Cisco Set to Detail XML Strategy
The announcement, said to be slated for Cisco's user conference in Las Vegas this week, represents the routing giant's plunge into XML processing, a Layer 7 technology that's already attracted a handful of startups and established XML players (see Telecom Startups Play in XML).
The rumored launch of Cisco's application-aware networking strategy has been circling among the XML-networking crowd, who say that's what they expect Cisco to focus on tomorrow.
Cisco officials have hinted that something's up, but they aren't revealing details. A media alert issued today says Cisco plans to "unveil new technology that adds intelligence to the network to support better business decision-making and increase productivity."
So what would the details entail? For one, there is a question of how Cisco will put XML routing into product form.
In a note published this morning, analyst Steve Kamman of CIBC World Markets says Cisco's announcement will center around an XML routing blade for the Catalyst 6500, Cisco's flagship switch, and software partnerships with the likes of IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) and SAP AG (NYSE/Frankfurt: SAP).
Separately, Kamman expects Cisco to announce a wireless and RFID module for the ISR line of service-creating routers (see Cisco Takes Apps on Board).
Previous reports note AON includes lots of home-grown technology but also incorporates an XML acceleration chip from Tarari Inc.
Better known as a data center technology, XML could become more important in telecom circles as the use of the markup language increases. This year, companies such as DataPower Technology Inc. and Solace Systems Inc. have announced XML gear targeted at the telecom space (see DataPower Flexes XML and Solace Unveils XML Message Router).
The goal behind XML switching is to handle entire messages at a time, without first distilling traffic down to IP form. Most players in this space are offering XML accelerators, which speed the processing of traffic in XML format.
Cisco's XML push is similar in philosophy to the Juniper Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: JNPR) acquisitions of Peribit Networks Inc. and Redline Networks Inc. (see Juniper Takes Two: Peribit & Redline). In both cases, the companies are pushing into higher layers of traffic processing, trying to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of data routing.
Cisco's AON will create a "choppier market environment" for the Juniper-Peribit-Redline combo and could have an effect on Layers 4 through 7 players, too, Kamman notes. In the latter camp, he names F5 Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: FFIV), Foundry Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: FDRY), Packeteer Inc. (Nasdaq: PKTR), and Radware Ltd. (Nasdaq: RDWR).
— Craig Matsumoto, Senior Editor, Light Reading