Network Field Day 9 (NFD9): Friday 2/13/2015

Peter Welcher
Architect, Operations Technical Advisor

Networking Field DayFor Friday’s Network Field Day 9 (#NFD9) line-up, we delegates are looking forward to hearing in person from Cisco and Brocade. You the reader are, I hope, informed, entertained, and maybe even amazed by what you’ve seen and heard so far, and planning to watch the live streaming video from Silicon Valley. No doubt you’re also preparing to follow the various Tweets from the delegates. The streaming video links will be posted on the Network Field Day 9 web page.

As noted previously, please tweet me or any of the delegates with any questions you’d like us to ask the vendors.

Friday’s Schedule

Times are PST.

  • 8:00- Cisco Presents about ACI
  • 12:00- Brocade Presents

Cisco ACI: Product Category=SDN, Datacenter

Vendor website: Cisco

I’ve been tracking Cisco ACI developments since being present at the launch with Tech Field Day. One recent measure of how important Cisco thinks ACI is: there were 34 ACI-related presentations at CIscoLive Milan 2015!!! (No, I haven’t finished reading them all yet.) I’m looking forward to deepening my knowledge of ACI.

What’s ACI? For those who haven’t been tracking it: I see Cisco ACI and VMware NSX as the two main contenders for automated SDN software control of the datacenter. NSX lacks the ability currently to control the physical datacenter switching “underlay,” which begs the question of troubleshooting visibility correlating overlay VXLAN tunnel problems with underlay glitches. Cisco ACI is more all-encompassing, including a way for third-party vendors to provide automated (partial) configuration of their devices. The sales pitch either way is faster, easier and more agile deployment of applications.

Here’s my starter list of questions I have about products in this category:

  • Who do you see as your competition?
  • How is your product better?
  • What are you doing to facilitate interoperability?
  • Does ACI provide Cisco lock-in?
  • Enabling ACI security functionality is like having a new big firewall in the middle of all datacenter traffic. How do sites get from “permit ip any any” to real rules controlling server flows without disruption? Besides “very carefully”? Is there a magic bullet not named “Cisco Advanced Services”?

Brocade: Product Category=Networking/OpenFlow/SDN

Vendor website: Brocade

The NFD9 delegates haven’t yet been told what Brocade will be talking about yet, hence the rather generic product category above.

Brocade has grown from a SAN vendor into a vendor of high-speed networking equipment, with R&D into use of OpenFlow and other SDN-related technologies. Some of their OpenFlow work has supported very high-speed research links. Their work on the Vyatta virtual router has removed performance bottlenecks and enabled use of multiple cores in modern CPUs. I’m looking forward to hearing what Brocade has for us!


Comments are welcome, both in agreement or informative disagreement with the above, and especially good questions to ask the NFD9 vendors! Thanks in advance!

Hashtags: #NFD9 #VeloCloud #CumulusNetworks #PluribusNetworks #SD-WAN #OpenStack

Twitter: @pjwelcher

Disclosure Statement

Cisco Certified 15 Years Cisco Champion 2014


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