Click here to close now.

Welcome!

SDN Journal Authors: Lori MacVittie, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Yeshim Deniz

Blog Feed Post

Strategic musings on the latest Cisco/Insieme rumors

In what is easily the most detailed press coverage of what Insieme intends to launch, Jim Duffy reported facts obtained by the ubiquitous sources in an article on Network World last Friday: http://www.networkworld.com/community/blog/ciscoinsieme-40g-coming-close-10g. If you have not read the article and you have interest in Insieme, you ought to take a look.

In the article, Duffy writes:

The impact of ACI on existing Cisco Nexus products could be significant. Its VXLAN foundation could obsolete Cisco's five-year-old Fabricpath and recently-announced Dynamic Fabric Automation, yet users needing those features and LISP, OTV and MPLS will continue to require the Nexus 7000/7700 with F3 capabilities.

If you have been following the Insieme chatter for awhile, you probably heard rumors that Cisco would announce its spin-in at any of Cisco Live, VMWorld, or Interop NY. As those events came and passed, the theory was that there was some internal jockeying as competing Cisco factions squared off against one another. This was, of course, all in support of having a coherent data center switching strategy.

While I have no doubt that there are people inside Cisco who think there needs to be a coherent data center strategy, I think that a non-overlapping technical strategy is not exactly the same thing. Said differently, if I were John Chambers, it would be perfectly fine with me if I had different teams offering competing solutions to the same space.

How can that make any sense?

Cisco is a dominant incumbent. It is hard to believe that they will ride this newest wave of disruption to even higher market share. Their primary strategic imperative has to be defense. They are facing a new push from challengers buoyed by venture capital chasing the SDN dream. They are up against a handful of white box switching companies looking to do to networking what white box servers did to compute. They face increasing competition from the mainline networking guys like Brocade, HP, Dell, and Juniper. And they have to be wary of what VMWare is up to.

All of these headwinds spell tougher times for Cisco. With the various constituents competing along different axes, Cisco will have to fight through both price and innovation. 

So how do you put together a coherent strategy against all of these different foes? The answer is: you don't.

Cisco doesn't need to have a single competitive solution to all of the different threats that face them. The way to think about this is not as a data center problem looking for a solution. Instead, picture the switching market as more of a Choose Your Own Adventure book. Cisco's job is to make it so that whatever choice you make, there is a Cisco ending that you wind up with.

This means that customers looking merely to keep their networks functioning need to have an easy upgrade path. For these Cat6k customers, Cisco continues to invest in the Cat6k. If a customer is interested in dipping a toe in the Fabric Waters, FabricPath is sitting there waiting. If a customer wants to try out more of an SDN solution, Cisco is backing OpenDaylight. Whatever a customer might want to try, Cisco's strategy is along the lines of "We have that."

The first reaction from folks is that having multiple solutions to the same problem is an expensive way to compete. This is actually a true statement. But think about this slightly differently. If you were a competing networking company, would you invest in any of legacy, fabric, or SDN if it meant grabbing 10% share? The answer is an unequivocal yes. 

So why then is it surprising that Cisco would have each of these solutions to hang onto that same 10%?

I don't mean this to say that Cisco has networking always and forever in the bag, but this is why I think some of the pundits' conclusions that SDN spells the end for Cisco are a little bit lazy. Whoever knocks Cisco down in the switching space will have to take out more than just "data center". They have to take down a few flavors of data center.

But does this mean that Cisco is invulnerable?

Absolutely not. Even the largest companies with the toughest of holds on an industry are vulnerable. If Insieme teaches us nothing else, it should teach us that Cisco has realized it cannot reinvent technologies without freeing up innovation from the somewhat stifling culture that permeates the Mother Ship. To date, they have a pretty strong track record of having employees start these offshoot companies and bring back the products. But with the VC world heating up, these spin-ins are becoming increasingly expensive.

As external investments become more pricey, it reduces the margin of error. So long as the big blockbuster movie pays off, the studio can afford more. But with a more intense competitive landscape than in any time in recent memory, it will be interesting to see if the success rate takes a hit at all. 

