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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Networking 101: Quality of Service (QoS)

How well do you know QoS? We all throw the term around but are we all truly comfortable with it? Jimmy Ray breaks it down at the packet level and shares the one rule you must never forget.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Cisco Said To Be Feeling Competitive Heat From Huawei

Cisco Systems may be feeling some heat from Huawei Technologies.

San Jose, Calif.-based Cisco, the world's No. 1 maker of networking gear, faces increasing competitive pressure from China-based Huawei, which is No. 2 worldwide. Huawei is expanding from focusing on telecom customers to targeting other types of enterprise customers, including financial institutions and health care organizations in North America and elsewhere. These are among Cisco's bread-and-butter markets.

A tip-off that Cisco Systems (CSCO) is growing wary of Huawei came this month when Cisco CEO John Chambers reportedly said Huawei doesn't always "play by the rules" in areas such as computer security and intellectual property protection.

Chambers said this at "Viewpoints West," an event hosted by the Wall Street Journal, which reported the comments.

Other Western-based companies have questioned the tactics used by Huawei over the years, but Chambers' comments indicate Cisco sees something growing in its rearview mirror, says Andre Kindness, an analyst for market tracker Forrester Research.

"They have been recognizing that the red tide is coming," Kindness said. "Huawei is ready to play in the worldwide market."

Huawei now has operations in Boston; San Diego; Plano, Texas; Bridgewater, N.J.; and, as of a year ago, a research and development facility in Santa Clara, Calif., just 10 miles or so from Cisco's headquarters. So, Cisco is wary, says Adrian Drury, an analyst for research firm Ovum.

"Absolutely, Cisco sees Huawei in its backyard more and more," Drury said. "As a consequence, what we're seeing now is saber rattling between the two organizations."

Cisco declined to elaborate on its CEO's comment.

Huawei has a history of ruffling some industry feathers. Started in 1987 and long rumored to have close ties to China's military, over the years news reports have detailed alleged offenses by Huawei, ranging from copyright infringement to providing loans to clients in order to get their business.

In 2003, Cisco sued Huawei for patent infringement for allegedly copying the company's source code. Cisco dropped the suit after the two sides reached an out-of-court settlement.

Still, Chambers' comments seemed to come out of left field, says Shaw Wu, an analyst for Sterne Agee & Leach.

Comments 'Surprising'

"Five or 10 years ago there were issues with intellectual property, but since then their (Huawei's) stance has changed," Wu said. "Frankly, I found the (Chambers) comments somewhat surprising."

Analysts say Huawei has jumped to No. 1 in sales of networking gear to telecom firms, ahead of Cisco, Ericsson (ERIC), Alcatel-Lucent (ALU) and Nokia Siemens Networks, a joint venture of Nokia (NOK) and Siemens (SI).

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Torrey Point Acquires Proteus Networks

TorreyPoint today announced an agreement to acquire Proteus Networks, a leader in education and professional services specializing in Juniper Networks. The transaction brings together two top-talent companies whose customers will benefit from the combined technical expertise, architecture services, and educational programs.

"This enables Proteus to fulfill its vision as a world class network engineering and training organization," said Doug Marschke, Co-Founder and CTO, Proteus Networks. "We feel TorreyPoint provides the best strategic combination to enable our continued expansion of training and engineering services to better serve our customers."

Following the acquisition, the Proteus Networks management team will remain intact and will continue to operate as a separate and individual brand.

"The Proteus acquisition will enable TorreyPoint to expand our current geographic coverage and engineering services while providing enhanced in-house training and publication programs to benefit our partners and customers," said Steve Fazio, Co-Founder and CEO of TorreyPoint. "We are joining forces with Proteus because there is a huge opportunity to utilize each other's strengths and move even faster toward our vision of delivering best-in-class products and services for our customers, employees and vendors."

About TorreyPoint

Torrey Point Group LLC is a thriving Information Systems Consultancy providing customers with design, implementation and support for their next generation networks. The company's "best-in-class" philosophy drives our business direction and extends across our people, our vendor partners and our processes.

TorreyPoint's innovation in network and security architecture, deployment and managed services results in secure, scalable and transparent networks that solve business problems and increase operational efficiency. Through a legacy of success in Education, Financial Services, Gaming & Hospitality, Government, Technology, Service Provider, Transportation and Utilities, we have gained the critical domain expertise needed to optimize our clients' network performance.

TorreyPoint has been "Enabling the Innovation Economy" since 2005. This privately held company is headquartered in Sunnyvale, California with locations in New York, Boston, Denver, Phoenix, Philadelphia, Chicago andDallas. Please visit Phone: 888.700.5747

About Proteus Networks

Proteus Networks, a services-only company, prides itself on providing excellence in customer service that consistently exceeds expectations. The company focuses on network infrastructure and provides consultative training, professional services, and technical/managed services for its customers. Proteus engineers average 20 years of real-world multi-vendor experience and leverage that knowledge across our disciplines. Proteus aligns nicely with reseller partners who wish to offer these value-added services to their end customers. For more information about Proteus Networks, please visit

Friday, April 20, 2012

Prem Jain's Insieme Networks to be Bought by Cisco

With a motive to provide superior software networking to the world, Insieme Networks, a company co-founded by Prem Jain, Mario Mazzola and Luca Cafiero lend their helping hand to Cisco systems. Insieme’s work in developing advance Software-Defined Networking (SDN) is a must buy for the networking giant to maintain its position in the market, as stated by New York Times.

