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Is Cisco getting squeezed by SDNs?

Some believe Cisco ONE misses the mark

By Network World Staff Writers, Network World
June 20, 2012 10:40 AM ET

Network World - The latest buzzword in the tech industry is undoubtedly software-defined networking. SDNs are touted as being able to extend virtual LANs, create security zones as well as establish Bring Your Own Device policies.

All of which makes Cisco a tad nervous. Some believe that a shift in emphasis from hardware to a software overlay would diminish Cisco's clout. But Cisco is trying to get out ahead of the curve with its Cisco ONE (Open Network Environment) architecture that would allow programmability into its gear.

Some aren't convinced this will do much good.

According to Network World blogger Art Fewell: "Cisco is trying to turn momentum to open the field of networking into its own private initiative and keep the networking industry locked into its mainframe-like state."

On the contrary, fellow Network World blogger Zeus Kerravala likes Cisco's approach. "The vision is broader than what you see from the competitive landscape. It's ambitious to say the least but it's comprehensive… The fact that Cisco's SDN strategy spans all of its major operating systems also means Cisco ONE will appeal to almost all of Cisco's massive customer base. Cisco can start customers down the path now and expand it as the solution matures."

OpenFlow and SDN’s real value comes from what it enables. Network virtualization allows enterprises to share a common physical infrastructure with different attributes among multiple organizations, says Karl May, CEO of Vello Systems, a maker of OpenFlow and SDN cloud switches for enterprises.

With SDNs, customers build an abstraction of the physical infrastructure to use it for a combination of production and test networks.

Become a Network World Insider (free registration required) to download this pdf. You can also find out the strategies of Brocade and HP with regards to software-defined networking.

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

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