Cariden acquisition boosts Cisco SDN technology for service providers

With Cariden's IP/MPLS planning software, Cisco's software-defined networking technology will have strong analytical capabilities for service providers.

Cisco's $140 million acquisition of IP/MPLS traffic management software vendor Cariden will boost the company's software-defined networking strategy for service provider customers.

Cariden's technology helps network operators perform real-time analysis of their network traffic and topology, and it helps service providers plan how they deploy new services on the network. This software will boost Cisco software-defined networking (SDN)-based traffic engineering capabilities for service provider customers, according to Kishore Seshadri, a director of product management with Cisco.

"For example, recently some over-the-top vendors have gotten to the point where they have applications in their data centers that can be scheduled, where they can decide when and where to place load on the network. It's a hard problem to solve without knowing what the network looks like," he said.

Better analytics for service provider customers of Cisco SDN

Incorporating these network analysis capabilities into the Cisco SDN initiative, known as Cisco Open Network Environment, will give service provider customers a powerful analytical engine for SDN-based traffic engineering.

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"We do believe that Cariden's technology will supplement our overall Open Network Environment strategy," said Shailesh Shukla, vice president and general manager of Cisco's service provider software and applications group. "We will leverage some of the APIs [application programming interfaces] coming out of the Open Network Environment effort, onePK, that our infrastructure platforms are using. That would be a linkage point for Cariden."

"It's all about the math that can extract valuable analysis of the network and then reconfigure the network dynamically," said blogger and network architect Greg Ferro. "[The Cariden acquisition] shows that [Cisco is] actually committed to SDN.

Cariden has an SDN product in development, which he calls Network Services OS (NS-OS), a three-tiered SDN control system. NS-OS consists of a service control layer, network model layer and network control layer. The service control layer is the point of interaction through which applications can request network resources. Cariden is developing a set of northbound APIs to enable SDN orchestration. The network model layer, which is based on existing Cariden software, analyzes and models the service provider network. The network controllers layer also incorporates Cariden software for collecting and controlling legacy service provider infrastructure. Cariden plans to incorporate OpenFlow control into this layer of NS-OS. According to a white paper Cariden published (.pdf) this summer, NS-OS will be generally available in 2013.

Let us know what you think about the story; email: Shamus McGillicuddy, news director.

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