lose to one version of SDN or another? And therefore, shouldn't what it says about competitors and about SDN in general be taken with a grain (or more) of salt? Isn't there the possibility of some serious FUD being slung around?
Craig Matsumoto
50%
50%
Craig Matsumoto,
User Rank: Light Sabre
6/28/2013 | 4:05:19 PM
re: Cisco's Insieme Doesn't Like Your SDN Model
That's a great guess. I'm thinking of that plus a bunch of "fabric" trappings -- kind of like a QFabric for a world that's already aware of SDN. But a big honking switch is almost certainly part of the equation, I think.
Craig Matsumoto
50%
50%
Craig Matsumoto,
User Rank: Light Sabre
6/28/2013 | 4:04:10 PM
re: Cisco's Insieme Doesn't Like Your SDN Model
That's a lot more true than Cisco likes to admit. At least their CDN will be "open" and "standards-based" ... so they say...

Too bad the CDN acronym is already taken!
sam masud
50%
50%
sam masud,
User Rank: Light Sabre
6/28/2013 | 3:07:12 PM
re: Cisco's Insieme Doesn't Like Your SDN Model
Cisco does not believe in SDN; it believes in CDN (Cisco-defined networking).
nuker
50%
50%
nuker,
User Rank: Light Beer
6/28/2013 | 3:05:19 PM
re: Cisco's Insieme Doesn't Like Your SDN Model
If all three product lines will co-exist to address various customer preferences it will create a lot of confusion for customers. This is going to be an interesting sales challenge more than anything else.
yarn
50%
50%
yarn,
User Rank: Light Sabre
6/28/2013 | 2:47:24 PM
re: Cisco's Insieme Doesn't Like Your SDN Model
And I thought running everything on vendor-proprietary hardware was so 2010?
Reading between the lines it sounds like a big honking data center switch with L4-L7 capabilities, with an SDN spin.
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.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Shares Its Vision of the Future of Mobile Networks Innovations

2|26|15   |   2:30   |   (0) comments


Mobile broadband is changing our lives. It's reshaping the Internet, industry, and society. It allows us to freely connect with one another anytime, anywhere. At this year's Mobile World Congress, Huawei will share its latest insights and newest ideas and technologies that will shape the future of MBB. They will showcase their end-to-end MBB solutions that will ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Accelerate Digitizing, Boost Digital Business

2|26|15   |   6:14   |   (0) comments


A new digital revolution is leading us to a better connected world. Together with millions of digital partners, Huawei will help CSPs to build their digital service ecosystem and aggregate a wide variety of digital services. In this video, we find out how Huawei is going to help CSPs implement digital operations.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
The Secret Recipe to Enabling Hyper-Growth Industries

2|26|15   |   3:38   |   (0) comments


With a number of successful cases on network capability exposure, Huawei is going to share the secret recipe to enabling hyper-growth markets with a step-by-step approach.
LRTV Documentaries
BTE 2015 Is Bigger & Even Better

2|25|15   |   03:13   |   (4) comments


This year's Big Telecom Event (BTE) in Chicago is going to provide more opportunities than ever for networking, getting to grips with key industry challenges and opportunities and, equally as important, having some fun.
LRTV Interviews
Light Reading ICT Leaders Roundtable at MWC 2015

2|12|15   |   1:07   |   (2) comments


On Sunday March 1, 2015, Light Reading will host an ICT Leaders Roundtable in partnership with Huawei. At this half-day event, CIOs, analysts and researchers will discuss key industry trends like virtualization in the cloud with a specific focus on new business models. Located at the luxurious Renaissance Hotel near the Fira Barcelona, space is limited so please ...
LRTV Documentaries
Going Green in 2015

2|12|15   |   02:04   |   (0) comments


Energy efficiency is set to be an incredibly hot topic in the telecom industry this year.
LRTV Custom TV
SDN & NFV: Where Are We Going From Here?

2|11|15   |   11:27   |   (0) comments


Vitesse Semiconductor CTO Martin Nuss gives his perspective on why SDN and NFV should be tightly interconnected and how he sees the industry moving forward.
LRTV Documentaries
Time for Gigabit Europe?

2|9|15   |   01:27   |   (4) comments


Gigabit broadband networks are springing up all around the US and they'll soon become more commonplace in Europe.
LRTV Interviews
Brocade Brings New IP Vision to 2020 Vision Executive Summit

2|3|15   |   4:23   |   (0) comments


In December 2014, Light Reading gathered telecom executives in Reykjavik, Iceland to discuss their vision for high-capacity networks through the end of the decade. The intimate, interactive meeting was set against the backdrop of Iceland's spectacular natural beauty. As one of the event's founding sponsors, Brocade's Kelly Herrell shared his company's strategy at ...
LRTV Interviews
Brocade's Kelly Herrell on the New IP

2|2|15   |   12:36   |   (0) comments


In December 2014, Steve Saunders sat down with Brocade VP of Software Networking Kelly Herrell at Light Reading's 2020 Vision executive summit in Reykjavik, Iceland. They spoke about Brocade's approach to the New IP, the future of the telecom industry, and more.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Dr. Dong Sun Talks About Carriers' Digital Transformation & Huawei’s Telco OS

1|29|15   |   6:28   |   (0) comments


Dr. Dong Sun, Chief Architect of Digital Transformation Solutions at Huawei, discusses how telecom operators can become digital ecosystem enablers and deliver optimal user experiences that are in real-time, on-demand, all-online, DIY and social (ROADS).
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Chief Network Architect Talks about Network Experience & Operators’ Strategies

1|29|15   |   3:39   |   (0) comments


In the digital age, network experience has become the primary productivity especially for telecom operators. In this video, Wenshuan Dang, Huawei’s Chief Network Architect, discusses how carriers can tackle the challenge of infrastructure complexity in order to enhance business agility and improve user experience.
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
10 Weirdly Useful IoT Devices
Eryn Leavens, Copy Desk Editor, 2/24/2015
Small Cells Enabling Location Services
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 2/25/2015
MWC: Let the Madness Begin
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 2/23/2015
FCC Adopts Title II Rules
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 2/26/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
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.