An odd little title, I think you will agree, but consider this: Wham! had a hit with “Freedom” and Sam Cooke sang “Chain Gang,” and I think you can now see my thought process. This post is going to investigate not the technical capabilities of Cisco’s Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI), but rather what its market placement will mean to the software-defined networking (SDN) industry.
Articles Tagged with Cisco
Rackspace’s future has been in question since CEO Lanham Napier stepped down in February of 2014. While Rackspace is a profitable company, it must be feeling the squeeze from larger players like Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, and Google. Amazon and Google in particular have slashed prices for their Platform as a Service (PaaS) products, leaving Rackspace struggling to compete. About a month ago, Rackspace’s shares plunged 25% in one day due to a disappointing earnings report with a tepid next-quarter outlook; its stock has lost more than half its value since January.
When you hear the term “cloud computing,” Amazon, Google, VMware, and Microsoft are the companies that you most likely think of first. Well, it seems Cisco Systems wants a spot on that list of companies known for their cloud services. Cisco announced in March that it plans to begin offering Cisco Cloud Services to its corporate customers. Cisco is fully committed to making this happen and is ready to invest more than one billion dollars over the next two years to do so. I would venture to say that Cisco is putting its money where its mouth is to enter and compete in a market that is now led by Amazon.
On April second, Cisco introduced something that seems to make a lot of sense in its new declarative-based, ACI-led world of software-defined networking: a policy mechanism. The blog post about it was pretty straightforward: it included the obligatory nods toward the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and open-source communities, defined the differences between the traditional imperative and the newer Cisco declarative models, and had snazzy graphics. Cisco laid out the core challenge clearly:
For this declarative model to work across a multi-vendor environment, to translate and map policy definition into the infrastructure, there has hitherto been no standard protocol to do that across physical/virtual switches, routers and L4-L7 network services. This vacuum has led to the development of OpFlex, a new open standard recently submitted to the IETF.
Many network virtualization products appear to be aimed at the top 10,000 customers worldwide, accounting for their price as well as their published product direction. While this is a limited and myopic view, many claim it is for the best, their reason being that network virtualization is only really needed by the very large networks. The more I think about this approach, the more I believe it is incorrect. Let us be frank here. Most networking today, within many different organizational sizes, is a hodgepodge of technologies designed to solve the same problem(s) over and over: how to get data quickly from point A to point B with minimum disruption to service.
HyTrust released version 3.5 of their virtualization security proxy and compliance tool. This tool is core to a growing ecosystem of partners and systems. HyTrust has also expanded its role within the secure hybrid cloud by covering more of what is traditionally part of the data center. HyTrust is a proxy that sits between an administrator and sensitive systems by providing both advanced role-based access controls and advanced logging. With HyTrust fronting your VMware vSphere environment, HP ILO, Cisco UCS UIM, and Nexus Switches, administrators gain a fine-grained level of control over actions, improved logging in these environments, and the ability to vault critical passwords. With HyTrust there is no need to share passwords, but there is a need for robust control of an Active Directory environment.