The trio of Prem, Mario and Luca, has already sold two other startups Andiamo Systems and Nuova Systems to their ex-employer, Cisco. The California based Insieme Networks plans to proceed in the same lines as Andiamo Systems that made storage-area network switches and Nuova Systems, which developed Nexus 5000 series data center switches, to hugely benefit Cisco.

Instead of getting knocked down by budding network startups, Cisco decides to follow its prime motto of “We will build, we will buy, we will partner.” Having already invested $100 Million to support Insieme’s research on 100G Ethernet and storage controlled by a Layer 4-7 SDN, Cisco has shown clear intentions of buying it for a sum of $850 Million.

“Insieme’s product development efforts are complementary to that of Cisco’s current and planned internal investments. Insieme and other internal programs will be components of Cisco’s broader programmability framework. These types of investments have strongly benefitted Cisco in the past, and we will continue to look for similar ways to complement our internal development capabilities”, said David McCulloch, Cisco’s director of corporate communications.

This buy would be a highly profitable spin-in for both the sides. Since, Cisco has already been investing a lot in Insieme’s work; existence of a profound financial and intellectual bond is credible which would help create innovative products faster.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Introduction to Carrier Ethernet 2.0 Certification

The MEF is set to launch Carrier Ethernet 2.0 Certification for E-Line, E-LAN, E-Tree and E-Access services. What does CE 2.0 Certification cover? What is the value for service providers, operators, equipment vendors and subscribers of this new comprehensive certification from the MEF? How will it affect the industry? Where do the well-established MEF 9 and MEF 14 certifications fit in? How does the new MEF Professional Certification -- MEF–CECP -- validate knowledge of Carrier Ethernet 2.0? These and many other questions will be addressed by MEF member companies that have led with Carrier Ethernet certification in their respective fields.

*This is a custom webinar.

Join us on Wednesday, May 2, 2012 at 11 a.m. New York/4 p.m. London for this live webinar sponsored by the Metro Ethernet Forum.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Cisco CTO: Big Changes On The Cloud Horizon

By Chad Berndtson, CRN

Cisco (NSDQ:CSCO) CTO Padmasree Warrior said Wednesday that the company is about to go live with Cloud Connect, a new platform for optimizing the cloud experience, preserving cloud security and simplifying cloud-based operations -- all off a powerful software platform developed in part with technology from several recent Cisco acquisitions.

For solution providers, the kicker will be what Warrior described as Cloud Connectors, a way for partners to build applications using Cisco's cloud software platform and further customize the experience. Cisco will firm up the announcements at a launch event on May 22, Warrior said, and at June's Cisco Live event in San Diego.

During her keynote on the second day of Cisco Partner Summit, Warrior's major focus was on Cisco's cloud road map. While other vendors such as Amazon, Google and Hewlett-Packard attack parts of the cloud, only Cisco is offering cloud infrastructure, cloud networking and cloud applications, Warrior said.

Cloud Connect will be the latest piece of an evolving Cisco cloud strategy that includes the cloud partner program Cisco launched a year ago and the CloudVerse framework it debuted in December to organize its unified data center, intelligent network and cloud application platforms into a strategy supported by new products and services.

Cisco, said Warrior, sees a world of "many clouds" with enterprise and service customers wanting to leverage public, private and hybrid models. The goal is to support all of those customers and prepare to go beyond trends du jour such as bring-your-own-device.

Cisco offerings such as Hosted Collaboration Solution, its Jabber platform for embedding UC tools on business devices, and the growth of its Unified Computing System (UCS) are all examples of how Cisco is attacking cloud-based opportunities across its portfolio.

Its unified data center approach is more cost-effective than competitive converged systems, Warrior said, and offers the broadest range of storage, virtualization, application and management partners. Cisco's UCS now has more than 11,000 unique customers, 3,000 repeat customers, 2,000 channel partners and 44 ISVs writing to the UCS API, she said.

Warrior cited research stating that more than 50 percent of enterprise workloads will be cloud-based within two years. Cisco is finding that what most enterprises want is to build private clouds for capacity and then "burst" into public clouds if they need more, she said.

"This type of technology doesn't exist today," Warrior said, but Cisco is working to build it into its Nexus 1000v virtual intelligence switches and tie it together with cloud routing gateways, unified management and other products.

Cisco will launch several tools this year to make networks more "programmable," Warrior added. The flexibility and intelligence of being able to leverage the software is where a lot of the cloud networking battles will be won and lost, she said.

live QFabric chat at Champion Community (Juniper)

Juniper Networks is proud to invite you to join our new site, The Champion Community, developed by Juniper Networks and UBM Channel exclusively for networking professionals.

