Light Reading

Cisco Outlines an SDN Plan

Craig Matsumoto
News Analysis
Craig Matsumoto
4/19/2012
50%
50%

Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) has confirmed that Insieme -- with an "e" at the end -- is working on software-defined networking (SDN) and that the project is, indeed, another spin-in from former Cisco executives.

CEO John Chambers confirmed Insieme's existence and purpose during a press roundtable at a Cisco partner event Tuesday, Network World reported. The investment in Insieme is US$100 million so far and will max out at $750 million.

Insieme is founded by Mario Mazzola, Luca Cafiero and Prem Jain -- the same executives who did previous spin-ins Andiamo and Nuova. A spin-in is a startup that's being nurtured for Cisco to acquire; outsiders think of it as an internal project with a much bigger payout promised.

Chambers has been saying that Cisco has a plan for SDN, a set of technologies that lets operators program routers and switches more flexibly. He emphasized Tuesday that Insieme's approach will include Cisco-designed ASICs as opposed to off-the-shelf chips, keeping consistent with Cisco's belief that chip design can be a key advantage for a high-end systems vendor.

The whole thing has come together very quickly. Sources have been telling Light Reading that Insieme (originally thought to end in an "i") wasn't even created until March. Word about the company leaked immediately after that.

Why this matters
It's almost a formality, but Cisco's attention makes it official that SDN is a big deal. Whether the technology radically changes the switch and router business, or just becomes an add-on feature, won't be determined for a few years. Exactly what Cisco is working on isn't known yet, though.

The spin-in thing has been a source of some controversy, because it means some Cisco employees will be working for normal salary while others are practically guaranteed the rewards of a startup buyout.

In any event, a spokesman told Light Reading Wednesday that Insieme's work will be blended with an overall architectural plan at Cisco. In other words, Insieme is going to be working with other parts of the company and isn't purely a maverick group.

For more
It's been a big week for SDN, thanks to the Open Networking Summit:



— Craig Matsumoto, Managing Editor, Light Reading

(5)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
markberly
50%
50%
markberly,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:35:52 PM
re: Cisco Outlines an SDN Plan


Will this be OpenFlow or a ClosedFlow (Cisco specific) implementation? Remember SDN does not mean OpenFlow and OpenFlow has 'vendor extensions'...

digits
50%
50%
digits,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:35:51 PM
re: Cisco Outlines an SDN Plan


A few observations/questions:


1) Will OpenFlow have a life outside the data center?


2) How damaging could an open SDN technology be for Cisco's router revenues?


3) How damaging could a closed SDN technology be for Cisco's router revenues?


4) How damaging could an open Cisco SDN system be for Juniper?


 


Personally, I thionk Cisco knows it needs to embrace open SDN and just has to figure out the strategy that will do the least amount of damage. 

Pete Baldwin
50%
50%
Pete Baldwin,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:35:51 PM
re: Cisco Outlines an SDN Plan


Correct, SDN doesn't imply OpenFlow. We don't know yet what path Cisco will take (it's possible they themselves haven't settled on one yet) but I would bet against OpenFlow here. Cisco could try something else that's not so heavily trodden by open-source-minded types.


Whatever Insieme's doing, they've reportedly hired like mad, staffing up very quickly.

Duh!
50%
50%
Duh!,
User Rank: Light Sabre
12/5/2012 | 5:35:42 PM
re: Cisco Outlines an SDN Plan


Those of us in the industry with long memories will recall that Cisco is a grand master of the "embrace-extend-destroy" response to strategic threats.  It will be interesting to see how this plays out from that perspective.


I've come to see SDN as substitution competition for monolithic edge routers, and middle boxes like load balancers and firewalls in data center environments.  Perhaps also service provider BRAS, service routers and MSAPs.  In my view, it is more difficult to envision it scaling to the metro and core, from either a performance or value perspective. 


But then again, one could envision a squeeze play between SDN at the edge, and Packet Optical Transport at the metro and core that could seriously erode the role of routing in the network. 

Flash Poll
From The Founder
Last week I dropped in on "Hotlanta," Georgia to moderate Light Reading's inaugural DroneComm conference – a unique colloquium investigating the potential for drone communications to disrupt the world's telecom ecosystem. As you will see, it was a day of exploration and epiphany...
Between the CEOs
Affirmed Networks CEO: Digging Into NFV

5|28|15   |   40:26   |   (2) comments


Hassan Ahmed, CEO of Affirmed Networks, is making some big claims for his NFV startup. I sat down with him at the Light Reading HQ in New York City to get the skinny on what this Acton, Mass.-based startup is up to.
LRTV Documentaries
Cable Eyeing SDN for Headend, Home Uses

