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.