Cisco Announces Application-Driven Network Programmability Play
Cisco on Thursday offered its definition of software-defined networks with the Open Network Environment, or Cisco ONE. Cisco ONE aims to help customers drive innovation in the world of cloud, mobility, social networking, and video by enabling an application-driven customization of network infrastructures.
Cisco delivers ONE through a set of platform APIs, agents and controllers, and overlay network technologies. Cisco ONE works to complement current approaches to software-defined networking while encompassing the entire solution stack from transport to management and orchestration.
Cisco ONE lets customers drive programmability across multiple layers with a choice of protocols, industry standards, and usage-based deployment models. Beta trials and phased general availability are scheduled to begin the last quarter of 2012.
Marking Software-Defined Networks
We caught up with Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst at ZK Research, to get his take on Cisco's latest innovation. He told us software-defined networks have been all the rage for the last six months or so -- and we are still in the early stages.
He said Cisco had let the competition dictate the terms of engagement in some other spaces, like the application delivery controller market where F5 is dominating the mind share.
"Part of the Cisco message is really defining what software-defined networks are. They actually look at it all the way from the transport layer up to the management orchestration of virtual resources," Kerravala said. "So Cisco is drawing a line in the sand very early on and saying how to define it, setting the bar pretty high and making other vendors follow their lead or have to defend why their definition is not the same."
Cisco's OS Challenge
Cisco also announced One Platform Kit, or onePK, which provides APIs for developers across Cisco operating systems, which include Cisco IOS, IOS-XR, and NX-OS. Cisco also announced proof-of-concept controller software and proof-of-concept OpenFlow agent for Software Defined Networking research.
Cisco also said it would enable scalable virtual overlay networks for multi-tenant cloud deployments with the Cisco Nexus 1000V virtual switch. New innovations include OpenStack support, programmability, multi-hypervisor capability, and VXLAN gateway functionality.
According to Kerravala, onePK is one of the most notable parts of Cisco's announcement. He called it a "great concept" for Cisco to release development tools to allow telcos and cloud providers and universities, which are currently the primary users, to manipulate the flow of information and how the box operates under certain conditions.
"There is a bit of a challenge at Cisco in that they have so many different operating systems they have to build this developer took kit for," Kerravala said. "So for Cisco it's the right vision for that organization. I think that they are thinking along the right lines. From here, it becomes an execution challenge across the operating systems."