Thursday, 11 October 2012

vCider Acquisition Important Step for Cisco



Late last week Cisco announced the acquisition of vCider, a tech start-up specialising in software defined networking (SDN) for the cloud. The company's virtual network overlay will be integrated into Cisco's Open Network Environment while simultaneously supporting their role in developing the open source cloud project known as OpenStack.

The acquisition comes at a time when Cisco seems to be looking for a way to reinvent itself in the new virtualisation paradigm. Given the fact that SDN networking is just getting its feet wet, joining in the early stages is a strategic move that advances Cisco's strategy. SDN will eventually be the new standard for data communications in virtual environments, according to some, so it's important to get involved now.

vCider brings a virtual network controller to the table that offers multi-tenant possibilities. Cisco plans to put the technology to use right away by integrating it with the OpenStack Quantum service. And since the underlying goal of the Open Stack object is seamless movement between virtual environments, a dependable SDN will be key.

What's new for Cisco is the fact that SDN takes data communications out of the hands of hardware and allows it to be controlled by a software component. How ironic is the marriage between the two companies when you consider the fact that SDN is known in the industry as the "Cisco killer." Nonetheless, it appears to be an important part of the Cisco future.

Industry analysts agree the acquisition sets the stage for Cisco's future by allowing it to influence the development of SDN from the perspective of hardware. By marrying the two datacentres, cloud hosting companies, engineers, and software developers get the best of both worlds to create an even more robust cloud environment.

Perhaps the one pitfall that could derail the whole thing is that of management. OpenStack is a collaborative effort among lots of contributors, so effective project management between all of them is necessary. As long as Cisco's contribution doesn't unnecessarily overshadow the rest of the players all should be well. But if their entry into SDN upsets the natural balance power there could be issues.

Competition Not Sitting Idle

Cisco is not alone in betting at least a part of their future on SDN. Over the summer of VMware acquired its own SDN partner in Nicira Networks; HP got on board last week as well by announcing the release of a group of new products with built-in SDN support.

As it turns out, competition is good even when dealing with open source. Competition drives innovation, churns out new ideas, and is able to separate the good from the bad in spite of the politics. And who benefits? End users, first and foremost. They get to see technology developing before their eyes and are encouraged to participate along the way. And as we all know, happy end-users translates into happy collocation providers, busy datacentres, and nice profits for everyone.

Here's hoping Cisco makes a go of it and is instrumental in setting the future of SDN. If they are unable to contribute significantly there will be someone else in the wings waiting to pick up the slack.

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