Cisco OnePK

Peter Welcher
Architect, Operations Technical Advisor

This blog provides a brief update on Cisco onePK. As part of Network Field Day 5 (#NFD5) the group of delegates spent all day yesterday at Cisco. Some of the time was spent talking about onePK and SDN, and the rest about borderless topics. I hope to blog further about both topics when time permits. We had some really good discussions. I cannot report that we achieved agreement or anything resembling convergence of opinion.

I will freely admit I’ve only been lightly tracking onePK. Mindset: “that’s for programmers.” So apologies to anyone who feels I’m repeating old news. The following goes to the point “I’m not a programmer, so why do I care about onePK?”

My short take on what I heard was that Cisco has made a major commitment to onePK. It will be in all their major products. This is not just the appearance of SDN (“SDN-washing?”). Cisco has realized that with a common API, they can implement new features in device-neutral format. They can manage the code separately from the IOS or IOS-XE, etc., images, and they don’t have to wait for each product manager to get around to inserting the code into their product code tree, integration coding, testing, etc. In other words, it allows them a much more modular way to deploy new features on top of basic core functionality coded to leverage the ASICs in each platform. (My words for it, not Cisco’s.)

This is seen as providing a mechanism for much more agile feature development within Cisco. I imagine the coding efficiencies and time to market effects could become a Big Deal. The discussion segued into each new app written using onePK will still need testing etc. on the various platforms, but the time to roll out the feature will still be far lower.

One of the other aspects of the discussion that caught my attention was the deep thinking Cisco has apparently put into the operational side of having onePK applications. Namely, security, digital signatures to prevent illicit app alteration, and the issue of how to support different versions of an application. (Hopefully avoiding problems. The one that comes to mind is the Java version quagmire on the Mac platform, where for security Apple is attempting to enforce policy of only the latest Java code / fixes, which is fairly desirable, yet some applications require specific dis-allowed Java versions.) My other reaction to this was that is all sounded rather complicated, but then again, getting those other aspects right and sustainable does require thought to make it work reasonably well.

The other tidbit was that Cisco is planning a Java based SDN controller that uses onePK. Java for portability. The perspective is that one might not run just one controller, but different ones for different purposes and in different devices, possibly in the routers and switches in some cases, and possibly centralized.

That’s all for now — we’re about to start a hectic Thursday of presentations!


The vendors for NFD 5 are paying my travel expenses and providing small gift items (T-shirts, etc.), so I wish to disclose that in my blogs now. The vendors in question are: Cisco, Brocade, Juniper, Plexxi, Ruckus, and SolarWinds. I’d like to think that my blogs aren’t influenced by that. Yes, the time spent in presentations and discussion gets me and the other attendees looking at and thinking about the various vendors’ products, marketing spin, and their points of view. I intend to try to remain as objective as possible in my blogs. I’ll concede that cool technology gets my attention! Stay tuned!

Twitter: @pjwelcher

One response to “Cisco OnePK

  1. The videos from yesterday #NFD5 are already posted. See [url][/url].

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Nick Kelly

Cybersecurity Engineer, Cisco

Nick has over 20 years of experience in Security Operations and Security Sales. He is an avid student of cybersecurity and regularly engages with the Infosec community at events like BSides, RVASec, Derbycon and more. The son of an FBI forensics director, Nick holds a B.S. in Criminal Justice and is one of Cisco’s Fire Jumper Elite members. When he’s not working, he writes cyberpunk and punches aliens on his Playstation.


Virgilio “BONG” dela Cruz Jr.

CCDP, CCNA V, CCNP, Cisco IPS Express Security for AM/EE
Field Solutions Architect, Tech Data

Virgilio “Bong” has sixteen years of professional experience in IT industry from academe, technical and customer support, pre-sales, post sales, project management, training and enablement. He has worked in Cisco Technical Assistance Center (TAC) as a member of the WAN and LAN Switching team. Bong now works for Tech Data as the Field Solutions Architect with a focus on Cisco Security and holds a few Cisco certifications including Fire Jumper Elite.


John Cavanaugh

CCIE #1066, CCDE #20070002, CCAr
Chief Technology Officer, Practice Lead Security Services, NetCraftsmen

John is our CTO and the practice lead for a talented team of consultants focused on designing and delivering scalable and secure infrastructure solutions to customers across multiple industry verticals and technologies. Previously he has held several positions including Executive Director/Chief Architect for Global Network Services at JPMorgan Chase. In that capacity, he led a team managing network architecture and services.  Prior to his role at JPMorgan Chase, John was a Distinguished Engineer at Cisco working across a number of verticals including Higher Education, Finance, Retail, Government, and Health Care.

He is an expert in working with groups to identify business needs, and align technology strategies to enable business strategies, building in agility and scalability to allow for future changes. John is experienced in the architecture and design of highly available, secure, network infrastructure and data centers, and has worked on projects worldwide. He has worked in both the business and regulatory environments for the design and deployment of complex IT infrastructures.