And of course there is the broader industry trend toward heterogeneous integration. Much of the hope (and hype?) of technologies like SDN, NFV, Network Virtualization, and DevOps is predicated on an ability to unify multiple solution components through some overarching shim layer (call it orchestration or management or integration or whatever you like). That unification of disparate IT silos might ultimately spell the end for a couple of the Choose Your Own Adventure endings. As these endings disappear, there is a very real question about where those customers wind up. 

I personally believe that Cisco has been fairly crafty in keeping its strategic options open. I see the in-fighting as a bit more Machiavellian than dysfunctional. But I do think the number of endgames is narrowing. I suspect that this will force a sharpening in what has probably seemed to many as a fairly blunt strategy for the past several years. The Insieme launch on November 6 will likely be our first collective chance to get a peek at how Cisco views this whole thing.

To read more posts on this topic, check out:

The post Strategic musings on the latest Cisco/Insieme rumors appeared first on Plexxi.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Michael Bushong

The best marketing efforts leverage deep technology understanding with a highly-approachable means of communicating. Plexxi's Vice President of Marketing Michael Bushong has acquired these skills having spent 12 years at Juniper Networks where he led product management, product strategy and product marketing organizations for Juniper's flagship operating system, Junos. Michael spent the last several years at Juniper leading their SDN efforts across both service provider and enterprise markets. Prior to Juniper, Michael spent time at database supplier Sybase, and ASIC design tool companies Synopsis and Magma Design Automation. Michael's undergraduate work at the University of California Berkeley in advanced fluid mechanics and heat transfer lend new meaning to the marketing phrase "This isn't rocket science."

