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Cisco uses LISP to articulate programmability

Protocol can be used for network address virtualization; will be added to Cisco ONE

By , Network World
December 20, 2012 03:33 PM ET

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"[Members] want applications or servers to run in another location without making DNS changes, without making any routing changes," Stankiewicz says. "Our initial testing has proven that we can move a Web service application around without making those changes."

LISP is implemented the same way some installations of network virtualization are: with a separate and centralized policy and control database that maps the static endpoint ID to its fluid location. Network virtualization and its software-defined networking underpinnings usually separate and centralize a switch/router control plane from the forwarding plane of those switches and routers.

But in the case of LISP, users don't program the routers or switches; they program the mapping database.

Vinci Consulting's use of LISP enabled it to host lisp.cisco.com in its New York data center without global server load balancing or DNS name changes. Using LISP endpoint identifiers, Vinci was able to move individual host IP addresses from servers in San Jose to some B-series servers in its Cisco UCS farm in New York.

Vinci provides its own mapping and proxy infrastructure for its LISP customers, but the addresses for lisp.cisco.com are registered to the LISP beta network and use a separate infrastructure. Vinci used the same equipment to simultaneously support its own addresses and address infrastructure, and the lisp.cisco.com addresses in a separate infrastructure.

"LISP hides addresses behind a gateway," says Paul Vinciguerra, president of Vinci Consulting. "For circuit redundancy, instead of running BGP on two links we can use multiple cable modems or broadband connections to increase out bandwidth and spread across multiple carriers. That's multihoming without BGP."

LISP also allows Vinci to establish a virtual IPv6 network to aid in the migration from IPv4 to IPv6 addresses.

"We can put an IPv6 address behind the gateway even when the carrier isn't IPv6," Vinciguerra says. "It's IPv4 from our gateways to our routers, but it's IPv6 end-to-end."

Cisco plans to include LISP in its Cisco ONE onePK programmable networking schematic for routers and switches running its IOS, IOS XR and NX OS operating systems. LISP could serve as both a northbound and southbound interface and control protocol between the database and management applications, Cisco officials say. It will also interact with the CiscoONE controller programming the routers and switches.

LISP is already shipping on Cisco's ISR and ASR 1000 customer premises routers. Company officials are targeting end of 2012 for inclusion on the ASR 9000 service provider edge router, and mid-2013 for Catalyst switches. Mid- to late-2013 will see it on Nexus 3000 and 5000 series switch hardware, they say.

Jim Duffy has been covering technology for over 25 years, 21 at Network World. He also writes The Cisco Connection blog and can be reached on Twitter @Jim_Duffy.

Read more about lans & wans in Network World's LANs & WANs section.

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