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Cisco spins its own concept of software-defined networking

During her Interop 2012 keynote, Cisco CTO Padmasree Warrior previewed the Cisco Open Programmable Environment.

LAS VEGAS -- Using the first keynote of Interop 2012 as a bully pulpit, Cisco continued efforts to spin its own vision of software-defined networking (SDN), with Chief Technology Officer Padmasree Warrior unveiling the new Cisco Open Programmable Environment (COPE).


Warrior urged the networking industry to "think more broadly" about SDN and look beyond simple abstraction of the control and data forwarding planes to more programmable networks.


COPE will provide access to multiple layers of the network stack, including the orchestration layer, the network services layer and the transport layer, using a set of application programming interfaces (API), Warrior said. 

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While several companies, such as Embrane and Line Rate Systems, have developed SDN technologies that focus on Layer 4-7 services, Cisco appears to be taking a more expansive approach. It is clear that COPE will be central to the Cisco Connected Apps team that is currently hiring engineering talent with SDN skills to work on the development of APIs as part of a large SDN initiative.


But Warrior also reiterated the argument that Cisco had the first instantiation of SDN in the industry with its virtual switching product, the Nexus 1000v. Arista Networks might disagree, since its products have been programmable via its integration with VMware for quite some time.


Either way, countless start-ups and established networking vendors are demonstrating and debuting SDN products at Interop 2012 this week -- with most appearing to try to beat Cisco in an effort to grab early market share.


However, as Forrester Research analyst Andre Kindness mentioned at Interop 2012, most infrastructure professionals in the enterprise market have almost no understanding of the concepts of the SDN movement. Cloud providers and Web-scale companies continue to have more interest in the technology than mainstream enterprises.


View all our Interop 2012 conference coverage from Las Vegas.



Let us know what you think about the story; email: Shamus McGillicuddy, News Director

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