Showing posts with label Cisco. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cisco. Show all posts

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Cisco releases Application Centric Infrastructure 3.0

Cisco released version 3.0 of its Application Centric Infrastructure (Cisco ACI) software-defined networking (SDN) solution for data centers and enterprise clouds. The latest software adds key features for multi-site scalability, container integration, and enhanced security.

The new ACI 3.0 features include:

  • Multi-site Management: Customers can seamlessly connect and manage multiple ACI fabrics that are geographically distributed to improve availability by isolating fault domains, and provide a global view of network policy through a single management portal. This greatly simplifies disaster recovery and the ability to scale out applications.
  • Kubernetes Integration: Customers can deploy their workloads as micro-services in containers, define ACI network policy for these through Kubernetes, and get unified networking constructs for containers, virtual machines, and bare-metal. This brings the same level of deep integration to containers ACI has had with numerous hypervisors.
  • Improved Operational Flexibility and Visibility: The new Next Gen ACI User Interface improves usability with new consistent layouts and simplified topology views, and troubleshooting wizards. In addition, ACI now includes graceful insertion and removal, support for mixed operating systems and quota management, and latency measurements across fabric end points for troubleshooting.
  • Security: ACI 3.0 delivers new capabilities to protect networks by mitigating attacks such as IP/MAC spoofing with First Hop Security integration, automatically authenticating workloads in-band and placing them in trusted security groups, and support for granular policy enforcement for end points within the same security group.

“As our customers shift to multi-cloud strategies, they are seeking ways to simplify the management and scalability of their environments,” said Ish Limkakeng, senior vice president for data center networking at Cisco.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Telenor and Cisco introduce WorkingGroupTwo

Telenor and Cisco are launching a new business entity called “WorkingGroupTwo” (WG2) that will offer mobile operators a cloud solutions platform.

WG2 will offer a mobile-core-network as-a-service and as-a-platform supporting IoT and other industry verticals.

Erlend Prestgard has been appointed CEO of “WorkingGroupTwo” and Birger Magnus has been appointed Chairman of the Board. The Board of Directors and employees own about 5% of the company, with Telenor and Digital Alpha LLC owning the remaining shares in equal proportion.

“The “WorkingGroupTwo” platform is a Telenor innovation. I am proud that we as a company are able to leverage new technologies to make a pioneering telco platform with the potential of bringing the whole industry forward. We are firmly committed to supporting “WorkingGroupTwo”, and want to give the entity the freedom to unleash wider industry eco-system dynamics. For this reason we have also set up a strong global partnership with Cisco,” said Sigve Brekke, CEO of Telenor Group.

“Cisco’s partnership with Telenor to launch “WorkingGroupTwo” demonstrates how we are driving positive change for our customers,” said Chuck Robbins, CEO of Cisco.  “Our joint efforts will help mobile operators automate the delivery of mobile cloud services and deliver innovation at a faster pace.”

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Uniserver deploys Cisco Virtual Topology System in its data centre

Uniserver, a Netherlands-based cloud hosting provider, has deployed Cisco Virtual Topology System (VTS), a standards-based, open software-overlay management and provisioning system for network provisioning of its virtual and physical infrastructure. The goal is greater programmability and accelerated provisioning of its data center network fabric.

Cisco said its Virtual Topology System brings increased simplicity and a repeatable process for high-quality, error-free provisioning. It supports multivendor infrastructure and operational systems like OpenStack and vCenter.

“Our focus is to help service providers such as Uniserver, as well as enterprise operations teams, reduce network configuration complexity and enhance the agility of their multi-tenant cloud environments,” said Jonathan Davidson, SVP/GM Service Provider Networking, Cisco. “This is in line with their mission of simplifying complex IT, and we are pleased to help enable Uniserver provide quality of service to its partners through the adoption of this technology. We are committed to continuing to support them in their network transformation journey.”

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Cisco completes acquisition of Springpath

Cisco completed its previously-announced acquisition of Springpath, a start-up specializing in hyperconvergence software for $320 million in cash and assumed equity awards.

Springpath, which is based in Sunnyvale, California, has developed a distributed file system purpose-built for hyperconvergence that enables server-based storage systems. Cisco and Springpath have worked together since early 2016 to launch HyperFlex, a fully integrated hyperconverged infrastructure system.

Cisco said the acquisition will allow it to continue to deliver next-generation data center innovation to its customers.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

CenturyLink packages cloud-managed Business Wi-Fi from Cisco Meraki

CenturyLink is leveraging the Cisco Meraki cloud-managed Wi-Fi solution to offer a bundled service with businesses with up to 250 employees.

CenturyLink Business Wi-Fi provides a secure Wi-Fi with real-time monitoring and analytics for companies that would prefer not to manage their wireless network on their own.

CenturyLink said its Business Wi-Fi provides an enterprise-grade solution with fast deployment, simple administration and increased visibility into network users, all from a single provider. In addition to network transport, CenturyLink provides Cisco Meraki access points and software licenses (eight access points per location for up to five locations), access to Meraki's cloud-based dashboard and 24/7 operational support.

Monday, September 18, 2017

John Chambers to step down as chairman of Cisco

John Chambers will step down as Executive Chairman of the Cisco Board of Directors in December and he will not stand for re-election to the board of directors.

Cisco's Board plans appoint Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins to serve as its next chairman. Chambers will be given the honorary title of Chairman Emeritus.

Chambers served as CEO of Cisco from January 1995 to July 26, 2015, and as Executive Chairman since then.  Chuck Robbins has served as CEO since July 26, 2015.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Cisco to acquire Springpath for hyperconvergence software - $320m

Cisco agreed to acquire Springpath, a start-up specializing in hyperconvergence software for $320 million in cash and assumed equity awards.

