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SDN blogs: Cisco software-defined networking to blame for plummeting stock

SDN bloggers discuss how Cisco SDN is causing stock to plummet and how the Cisco, VMware debate is really about ASIC versus software.

Analysts blame Cisco software-defined networking for plummeting stock

Cisco's stock took a beating during the week of November 14 after the company announced its new SDN strategy. Although Cisco CEO John Chambers blamed a faulty U.S. economy and a slowdown in orders from China and other global markets, analysts said it's most likely due to Cisco's lacking SDN strategy, wrote Business Insider's Julie Bort. Cisco's role as the "Cadillac" of network equipment providers doesn't lend itself well to the new SDN model, which focuses mainly on cutting costs through the use of software versus hardware, Bort wrote.

Bort explained that Cisco's SDN product is viewed as complex, and it requires users to discard their current Cisco network gear. This could force customers to go with competitor VMware's NSX network virtualization product, which runs on existing equipment.

Read Bort's full post on the current state of Cisco stock  and how the company's recent SDN announcement is impacting it.

Cisco ACI promotes network abstraction, programmability

Cisco's Ravi Balakrishnan looked back to his days as a software engineer to explain how Cisco's Application Centric Infrastructure  (ACI) allows for application development and implementation that is simpler and better tied to the underlying hardware infrastructure. Balakrishnan wrote that in the past, when writing code for two- and three-tier software applications that required global deployment and access by users on a company-wide WAN, he'd run into serious issues with complicated testing and the inability to get teams to agree on matching applications with associated security, services and other forms of policy implementation.

ACI solves these problems, making it easy for the applications, security and network teams to work together on service and app implementation, he said. With the new centralized controllers and Nexus 9000 switches, applications are visible and can be managed alongside their associated infrastructure and policy needs from a central point.

Balakrishnan also hailed ACI's ability to enable hardware-driven VXLAN, which he said means line-rate performance, even in a VXLAN environment.

Check out Balakrishnan's full post explaining his experiences with writing code and how Cisco ACI and Cisco Nexus 9000 switches aid in network abstraction and programmability.

How OpenFlow aids with elephant flows

Blogger Jason Edelman wrote a post responding to last week's Network Heresy blog post exploring mice and elephant flows in networks. Edelman looked at how OpenFlow could help to design a separate physical network to handle these elephant flows by outlining steps that show how OpenFlow can increase overall performance in the network. He added that the design of this OpenFlow implementation to help with elephant flows is simple and looks at the benefits of a hybrid OpenFlow network, versus a network that's solely OpenFlow-based from vSwitch to TOR to Core.

Take a look at Edelman's full outline of how OpenFlow can help with elephant flows in physical networks.

Operational performance takes on bigger roles with advancement of SDN

On the Plexxi company blog, Mike Bushong took a look at how the advancement of SDN, network virtualization, and network functions virtualization ease operational issues. It's important to determine operational performance requirements in a specific setting, he wrote, and this will dictate what type of tool works best: either a more tightly integrated tool, or one with a more generalized interface between infrastructure elements.

It's also critical that architects understand the requirements of their system -- something that's going to grow more critical over time. When it comes to management, Bushong wrote, performance has been ignored. As SDN and other similar technologies continue to advance, operational performance will take on a more important role, and knowing what the requirements are within a specific setting will be the key to success.

Read Bushong's post in its entirety, explaining the importance of operational performance and how it will grow along with SDN.

The real Cisco, VMware debate: ASIC versus software

Virtualized Geek's Keith Townsend took a look at the debate between Cisco ACI and VMware NSX in a post on his site, writing that the real competition comes down to hardware-specific application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) vs. software. Although an ASIC can perform a dedicated operation more quickly than a general-purpose piece of compute hardware, ASICs main disadvantage is that the hardware can't be easily upgraded. However, this is Cisco's primary argument for ACI: Networking, even if it's virtualized, is a very specific set of tasks.

On the other hand, VMware preaches that software is more flexible and allows users to do more. In addition, VMware states that it can partner with hardware providers to achieve performance standards for most use cases. Townsend said that although he's a believer in software, he's not completely sold on VMware NSX for network virtualization, and the real winner of this face off can only be determined once Cisco's ACI tool is in the hands of customers.

Check out Townsend's full post on his reasoning behind the ASIC versus software debate.

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