Cisco SDN splash coming?

Execs hint at controller, API news soon, perhaps some of the "interesting things" at Cisco Live London

Cisco appears ready to let more of its SDN cat out of the bag. During a TelePresence roundtable discussion with technology reporters this week, executives Rob Lloyd and Pankaj Patel made numerous references to an upcoming announcement around its onePK programmability architecture and the controllers being developed for it.

The executives said that in the next few weeks, Cisco will launch a roadmap of the features and services in onePK. They also made mention of multiple controllers -- plural -- specific to cloud providers, enterprises, research/academia, and for connecting physical and virtual resources typically found in data centers.

The also mentioned that Cisco will have "interesting things to say" at Cisco Live London, which happens to be in the next few weeks: Jan. 28 to Feb. 1, to be precise.

In an e-mail, a Cisco spokesperson clarified the executives' remarks about the controllers:  

There will fundamentally be only one Cisco ONE controller, however we envision that controller being extensible for different application needs and use cases, and capable of supporting different protocols.

You can expect more details in the coming month.

Lloyd, who is Cisco's president of development and sales, said the Cisco ONE controllers will have network services, management and slicing aspects. Slicing refers to the ability to segment a network into different parts to run different applications or to isolate a production network from a test environment.

The controller(s) will also be built to scale, handle policies and security, and feature "openness." Lloyd said the Cisco ONE controller(s) for cloud providers and large enterprises will support spine and leaf network architectures, and include powerful ASICs.

That's what the Cisco-funded startup Insieme Networks is said to be working on, as well as programmable switches for that controller.

With regard to onePK, the executives said to expect onePK use case examples in the second half of this year.

Meanwhile, Cisco has made an equity investment in Parallels, a developer of desktop and server virtualization software, including products that hosting and cloud service providers can deliver to SMBs. Several reports state that Cisco acquired a 1% stake in Parallels for an undisclosed sum and a seat on the Parallels board.

The investment is intended to strengthen collaboration towards between the two companies with joint development and marketing, among other initiatives.

One of Parallels' products is Desktop for Mac, which allows users to run Microsoft Windows applications on their Apple Mac computer. The company was founded in 1999 and has more than 900 employees in North America, Europe and Asia.

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