Springpath, which is based in Sunnyvale, California, has developed a distributed file system purpose-built for hyperconvergence that enables server-based storage systems. Cisco and Springpath have worked together since early 2016 to launch HyperFlex, a fully integrated hyperconverged infrastructure system.

Cisco said the acquisition will allow it to continue to deliver next-generation data center innovation to its customers.

"This acquisition is a meaningful addition to our data center portfolio and aligns with our overall transition to providing more software-centric solutions," said Rob Salvagno, Cisco vice president, Corporate Business Development. "Springpath's file system technology was built specifically for hyperconvergence, which we believe will deliver sustainable differentiation in this fast-growing segment. I'm excited to be able to provide our customers and partners with the simplicity and agility they need in data center innovation."

http://www.springpath.com
http://www.cisco.com

  • Springpath was co-founded by Mallik Mahalingam and Krishna Yadappanavar, both whom previously held senior engineering roles at VMware.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Cisco posts quarterly revenue of $12.1 billion, down 4% yoy

Cisco reported fourth quarter revenue of $12.1 billion, down 4% from $12.6 billion from the same time last year. Net income (GAAP) was $2.4 billion or $0.48 per share, down 14% from $2.8 billion a year ago.

For FY 2017, Cisco's total revenue amounted to $48.0 billion, a decrease of 2%. On a GAAP basis, net income was $9.6 billion and EPS was $1.90.

"We had another strong quarter and a transformative year. We made tremendous progress transitioning our business to more software and recurring revenue and delivered on our commitment to accelerate innovation in our core and across the portfolio," said Chuck Robbins, CEO, Cisco. "The network has never been more critical to business success and we are building the network of the future."

Some highlights


  • Product revenue was down 5% and service revenue up 1%. 
  • 31% of total revenue was from recurring offers, up 4 percentage points from the fourth quarter of fiscal 2016. 
  • Revenue by geographic segment was: Americas down 6%, EMEA down 6%, and APJC up 6%. 
  • Product revenue performance was led by Wireless and Security which increased 5% and 3%, respectively. NGN Routing and Switching revenue each decreased 9%. Service Provider Video, Data Center, and Collaboration revenue decreased 10%, 4%, and 3%, respectively.
  • On a GAAP basis, total gross margin and product gross margin were 62.2% and 60.3%, respectively. 

https://newsroom.cisco.com/press-release-content?type=webcontent&articleId=1873317

Cisco's intent-based, intuitive networking launch – Part 2


An interesting aspect of Cisco's new strategic direction with its Intent-based enterprise networking is that the company has made a major bet on developing proprietary ASICs rather than relying on merchant Ethernet switching silicon from Broadcom, Cavium, Barefoot, Innovium or other merchant semiconductor suppliers. There are a number of reasons why the company may have chosen this approach. First, with Broadcom dominating the market for Ethernet...

Cisco's intent-based, intuitive networking launch – Part 1


This week Cisco outlined its vision for Intent-based Networking. Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins described the unveiling as the most significant announcement from the company in perhaps the last five years and as the 'foundation for networking' for the next 30 years. So, what exactly is it? Simply put, it is a vision. It is not a technology nor a network architecture, it is a vision of machine learning that will be applied to make networks more agile,...


Monday, August 7, 2017

Cisco completes acquisition of Viptela for $610m

Cisco announced that it has completed the acquisition of Viptela, a privately held start-up company focused on software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) technology based in San Jose, California, for approximately $610 million in cash and assumed equity awards under an agreement originally announced in May, 2017.

Viptela has developed a secure overlay fabric for SD-WAN, cloud onramp and Network-as-a-Service (NaaS) applications for enterprise clients. The Viptela fabric is designed to enable separation of control, data, management and orchestration layers and integrates routing, security and policy controls and application awareness across all elements in the system. A key feature of the solution is integrated authentication, encryption, segmentation and access controls.

Viptela has announced major deployments of its fabric solution with customers including Verizon, Singtel and NTTPC of Japan.

Cisco noted that it already offers the software-based Cisco Intelligent WAN (IWAN) and Meraki SD-WAN solutions, with the Viptela acquisition intended to enable it to accelerate the development of next generation SD-WAN solutions. The Viptela team will join Cisco's Enterprise Routing team within the Networking and Security Business, led by SVP David Goeckeler.


* In June, Cisco unveiled its 'intent-based' networking solutions that are designed to provide an intuitive network able to continuously learn and adapt and automate and protect processes and services to provide organisations with an intelligent and secure platform for digital transformation. The acquisition of Viptela will support its strategic transition towards a software-centric, subscription-led networking model.

* Cisco stated that it plans to commit significant engineering resources to deliver next-generation SD-WAN solutions based on Viptela's technology. Cisco will combine Viptela's cloud-first network management, orchestration and overlay technologies with its existing enterprise routing platforms and solutions.

* Cisco, which was an investor in Viptela, entered into an agreement to acquire the company for $610 million from equity investors including Redline Captial, Northgate Capital and Sequoia Capital. The company was founded in 2012 and had raised total funding of approximately $108 million in four rounds, including $75 million in a Series C funding round announced in May 2016.

Friday, August 4, 2017

SoftBank deploys Cisco NCS with Segment Routing

Cisco Systems GK announced that SoftBank of Japan has adopted the Cisco Network Convergence System 5500 Series to enable high-density 100 Gigabit Ethernet routing and Segment Routing technology to optimise network operations for its next-generation mobile IP core network.

Cisco noted that mobile carriers such as SoftBank not only face the need to respond to the demands of user growth by delivering higher communication speeds, lower latency and dynamic provisioning that will be enabled by 5G networks, but also to deliver new mobile services to home and enterprise markets. SoftBank is planning to upgrade and expand its existing equipment that supports mobile Internet traffic, which is forecast to increase at a rate of 50% per year.

