Tail-f's NCS framework -- which lets operators write their own configuration software for network gear -- now has a module called the Cisco Configuration Engine, which was announced Tuesday at Management World in Dublin. This module provides a way to configure Cisco switches without having do any programming or run any scripts.
Why this matters
It's a major step towards giving operators a multivendor control plane, a universal translator that could provision services across a heterogeneous network.
Tail-f has always said that its configuration software could head in that direction. Whether there's a viable market for such a thing remains to be seen, but the inclusion of Cisco gear would obviously be a required step. So far, NCS only talked to equipment via Netconf, an Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) protocol that Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR) has championed, so the addition of Cisco's interface represents a major broadening of NCS's reach.
Cisco, by the way, has investigated the idea of multivendor control planes too. It's got management software -- called Premier Integrated Management Experience (Prime) -- that can be customized to accommodate other vendors' gear.
Here's some of our recent coverage on control-plane issues, including the related issue of using OpenFlow to configure routing tables.
- Packet-Optical Stays Out of Control
- Interop Watch: Talking OpenFlow & 100G
- Why OpenFlow Isn't Like Active Networking
- Cisco, Cyan Think Beyond the Box
- Ethernet Management Looms
- Triggering a New Control Plane
— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading