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Cisco working on an IT simplification platform

In five years, it will more easily tie applications and network services; onePK is Phase 1

By Jim Duffy on Wed, 01/16/13 - 8:37pm.

Cisco is developing a "platform" to simplify IT operations over the next five years by better aligning applications and business processes.

"We are in the process of building a platform in the next five years that will simplify how IT is delivered in our vision of potentially becoming the leader in IT," said Rob Lloyd, Cisco president of development and sales, in a TelePresence roundtable session with technology reporters. "We think the network can compress much of the complexity that exists in handing off infrastructure to applications and business process."

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The platform will provide a consistent set of network service calls, requested and delivered through northbound and southbound APIs, to streamline the capability of an application to call a network service, such as encryption or QoS, Lloyd said.

The initial phase of the platform is Cisco's onePK API set, which it introduced last year to instill programmability into the company's three strategic operating systems - IOS, IOS XR and NX-OS. The goal is to provide customers with a toolkit and a set of services so that "they don't have to buy anything else" to link applications to physical and virtual network resources in their IT environment, Lloyd said.

"It starts with onePK and services to use onePK," Lloyd said. "We're painting a very long term vision. The short term part of that is the onePK toolkit. That's Phase 1. But there's a lot more to this than just APIs. This is a big vision, this is a big step."

Cisco will release more details and specifics of onePK in a few weeks, Lloyd said.

Lloyd says Cisco views an opportunity in creating a platform that simplifies