As part of this initiative, SoftBank has upgraded the core routers used in its existing network to the Cisco NCS 5500 Series, which is capable of supporting 576 x 100 Gigabit Ethernet ports. This capacity will enable the company to build a next-generation mobile IP core network able to meet the bandwidth demands from the deployment of new services such as IoT and mobile video.

Cisco noted that the next-generation mobile IP core network is able to support high-traffic volume and to reduce fault recovery time to help improve the processes for ensuring the high reliability of services in the event a fault occurs.

In addition, SoftBank has become the first company in Japan to introduce Segment Routing technology provided by Cisco, which is designed to simplify and optimise the mobile IP core network and facilitate the automation of network operations.

Cisco's Segment Routing TI-LFA capability is designed to reduce fault recovery time while also improving reliability and redundancy. This can enable the provisioning of a more reliable mobile network while delivering an enhanced user experience for SoftBank's consumer and corporate customers.

Through the deployment, SoftBank is aiming to become more competitive by enabling the rapid, flexible deployment of reliable services leveraging a core network that can support traffic demand while providing low operating costs.

Cisco noted that according to its recent Mobile Visual Networking Index Forecast (VNI) 2016-21, global mobile data traffic will increase seven-fold to 1.4 zettabytes over the period, driven by increasing mobile users, smartphones and the Internet of Things (IoT), higher network speeds and rising mobile video consumption.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Cisco observations – Moving towards software on a subscription model

Will large enterprises and Service Providers customers embrace Cisco's high-performance networking platforms built with its own ASICs and OSx, or continue to push for white box platforms based on merchant silicon and fully open software? Will the global ransomware outbreaks of the past two months play to Cisco's advantage as enterprises re-evaluate their security posture and perhaps adopt a more core network-centric approach?

Cisco provided an update on its strategic vision at its recent Cisco Live! customer event in Las Vegas. Materials from this event can be found on the company's Investor Relations web page.

Cisco currently is in an enviable market position. It holds the leading market share in at least 10 market categories; it has 20,000 people working in sales and perhaps 60,000 erstwhile partners around the world. For its most recent fiscal quarter, ended April 29th, Cisco reported revenue of $11.9 billion, GAAP net income of $2.5 billion, or 50c per share, and non-GAAP net income of $3.0 billion, or 60c per share. Sales fell by 1% compared to a year earlier but the company deliver a 5% growth in net income, thanks to cost-cutting measures. Cisco's balance sheet most recently showed $125.950 billion in cash, cash equivalents, and other assets, clearly a mountain of gold that could be used for strategic acquisitions or simply returned to shareholders. Cisco's market cap stands at $160.4 billion. Compare all of this to its nearest rivals, especially the big European concerns, and Cisco’s position is quite strong.

Mergers and acquisitions strategy

Cisco's management perpetually faces the question of execution in a market that overall has been pretty flat and declining in many sectors and geographies. With a gross margin consistently in the mid-60 percentage range, the company is vulnerable to lower cost competitors. Huawei and ZTE, in particular, deliver highly competitive products at lower cost. Cisco is also known for making a lot of acquisitions. Over the years some have been hugely successful for the company, such as the Ethernet switching acquisitions (Crescendo, Grand Junction and Kalpana), while others were huge failures (e.g. Scientific Atlanta).

During briefings at Cisco Live!, Chuck Robbins said the company remains open to strategic mergers and acquisitions that are capable of augmenting and accelerating its core innovation. The company has 160 staff members dedicated to M&A integration. Over the past four years, 80% of the acquisitions have been software related- this is a trend likely to continue. The Meraki and Sourcefire acquisitions were called out for delivering double digit returns.

The differentiated vision of intent-based networking

Cisco new intent-based networking vision, which includes a new DNA Center for orchestrating control over networking traffic, the new ASIC-powered Catalyst 9000 series switches, and a unique ability to analyse encrypted traffic, is already being tested by 75 global organisations. Naturally, Cisco finds measurable improvements for customers testing the new solution, claiming: a 67% time savings for network provisioning, 48% reduced security breach impact, 61% reduced opex. It is too early to see how premium the customers are willing to pay for better management capabilities.

Better security is perhaps the stronger argument for Cisco to make for its silicon-differentiated platforms. In his talk to the investment community, David Goeckeler SVP/GM, Networking and Security Business, argued forcefully that effective security requires a network that can find threats, containing threats, and delivering automated remediation. This depends on leveraging network data, a resource that new ASIC-driven switching platforms can deliver in abundance. When you put together deep analytics and machine learning in an automated policy enforcement system, you have the fundamentals for intent-based infrastructure. Software-defined access can be used to limit the lateral movement for threats. Automated responses mean that human management of network is replaced.

Moving to a recurring revenue model

Perhaps the biggest change in direction for Cisco is that it is actively moving existing offers to subscriptions. In other words, software that used to be consumed on a perpetual basis will now become recurring revenue. Already, more than $2 billion of revenue that could have been recognised under the old model is not being collected on a recurring licensing basis. Over the FY17-20 timeframe, Cisco expects this to grow to 2-3% of total revenue. When factoring in other services already on a recurring model, such as Spark/WebEx, Meraki software, Jasper and Cisco ONE, the total percentage of recurring revenue is expected to grow from 26% in FY 14 to 37% in FY20. The security offers are expected to drive the subscription business. The net effect is improved predictability of future revenue.

Financial guidance for the next 3-5 years

Given its size, Cisco can hardly expect to grow much faster than the market. Overall, the updated financial guidance calls for revenue growth of 1-3%, stable margins, and EPS growth in the mid-single digits. Cisco said it aims to return over 50% of free cash flow to shareholders. Over the past ten years this has been the case. Approximately 50% of cash has been used for share repurchase and about 15% for dividend payments.