5|26|15   |   05:57   |   (1) comment


CableLabs is looking at virtualizing CMTS and CCAP devices in the headend, as well as in-home devices, says CableLabs' Karthik Sundaresan.
LRTV Documentaries
Verizon's Emmons: SDN Key to Cost-Effective Scaling

5|22|15   |   03:53   |   (0) comments


For Verizon and other network operators to ramp up available bandwidth cost effectively, they need to move to SDN and agree on how to do that.
LRTV Documentaries
Lack of Universal SDN a Challenge

5|21|15   |   04:51   |   (3) comments


Heavy Reading Analyst Sterling Perrin talks about how uncertainty about SDN standards and approaches may be slowing deployment.
LRTV Custom TV
Steve Vogelsang Interview: Carrier SDN

5|20|15   |   05:02   |   (0) comments


Sterling Perrin speaks to Steve Vogelsang, Alcatel-Lucent CTO for IP Routing & Transport business, about the new Carrier SDN-enabling Network Services Platform and the operator challenges it solves.
LRTV Custom TV
Carrier SDN: On-Demand Networks for an On-Demand World

5|20|15   |   20:52   |   (0) comments


Steve Vogelsang, Alcatel-Lucent CTO for IP Routing & Transport business, talks about requirements and benefits of Carrier SDN during the keynote address at the Light Reading Carrier SDN event May 2015.
LRTV Documentaries
The Security Challenge of SDN

5|19|15   |   02:52   |   (0) comments


CenturyLink VP James Feger discusses concerns that virtualization could create new vulnerabilities unless network operators build in safeguards.
LRTV Custom TV
NFV Elasticity – Highly Available VNF Scale-Out Architectures for the Mobile Edge

5|18|15   |   5:50   |   (0) comments


Peter Marek and Paul Stevens from Advantech Networks and Communications Group talk about their NFV Elasticity initiative and the company's latest platforms for deploying virtual network functions at the edge of the network. Packetarium XL and the new Versatile Server Module: 'designed to reach parts of the network that other servers cannot reach.'
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Bay Area Spark Meetup 2015

5|14|15   |   3:54   |   (0) comments


Developed in 2009, Apache Spark is a powerful open source processing engine built around speed, ease of use and sophisticated analytics. This spring, Huawei hosted a meetup for Spark developers and data scientists in Santa Clara, California. Light Reading spoke with organizers and attendees about Huawei's code contributions and long-term commitment to Spark.
LRTV Custom TV
The Transport SDN Buzz

5|12|15   |   06:01   |   (1) comment


Sterling Perrin, senior analyst at Heavy Reading, speaks with Peter Ashwood-Smith of Huawei and Guru Parulkar of ON.Lab about the evolution of transport SDN and the integration of technologies.
LRTV Custom TV
Next-Generation CCAP: Cisco cBR-8 Evolved CCAP

5|5|15   |   04:49   |   (0) comments


John Chapman, Cisco's CTO of Cable Access Business Unit and Cisco Fellow, explained the innovation design of Cisco's cBR-8, the industry's first Evolved CCAP, including DOCSIS 3.1 design from ground-up, distributed CCAP with Remote PHY and path to virtualization. Cisco's cBR-8 Evolved CCAP is the platform that will last through the transitions.
LRTV Custom TV
Meeting the Demands of Bandwidth & Service Group Growth

5|1|15   |   5:35   |   (0) comments


Jorge Salinger, Comcast's Vice President of Access Architecture, explains how DOCSIS 3.1 and multi-service CCAP can meet the demands of the bandwidth and service group growth.
Upcoming Live Events
June 8, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 10, 2015, Chicago, IL
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
October 6, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
October 6, 2015, Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Procera has gathered facts, stats and customer experience feedback from a survey of 540 users from across the globe.
Hot Topics
Charter Seals Deals for TWC, Bright House
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 5/26/2015
Eurobites: Alcatel-Lucent Trials 400G in Czech Republic
Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, 5/26/2015
Will Carriers Follow Facebook's Networking Lead?
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 5/28/2015
Charter Plans Business Services, Wireless Push
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 5/27/2015
Facebook Reinvents Data Center Networking
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 5/26/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
On May 29th 1 PM ET, Steve Saunders, founder and CEO of Light Reading, will be drilling into the "pains and gains" of NFV with Saar Gillai, SVP & GM for NFV at Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) (HP). He has defined a four-step NFV model describing a sequence of technology innovation. It's a must-read doc for any network architect looking to get to grips with their NFV migration strategy. Join us for the interview, and the chance to ask Saar your NFV questions directly!
Hassan Ahmed, CEO of Affirmed Networks, is making some big claims for his NFV startup. I sat down with him at the Light Reading HQ in New York City to get the skinny on what this Acton, Mass.-based startup is up to.
Cats with Phones