@CloudExpo Stories
Containers have changed the mind of IT in DevOps. They enable developers to work with dev, test, stage and production environments identically. Containers provide the right abstraction for microservices and many cloud platforms have integrated them into deployment pipelines. DevOps and Containers together help companies to achieve their business goals faster and more effectively. In his session at DevOps Summit, Ruslan Synytsky, CEO and Co-founder of Jelastic, reviewed the current landscape of...
Live Webinar with 451 Research Analyst Peter Christy. Join us on Wednesday July 22, 2015, at 10 am PT / 1 pm ET In a world where users are on the Internet and the applications are in the cloud, how do you maintain your historic SLA with your users? Peter Christy, Research Director, Networks at 451 Research, will discuss this new network paradigm, one in which there is no LAN and no WAN, and discuss what users and network administrators gain and give up when migrating to the agile world of clo...
Manufacturing has widely adopted standardized and automated processes to create designs, build them, and maintain them through their life cycle. However, many modern manufacturing systems go beyond mechanized workflows to introduce empowered workers, flexible collaboration, and rapid iteration. Such behaviors also characterize open source software development and are at the heart of DevOps culture, processes, and tooling.
SYS-CON Events announced today that JFrog, maker of Artifactory, the popular Binary Repository Manager, will exhibit at SYS-CON's @DevOpsSummit Silicon Valley, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Based in California, Israel and France, founded by longtime field-experts, JFrog, creator of Artifactory and Bintray, has provided the market with the first Binary Repository solution and a software distribution social platform.
"We got started as search consultants. On the services side of the business we have help organizations save time and save money when they hit issues that everyone more or less hits when their data grows," noted Otis Gospodnetić, Founder of Sematext, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @DevOpsSummit, held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City.
Internet of Things (IoT) will be a hybrid ecosystem of diverse devices and sensors collaborating with operational and enterprise systems to create the next big application. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Bramh Gupta, founder and CEO of robomq.io, and Fred Yatzeck, principal architect leading product development at robomq.io, discussed how choosing the right middleware and integration strategy from the get-go will enable IoT solution developers to adapt and grow with the industry, while at th...
Containers are revolutionizing the way we deploy and maintain our infrastructures, but monitoring and troubleshooting in a containerized environment can still be painful and impractical. Understanding even basic resource usage is difficult – let alone tracking network connections or malicious activity. In his session at DevOps Summit, Gianluca Borello, Sr. Software Engineer at Sysdig, will cover the current state of the art for container monitoring and visibility, including pros / cons and liv...
The last decade was about virtual machines, but the next one is about containers. Containers enable a service to run on any host at any time. Traditional tools are starting to show cracks because they were not designed for this level of application portability. Now is the time to look at new ways to deploy and manage applications at scale. In his session at @DevOpsSummit, Brian “Redbeard” Harrington, a principal architect at CoreOS, will examine how CoreOS helps teams run in production. Attende...
"We have a tagline - "Power in the API Economy." What that means is everything that is built in applications and connected applications is done through APIs," explained Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at Akana, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 16th Cloud Expo, held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City.
Malicious agents are moving faster than the speed of business. Even more worrisome, most companies are relying on legacy approaches to security that are no longer capable of meeting current threats. In the modern cloud, threat diversity is rapidly expanding, necessitating more sophisticated security protocols than those used in the past or in desktop environments. Yet companies are falling for cloud security myths that were truths at one time but have evolved out of existence.
The cloud has transformed how we think about software quality. Instead of preventing failures, we must focus on automatic recovery from failure. In other words, resilience trumps traditional quality measures. Continuous delivery models further squeeze traditional notions of quality. Remember the venerable project management Iron Triangle? Among time, scope, and cost, you can only fix two or quality will suffer. Only in today's DevOps world, continuous testing, integration, and deployment upend...
IT data is typically silo'd by the various tools in place. Unifying all the log, metric and event data in one analytics platform stops finger pointing and provides the end-to-end correlation. Logs, metrics and custom event data can be joined to tell the holistic story of your software and operations. For example, users can correlate code deploys to system performance to application error codes. In his session at DevOps Summit, Michael Demmer, VP of Engineering at Jut, will discuss how this can...
"A lot of the enterprises that have been using our systems for many years are reaching out to the cloud - the public cloud, the private cloud and hybrid," stated Reuven Harrison, CTO and Co-Founder of Tufin, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 16th Cloud Expo, held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City.
"Plutora provides release and testing environment capabilities to the enterprise," explained Dalibor Siroky, Director and Co-founder of Plutora, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @DevOpsSummit, held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City.
The most often asked question post-DevOps introduction is: “How do I get started?” There’s plenty of information on why DevOps is valid and important, but many managers still struggle with simple basics for how to initiate a DevOps program in their business. They struggle with issues related to current organizational inertia, the lack of experience on Continuous Integration/Delivery, understanding where DevOps will affect revenue and budget, etc. In their session at DevOps Summit, JP Morgenthal...
In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Simone Brunozzi, VP and Chief Technologist of Cloud Services at VMware, reviewed the changes that the cloud computing industry has gone through over the last five years and shared insights into what the next five will bring. He also chronicled the challenges enterprise companies are facing as they move to the public cloud. He delved into the "Hybrid Cloud" space and explained why every CIO should consider ‘hybrid cloud' as part of their future strategy to achi...
In the midst of the widespread popularity and adoption of cloud computing, it seems like everything is being offered “as a Service” these days: Infrastructure? Check. Platform? You bet. Software? Absolutely. Toaster? It’s only a matter of time. With service providers positioning vastly differing offerings under a generic “cloud” umbrella, it’s all too easy to get confused about what’s actually being offered. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Kevin Hazard, Director of Digital Content for SoftL...
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Red Hat's Chief Arch...
WebRTC converts the entire network into a ubiquitous communications cloud thereby connecting anytime, anywhere through any point. In his session at WebRTC Summit,, Mark Castleman, EIR at Bell Labs and Head of Future X Labs, will discuss how the transformational nature of communications is achieved through the democratizing force of WebRTC. WebRTC is doing for voice what HTML did for web content.
The time is ripe for high speed resilient software defined storage solutions with unlimited scalability. ISS has been working with the leading open source projects and developed a commercial high performance solution that is able to grow forever without performance limitations. In his session at Cloud Expo, Alex Gorbachev, President of Intelligent Systems Services Inc., shared foundation principles of Ceph architecture, as well as the design to deliver this storage to traditional SAN storage co...