The 3-5-year growth forecast is also broken down by segments:

Technology;                Revenue growth

1.  Infrastructure platforms                 flat

2.  Security                              low to mid-teens

3.  Applications                       high single digits to low teens

4.  Services                              mid-single digits


To summarise, Cisco is betting that differentiated innovation will pay off because customers value the deeply embedded security and automation. Though revenues will only grow in the 1-3% range, earning per share should continue to expand as the company moves to a recurring subscription model for up to 37% of its revenue. Cisco promises to return 50% or more of free cash flow to shareholders, and the probability of further mergers and acquisitions remains strong, especially for networking software and service start-ups.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

TIM selects Cisco for optical packet metro network upgrade

Italy's TIM announced it is expanding its network transformation agreement with Cisco to renew its OPM (optical packet metro) infrastructure, and will introduce Cisco's ASR 9000 (Aggregation Services Router) solution to modernise its OPM network.

TIM's optical metro network collects and aggregates accesses to fixed, mobile and company lines, and by deploying the Cisco ASR 9000 the operator aims to increase the speed and efficiency of the infrastructure to support growing video and data traffic by integrating technologies that will also facilitate the adoption of 5G in the future.

Under the agreement, TIM and Cisco have launched a project designed to transform TIM's OPM network in Italy. Cisco noted that the project represents a key stage in the evolution of TIM's IP network via the deployment of new automation mechanisms and software defined network (SDN) technology that will help to deliver greater operational efficiency and enable new business models, as well as supporting the adoption of 5G technology.

When completed, the project will enable TIM to more effectively advance the digitisation of its fixed and mobile services for consumer, business and wholesale customers by simplifying and optimising operational models, delivering higher quality IP traffic transport and more bandwidth via the provision of 100 Gbit/s IP connectivity to metropolitan areas.

TIM noted that the investment is part of its 3-year, Euro 5 billion network modernisation plan for the period 2017-19 designed to speed the implementation of national ultra-broadband (fibre and 4G) coverage, with the goal of extending such coverage to 99% of fixed-network homes and over 99% of the population with 4G by the end of 2019.



* TIM recently announced that it had enabled upload speeds of up to 75 Mbit/s for all mobile customers, and that from July this year would offer 700 Mbit/s download speeds, over its 4.5G network in Turin, Milan, Rome, Naples, Palermo, Taormina and Giardini-Naxos. In addition, the company announced plans to launch a new 1,000 Mbit/s fixed-line service in 70 Italian municipalities.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Cisco – fog computing power combined with IoT management

by James E. Carroll

This week brings the 28th occurrence of Cisco Live!, the company's big technology and customer showcase (previously known as Networkers) that brings thousands of attendees to the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas. The big news was unveiled at a press conference last week in San Francisco, with Cisco seeking to 'reinvent networking' by applying machine learning to new network platforms powered by custom ASICs and secured via the Cisco Talos threat management platform. With this big news already out the door, the Cisco Live! event can focus on other topics including the company’s budding partnerships with Apple and Ericsson, as well as the theme of edge computing, which is gaining momentum across the industry.

Bringing compute power to the edge

As the number of connected devices grows, the flow of data from the edge of the network to the core increases. In his Cisco Live! key note, company CEO Chuck Robbins observed that we are already in a multi-cloud world. In the IoT context, this is good because data will flow from the edge to multiple cores, thus avoiding the problem of single point for concentration. Another increasingly popular term for this is fog computing. The recently published Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) predicts that M2M connections will represent 46% of connected devices by 2020.

There is the possibility to distribute general purpose computing resources at the edge of the network. By processing data at the edge, we can determine which data needs to be transported to a core data centre and which data can be acted on locally. Once it has been determined which data should be sent to the core, there is a need to transport it securely. Devices need to be managed and traffic analysed to understand the impact on network performance. Cisco already provides these capabilities through its edge devices and with its Cisco Jasper platform. The idea is to expand the Jasper franchise, thus building a business with predictable and recurring revenue in a market segment with extremely fast growth.

The Jasper connection and Edge processing

In February 2016, Cisco acquired Jasper Technologies for $1.4 billion in cash and assumed equity awards. The deal was finalised the following month. The Santa Clara, California-based start-up, headed by Jahangir Mohammed, a serial entrepreneur known for his previous company Kineto Wireless, developed a cloud-based Software as a Service (SaaS) platform to manage connected devices. At the time the Cisco acquisition was announced, Jasper claimed to have 3,500 enterprise customers and 27 service provider customers. Jasper had been working with AT&T on connected device management since at least 2009.

Currently, Cisco Jasper claims over 11,000 enterprises and 43 million devices using its IoT management platform. One notable customer is Amazon which manages Kindle devices using Cisco Jasper. Listed service provider customers include AT&T, Telefonica, Singtel, KT, China Unicom, NTT Docomo, VimpleCom, Vivo, Bell, Telus, Rogers, Comcast, Optus, Telstra, Etisalat, TIM, O2, and many others. In the automotive sector, Cisco Jasper is used by a number of manufacturers, including Ford, GM, Subaru, and VW. Several of these players, notably GM, are now including connected car service as a basic feature for many models, which means tens of thousands of new connections every month for a single customer. At Cisco Live!, Chuck Robbins said the 1.7 million new devices are being managed by Cisco Jasper every month. In fact, Cisco now claims this to be the world’s largest IoT connectivity management platform.

