“They’re opening up the way to program Cisco switches without having to commoditize their hardware.”
“I they are embracing the (SDN) concept,” he added. “They see it as an ongoing trend. But they believe it doesn’t necessarily have to be accomplished strictly through an OpenFlow mechanism. And they believe that by leveraging OnePK they can help drive that.”
“I don’t think enterprises are necessarily looking to write code” for networks, he also said. “So I would be looking to see what kind of third party ecosystem develops around this – what network services companies start leveraging OnePK to write (code) so their applications can run on those switches, and then does that develop into its own ecosystem.”
Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst at ZK Research, says Cisco's strategy is one of trying to get ahead of competitors such as Hewlett-Packard Co., Juniper Networks, Brocade Communications Systems and a number of startups who have their own SDN approaches.
“I think what they’re trying to do is expand the definition of what software-defined networks are,” he said. While the Open Networking Foundation says SDN is primarily a separation of the network control and data plane, Cisco is saying goes from the transport to the orchestration layer of the network, and that it will offer tools for every level.
“I think it’s the right strategy for them," he added. "Most of the other vendors playing in this space don’t have the scale or the size to go down multiple paths. Other companies are choosing to go OpenFlow, others OpenStack, others proprietary methods, and they’re all making the bet that their way is the right way. What Cisco’s done is say ‘We’re not sure how it’s going to play out but we’re going to go down every road and no matter how it plays out we’ll have a product.’”