The idea of actionable intelligence at the network edge is a powerful one. One example cited at Cisco Live is Chevron, the multinational energy company based in San Ramon, California. As one of the largest oil companies worldwide, Chevron has drilling operations in locations across the west coast of North America, the U.S. gulf coast, Australia, Nigeria, Angola, Kazakhstan, and other locations. In the U.S., Chevron operates approximately 11,000 oil and natural gas wells. Its $43 billion Gorgon Gas Project in rural Western Australia is the largest liquified natural gas (LNG) initiative in the world. Drilling is extremely data intensive activity, and rigs and wells are being equipped with every possible type of automated sensors, resulting in a tremendous flow of data. Previously, achieving actionable intelligence from a rig out in the field typically took 2 weeks. With its IoT edge processing, Cisco said it is able cut actionable intelligence response time to under 2 seconds.

Chevron is an interesting example of edge computing which could be quite powerful in many vertical applications. For service providers, although edge processing might reduce the total volume of data traversing the network, it makes the flow of sensor data more predictable. It also makes the network more intelligent and therefore of higher value to the end customer. Service providers working on IoT will probably look to follow this model. Cisco says that by transforming IoT sensor data, fog applications like this can also benefit its ecosystem partners. The distributed IoT network can function as the compute environment for fog applications. Other examples of deployed fog applications include site asset management, energy monitoring, and smart parking.

The first evolution of Cisco Jasper

Fifteen months after completing the Jasper acquisition, Cisco is announcing the first upgrade to the platform under its ownership. Cisco Jasper Control Center 7.0 focuses on lifecycle automation, analytics, security, cost management and back-end integration. Enhancements in this release include better tools for traffic segmentation to allow deeper revenue and service models, as well tools to prevent attacks at the DNS layer. It also offers:

·         Advanced capabilities via a new tier of the platform – Control Center Advanced – which caters to customers with more sophisticated deployments that need greater capabilities, including advanced security solutions, automation and analytics.

·         Premium services, a threat protection and smart security (TPSS) service that provides an IoT-specific solution to protect against malware and other cybersecurity threats built on Cisco Umbrella; traffic segmentation provides a new solution to support different types of revenue generation models, with Cisco Jasper service providers can customize premium services to meet their customers’ specific needs.

·         LPWAN Support: Control Center 7. extends the platform's capabilities, including the platform's global reach and scale via support for cellular networks to low power devices via support for multiple LPWAN technologies including NB-IoT and LTE-M.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Cisco to Acquire Observable Networks

Cisco announced plans to acquire Observable Networks, a privately held software developer based in St. Louis. Financial ters were not disclosed.

Observable Networks provides cloud-native network forensics security applications delivered as a service. The technology is based on dynamic behavioral modeling of all devices on the network.

Observable Network said its solutions provide security analysts with the ability to gain real-time situational awareness of all users, devices and traffic on the network, whether in the data center or the cloud. Its cloud-native machine learning techniques for device modeling identifies insider and external threats faster and more accurately. This design supports cloud environments and enables turn-key activation for customers using Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure.

Cisco said the acquisition will extend its Stealthwatch solution into the cloud with highly scalable behavior analytics and comprehensive visibility.

https://blogs.cisco.com/news/cisco-announces-cloud-security-news

O2 Picks Cisco for free Wi-Fi in the City of London

O2 has selected Cisco to roll-out free, public access Wi-Fi in the City of London, replacing the current service currently provided by The Cloud. Activation is expected this autumn. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Cisco will deploy its Aironet 1560 Series outdoor access point technology to offer internet connectivity to more than 400,000 people working in the Square Mile.

Cornerstone Telecommunication Infrastructure (CTIL) and the City of London Corporation are overseeing the project.

"Continued investment in infrastructure is essential to maintain the UK's reputation as a digital leader and we needed a partner that would be able to provide cutting-edge technology to help us realise this. We're pleased to be working with Cisco to support this initiative using its robust, speedy and seamless technology to create a Wi-Fi network and enable the capital to help retain its position as a leading global centre" said Derek McManus, Chief Operating Officer, O2.

http://www.cisco.com

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Cisco Launches its Latest Unified Computing System

Cisco launched a new generation of servers and software based on Intel's latest Xeon Scalable Platform processors and a unique Cisco system-level vision for the future of IT.

The Cisco Unified Computing System (Cisco UCS) M5 generation seeks to extend the power and simplicity of unified computing for data-intensive workloads, applications at the edge, and the next generation of distributed application architectures. The latest UCS Director 6.5 management software allows data center professionals to complete 80% of operational tasks from a single console. A Workload Optimization Manager, which is powered by Turbonomic and which is deeply integrated into the UCS hardware, uses intent-based analytics to continuously match workload demand to infrastructure supply across on premise and multi-cloud environments. The company says the Cisco UCS can reduce administration and management costs by up to 63 percent while accelerating the delivery of new application services by up to 83 percent.

Leveraging the new Intel Xeon Scalable processors, UCS M5 servers supports up to double the memory capacity of previous systems. Cisco said its lab testing reveals that UCS M5 servers deliver up to 86% higher performance over the previous generation of UCS.

The M5 generation of servers include:


  • Cisco UCS B200 M5 Blade Server: a half-width blade form factor for traditional multi-tier or distributed applications. It supports two GPUs.
  • Cisco UCS B480 M5 Blade Server: for workloads ranging from memory-intensive, mission-critical enterprise applications to distributed database virtualized workloads.
  • Cisco UCS C220 M5 Rack Server: aa high-density 2-socket rack server that delivers performance and efficiency for a wide range of workloads, including virtualization, collaboration, and bare-metal applications.
  • Cisco UCS C240 M5 Rack Server: a storage and I/O optimized enterprise-class rack server for big data analytics, software-defined storage and bare metal applications.
  • Cisco UCS C480 M5 Rack Server: featuring a modular architecture for flexible technology refreshes, the C480 delivers scale-up extensibility for in-memory databases, big data analytics, virtualization, VDI and bare metal applications. GPU support has tripled—with up to six supported—as has disk capacity, which now supports 32 drives.

“As organizations strive to become more competitive through real-time analytics and faster decision-making, new thinking around data center infrastructure is required,” said Liz Centoni, senior vice president and general manager, Cisco Computing Systems Product Group. “Our unique, unified system architecture delivers the agility our customers need to create a cloud experience on-prem, so that our new line of servers simply means faster applications with fewer complications.”

http://www.cisco.com

Friday, July 7, 2017

Cisco's intent-based, intuitive networking launch – Part 1

This week Cisco outlined its vision for Intent-based Networking. Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins described the unveiling as the most significant announcement from the company in perhaps the last five years and as the 'foundation for networking' for the next 30 years. So, what exactly is it?

Simply put, it is a vision. It is not a technology nor a network architecture, it is a vision of machine learning that will be applied to make networks more agile, more efficient and more secure. It leverages Cisco's Digital Network Architecture (DNA), which extends its data centre-based, policy-driven Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) technology throughout the entire network: from campus to branch, wired to wireless, core to edge. Cisco has been talking about its DNA for the past 15 months or so. It would be easy to assume that all the Cisco DNA slide ware presented to date has simply been a marketing exercise to keep market analysts busy, but this would be a wrong assumption. The five key principles of Cisco DNA have already been used to differentiate its Nexus 9000 core data centre switches. These five guiding principles for Cisco DNA will now do the same for core systems in enterprise networks:

·         Virtualise everything to give organisations freedom of choice to run any service anywhere, independent of the underlying platform – physical or virtual, on premise or in the cloud.

·         Designed for automation to make networks and services on those networks easy to deploy, manage and maintain, fundamentally changing the approach to network management.

·         Pervasive analytics to provide insights on the operation of the network, IT infrastructure and the business – information that only the network can provide.

·         Service management delivered from the cloud to unify policy and orchestration across the network, enabling the agility of cloud with the security and control of on premises solutions.

·         Open, extensible and programmable at every layer, integrating Cisco and 3rd party technology, open API's and a developer platform, to support a rich ecosystem of network-enabled applications.

At a press event this week in San Francisco, Cisco executives kicked off this new intent-based networking vision by launching several key products: DNA Center, a centralised management dashboard with an intent-based approach for full visibility and context across the entire network, and new Intent-based network infrastructure products including the Catalyst 9000 switching portfolio.

Custom Cisco silicon + onboard Intel x86 powers the switches

It used to be said in that 'silicon is destiny', at least that was a saying in Silicon Valley until Marc Andreessen came along and proclaimed 'software will eat the world'. In more recent years, the conventional wisdom became that merchant silicon was good enough and fast enough, with software to be the key differentiator, enabling valued-added features. In the enterprise networking space, Broadcom's merchant Ethernet switching silicon has pretty much dominated the market. The company offers several switching silicon product families, covering everything from low-end access switches to the highest-capacity, openly programmable data centre core switches.

For this new Catalyst 9000 Series product family Cisco developed its own programmable silicon. The chipset is officially known as the Cisco Unified Access Data Plane (UADP) 2.0 ASIC. Next-generation features include a programmable pipeline, microengine capabilities, and template-based, configurable allocation of Layer 2 and Layer 3 forwarding, access control lists (ACLs), and QoS entries. A first version Cisco Unified Access Data Plane ASIC has previously powered the Catalyst 3850 Unified Access Switch with a built-in WLAN controller and the Cisco 5760 Unified Access WLAN Controller appliance, which have been shipping for several years.

With the new Cisco UADP 2.0 ASIC entering production, it is worth looking at the data sheets for the first Catalyst platforms in which it will be deployed. The newly-announced Catalyst 9K product line up includes the Catalyst 9500 Series 40 Gbit/s switch for the enterprise campus. Three variants will be offered:  24 x 40 Gigabit Ethernet ports, 12 x 40 Gigabit Ethernet ports, or 40 x 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports. A mix of QSFP and SFP+ ports are supported. Key specifications include:

·         Intel 2.4 GHz x86 CPU with up to 120 GB of USB 3.0 SSD storage for container-based application hosting.

·         Up to 960 Gbit/s switching capacity (IPv4) with up to 1440 Mpps of throughput.

·         Up to 24 nonblocking 40 Gigabit Ethernet QSFP ports.

·         Platinum-rated AC power supplies.

·         Up to 512,000 Flexible NetFlow (FNF) entries in hardware.

·         Up to 32 MB of shared buffer per ASIC.

·         Up to 64,000 routing entries for high-end campus access and aggregation deployments.

·         IPv6 support in hardware, providing wire-rate forwarding for IPv6 networks.

·         Dual-stack support for IPv4/v6 and dynamic hardware forwarding table allocations, for ease of IPv4-to-IPv6 migration.

·         Support for both static and dynamic NAT and Port Address Translation (PAT).

·         Scalable routing (IPv4, IPv6, and multicast) tables and Layer 2 tables.

·         Open IOS-XE, described as a completely new rewrite of IOS for the enterprise with support for model-driven programmability, on-box Python scripting, streaming telemetry, container-based application hosting, and patching for critical bug fixes; the OS also has built-in defences to protect against runtime attacks.

·         StackWise virtual technology, a network system virtualisation technology for scalability.

The Catalyst 9400 Series, positioned as the mainstream, next generation of the industry’s most widely deployed enterprise switching platform. The Catalyst 9400 includes modular access switches built for security, IoT and the cloud, offering high availability, support up to 8 Tbit/s, SD-Access capabilities. Two versions of the 9400 are initially offered: a 10-slot chassis offering up 384 ports, 480 Gbit/s per slot; or a 7-slot chassis offering up to 240 ports, 480 Gbit/s per slot. Both support MPLS L2 and L3 VPNs, MVPN, NAT, SD-Access, Cisco StackWise, and N+N/N+1 redundancy.

A Cisco Catalyst 9400 Supervisor Engine line card is used to power the chassis. On the card is the same Cisco Unified Access Dataplane (UADP) 2.0 ASIC, along with an Intel 2.4 GHz x86 CPU with up to 960 GB of SATA SSD local storage for container based application hosting. Line rate hardware-based Flexible NetFlow (FNF) can process up to 384,000 application flows. Significantly, the Catalyst 9400 switches form the foundation building block for Cisco's enterprise SD-Access, which includes: policy-based automation from edge to cloud; segmentation and micro-segmentation, with predictable performance and scalability; automation through the Cisco Application Policy Infrastructure Controller - Enterprise Module (APIC-EM); policy enforcement through the Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE).

The Catalyst 9300 Series, positioned as Cisco's next generation stackable switching platform, features eighteen models initially. The three top configurations are: 24 ports of 1/2.5/5/10 Gbit/s; 48 ports of 1 Gbit/s SFP for data, PoE+, Cisco UPOE; 24 ports of 1 Gbit/s SFP for data, PoE+, Cisco UPOE.


As with other members of the Catalyst 9000 series, these switches are powered by the new UADP 2.0 ASIC with programmable pipeline and microengine capabilities. The Cisco ASIC is complemented by an Intel x86 CPU complex with 8 GB memory, and 16 GB of flash and external USB 3.0 SSD pluggable storage slot to host containers and run third-party applications and scripts natively within the switch. Cisco also said the Catalyst 9300 Series is optimised for high-density 802.11ac Wave2.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Cisco and NetApp launch FlexPod SF

Cisco and NetApp have expanded their portfolio of integrated infrastructure and certified reference systems with a new FlexPod SF solution designed to address emerging business challenges by providing infrastructure for the data-intensive scale-out workloads key to digital transformation.

The new solution from Cisco and NetApp features NetApp's SolidFire all-flash, scale-out, cloud-connected storage and Cisco Unified Computing System (Cisco UCS) B-Series servers and Nexus switching. The new solution is designed to support enterprise and emerging architectures with storage capacity and performance tailored to address the needs of individual tenants in multi-tenant environments.

The companies noted that the joint solution extends the FlexPod technology portfolio that has been deployed by around 8,400 global customers and 1,100 partners in 100 countries.

The new FlexPod SF solution is designed to provide capabilities including:

1.         Predictable performance, offering the ability to run hundreds of applications on a single platform with guaranteed SLAs to independently set capacity and quality of service (QoS) at minimum, maximum or burst performance levels across the infrastructure.

2.         Programmable agility to help address business demands with SolidFire software-defined architecture, simplified management and scale by automating provisioning, management and reporting via programmable SolidFire storage and UCS B-Series servers.

3.         Scale-out performance to help customers align business expenses with growth by reducing initial capex, allowing customers to purchase the compute and storage required and to consolidate infrastructure and increase automation.

FlexPod offers a portfolio of pre-validated, converged infrastructure solutions that combine the Cisco UCS integrated infrastructure, Cisco networking and NetApp storage components. FlexPod is designed to simplify and modernise IT and deliver enhanced application performance, support for a range of cloud strategies and improved efficiency to accelerate data centre transformation.


The FlexPod family includes FlexPod Datacenter for core enterprise data centres and service providers, Express for medium-sized businesses and branch offices, and Select for data-intensive workloads. The portfolio is validated with major hypervisors, operating systems, systems management tools, and cloud management platforms.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Cisco's Intent-based Networking Leverages Machine Learning

Cisco introducted its vision for "Intent-based Networking", a paradigm that it says will form be the foundation for enterprise infrastrcuture for the next 30 years.  Intent-based networking will leverage machine learning in a new generation of ASIC-powered swithches to derive insight from network traffic, even if it is encrypted. These insights would be used to dynamically adjust network policies to simplify management and mitigate cyber threats.

“By building a more intuitive network, we are creating an intelligent platform with unmatched security for today and for the future that propels businesses forward and creates new opportunities for people and organizations everywhere,” said Chuck Robbins, chief executive officer for Cisco.

Intent-based networking includes:


  • DNA Center - a centralized management dashboard with an intent-based approach for full visibility and context across the entire network, DNA Center allows IT to centralize management of all network functions. 
  • Software-Defined Access (SD-Access) - uses automated policy enforcement and network segmentation over a single network fabric. Cisco said that its initial analysis with field trial customers and internal testing have shown a reduction in network provisioning time by 67%, improved issue resolution by 80%, reduced security breach impact by 48%, and opex savings of 61%.
  • Network Data Platform and Assurance - efficiently categorizes and correlates the vast amount of data running on the network and uses machine learning to turn it into predictive analytics, business intelligence and actionable insights delivered through the DNA Center Assurance service.
  • Encrypted Traffic Analytics - uses Cisco’s Talos cyber intelligence and machine learning to analyze metadata traffic patterns. The network can identify the fingerprints of known threats even in encrypted traffic, without decrypting it and impacting data privacy. Cisco claims its can detect threats in encrypted traffic with up to 99% accuracy, with less than 0.01% false positives. 
  • Catalyst 9000 Switching Portfolio - a new family of switches built from the ground up for the new realities of the digital era, centered on the demands of mobility, cloud, IoT and security. The Cisco Catalyst 9000 features innovations at the hardware (ASIC) and software (IOS XE) layers.
  • Software Subscription - DNA software capabilities are now offered by subscription either via pre-bundled Cisco ONE software suites or a-la-carte components. Available across the entire enterprise networking portfolio, Cisco ONE software provides businesses with access to ongoing innovation, budget predictability, and a more agile way to consume the technology.
  • DNA Services - a new portfolio of services, including advisory, implementation, optimization and technical services. Cisco channel partners can also resell these services and build networking practices that incorporate software, security, automation and analytics for their customers.
  • Developer Center - resources to help developers and IT professionals create network-powered applications and integrate them within their IT systems and workflows. This includes new learning tracks, sandboxes, and developer support resources for using APIs and building skills.

Cisco said these technologies are already being tested by 75 global enterprises and organizations, including DB Systel GmbH, Jade University of Applied Sciences, NASA, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., Scentsy, UZ Leuven and Wipro.

http://www.cisco.com

Friday, June 16, 2017

Cisco VNI: big shifts in traffic patterns

In the first part of this article, the remarkable 26% CAGR that the latest Cisco VNI report is predicting for 2017-2021 was noted. A 26% CAGR is steep in any field let alone the already massive Internet that exists today. Perhaps the most important observation was that the growth rate is accelerating. This part will look at some of the shifting patterns for Internet traffic as seen in the study. Here are the key observations for this part of the article: (1) Traffic is moving closer to the edge; (2) regional traffic trends are uneven; (3) business continues to invest in ways to segment traffic from the public Internet and that the fastest such area of growth is SD-WAN.

Moving toward the edge

With the widespread availability of content delivery networks (CDNs) and related caching technologies, the volume of IP traffic traversing long-haul networks should be declining. Much of this traffic growth is video. In fact, the Cisco VNI study predicts that video will represent 80% of all Internet traffic by 2021, up from 67% in 2016. Globally, there will be nearly 1.9 billion Internet video users (excluding mobile-only) by 2021, up from 1.4 billion in 2016. Much of this content works well in a CDN. However, currently there are a handful of super-sized Internet content providers (ICPs) that are operating a fairly small number of hyper-scale data centres. Facebook, for instance, serves over a billion daily users, with major European data centres located near the Arctic Circle in LuleƄ, Sweden. Because Facebook feeds are customised for user, each session for European users pretty much ensures that traffic is traversing the core network and long-haul backbone. The story is pretty much the same for AWS, Google and Microsoft. However, each of these ICPs is undergoing a rapid build-out of data centres, meaning more facilities closer to users. By late 2018, Facebook should have three European data centres in operation (construction of two new Facebook data centres is underway in Clonee, Ireland and Odense, Denmark). By 2021, it is likely that Facebook could have five or six European data centres. This alone would redirect significant traffic off the long-haul network to northern Sweden and onto more regional networks.

Below are some key Cisco VNI findings:

·         End-user Internet traffic is moving closer to the edge; over one-third of traffic will bypass core by 2021.

·         Globally, 35% of Internet traffic will be carried metro-to-metro by 2021, up from 22% in 2016.

·         Globally, 23% of Internet traffic will be carried on regional backbones (without touching cross-country backbones) by 2021, compared to 20% in 2016.

·         Globally, 41% of Internet traffic will traverse cross-country backbones by 2021, compared to 58% in 2016.

The second observation is that regional differences in IP traffic growth will remain with us in 2021 and likely for more years in the future. Even though the latest mobile phone models somehow spread to cities all around the world remarkably fast, global economic development is uneven and network infrastructure reflects it. By 2021, 5G rollouts will be underway in many countries with robust economies but will come later to others. The figures gathered by the Cisco VNI, show the APAC region leading with the greatest IP traffic load by 2021, North America follows, but with a much smaller population compared to APAC, per capita bandwidth intensity remains highest in North America. The Cisco VNI figures, specifically regional IP traffic growth 2016 – 21, show:

•   APAC: 107.7 exabytes/month by 2021, 26% CAGR, 3.2-fold growth.

•   North America: 85 exabytes/month by 2021, 20% CAGR, 2.5-fold growth.

•   Western Europe: 37.4 exabytes/month 2021, 22% CAGR, 2.7-fold growth.

•   Central Europe: 17.1 exabytes/month by 2021, 22% CAGR, 2.75-fold growth.

•   Latin America: 12.9 exabytes/month by 2021, 21% CAGR, 2.6-fold growth.

•   Middle East and Africa: 15.5 exabytes/month by 2021, 42% CAGR, 5.8-fold growth.

Business IP traffic volume

The latest Cisco VNI report also predicts that global business IP traffic will grow at a CAGR of 21% from 2016 to 2021. Since this figure is based on current metrics from Cisco's service providers (as well as other sources as discussed in the study’s methodology), it is clear that networks are filling up and that they are doing so at an accelerated rate. More businesses are sending/receiving traffic to the Internet, mostly likely due to increased use of video and accessing cloud services over the public Internet. Cisco expects advanced video communications in the enterprise segment to cause business IP traffic to grow by a factor of 3 between 2016 and 2021.

The Cisco VNI report has a separate category for IP WAN, which is predicted to grow at a CAGR of 10%, compared with a CAGR of 20% for fixed business Internet and 41% for mobile business Internet. This category could include Layer 2 and VPN services. Increasing numbers of service providers are offering direct connection options for AWS and Microsoft Azure, and as the general movement of corporate data into the public clouds increases, one would expect that the traffic load on these private connections to grow substantially. However, Cisco is predicting business IP traffic in North America to grow at a CAGR of 23%, a faster pace than the global average of 21%. In volume terms, in Asia Pacific will have the largest amount of business IP traffic in 2021, at 17 EB per month, with North America second at 14 EB per month.

One area of intense activity now being tracked by Cisco VNI is global enterprise SD-WAN traffic, which is now predicted to grow at a CAGR of 44% compared to 5% for traditional WAN. Cisco predicts that SD-WAN will increase six-fold over the forecast period and represent 25% of WAN traffic by 2021. This is good news for Cisco, given that it recently agreed to acquire Viptela, a start-up specialising in SD-WAN, for $610 million in cash and assumed equity awards. Cisco's SD-WAN portfolio also includes its home-grown intelligent WAN (Iwan) solution and Meraki cloud platform.


See also