Join us at The Champion Community for a live chat about QFabric today at 12:00 noon ET with Juniper senior product managers David Leitzel and Kishore Inampudi. The pair of datacenter solution experts will share their technical knowledge while they field your questions about QFabric architecture, deployment scenarios, and control and management capabilities.

Other topics for today's event include:

• How QFabric interoperates with existing infrastructure
• Options for server active-active connectivity with QFabric
• Products in the pipeline to address smaller density 10G deployments

When: 12 noon ET, 9 a.m. PT, TODAY, Wednesday, April 18

Where: The Champion Community live chat

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Milestone in Connecting the Internet of Things – RPL Routing Standard Completed

After four years of hard work behind the scenes, Cisco is delighted today to say that new ground has been broken for IPV6 implementation. Ahead of World IPV6 Launch on June 6, the standardization of RPL, a new IPV6 routing protocol designed for large-scale implementation of IPV6 in harsh environments, has been completed.

What’s the significance of the standard, you might ask? The Internet of Things – the term used to describe the billions of intelligent end points that collect and send data back to a centralized computing resource like a server, or to each other. The Internet of things refers to IP private networks and smart objects connected to the public Internet. The number of applications is only bounded by imagination with applications on Smart Grid, Smart Cities, Industrial Automation, Connected Cars to mention a few. The number of things connected to the Internet exceeded the world population in 2008 – and will only grow. Projections have the number of things connected to the Internet at 50 billion by 2020.

Routing is a fundamental piece of the overall IPV6 architecture for the Internet of Things, and RPL will translate the potential of Internet of Things into reality. When many people think of devices connected to the Internet, they think of smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktops. They don’t often think of the devices that will greatly dwarf those personal computing endpoints in volume – gas pumps, for example, or cars, railroad tracks, weather sensors and smart meters to name a few. These devices live in the outdoors, sometimes in harsh weather conditions, 24 hours a day. And not only do they require physical design that will protect them from these elements, but also a robust networking protocol that will work in these harsh conditions as well, while providing high scalability.

It became clear as intelligent devices were proliferating into all aspects of life, that a new routing protocol would be required for devices on the smart grid as well as other smart devices operating in harsh environments such as smart grids, manufacturing plants, commercial buildings, and on transportation networks. The networks in these environments can be described as Low Power and Lossy Networks (LNNs), meaning they often operate with significant constraints on processing power, memory and energy—translating into high data loss rates, low data transfer rates and instability. Compounding these issues, LLNs are comprised of anywhere from a few dozen and up to thousands and even hundreds of thousands of routers handling point-to-point (device to device), point-to-multipoint (central computer to devices) and multipoint-to-point (devices to central computing) traffic. All of this adds up to what we engineers love: solving a good challenge!

So four years ago, in 2008, the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) formed a working group to specify the routing solution for LLNs. The protocol would address the issues outlined above, and would involve a successful collaboration between a number of stakeholders and other active IETF working group members.

Fast forward to today, and the protocol, called RPL, has been completed. The complete set of RPL routing standards are:

• RFC 6550: RPL: IPv6 Routing Protocol for Low-Power and Lossy Networks
• RFC 6551: Routing Metrics Used for Path Calculation in Low-Power and Lossy Networks
• RFC 6552: Objective Function Zero for the Routing Protocol for Low-Power and Lossy Networks (RPL)
• RFC 6553: The Routing Protocol for Low-Power and Lossy Networks (RPL) Option for Carrying RPL Information in Data-Plane Datagrams
• RFC 6554: An IPv6 Routing Header for Source Routes with the Routing Protocol for Low-Power and Lossy Networks (RPL)

To date, there have been a number of independent implementations and several deployments in the field using RPL, and other standards alliances have adopted RPL as the routing protocol of choice, including Zigbee/IP and Wave2M alliances.

For Cisco, RPL is a fundamental block in the end-to-end IPV6 Field Area Network architecture and will be used as the standard for other areas of the smart grid as well. We have several large-scale on-going deployments with million of nodes, and we successfully validated RPL. The results of the internal tests showed that RPL was performing extremely well, as expected, and also successfully passed a number of stress tests.

So where do we go from here? Cisco anticipates we will soon be able to report successful deployments in several utility networks. While the majority of the work is behind us with regards to developing, defining, validating and testing the RPL protocol, field deployments almost always present new challenges – and new learnings – that will help Cisco and others continue to improve the protocol as it is being used. For today, we’ll be celebrating this major milestone. Tomorrow, we’ll be working on RPL in the field to ensure it performs its part in making the vision of smart grid a reality. We will keep you posted on our stories, and look forward to hearing from you as well on your successful uses of RPL in the field.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Qtel and Cisco sign key deal

DOHA: Qtel and Cisco signed a strategic memorandum of understanding (MoU) that will see the two companies collaborate on a range of new services for business customers and consumers across Qatar by bringing together complementary skills, capabilities and solutions.

The MoU brings an opportunity for Cisco to collaborate with Qtel by aligning the Cisco Smart+Connected Communities vision with Qatar Telecom's expertise in the telecommunications sector.

The MoU builds upon the two market leaders' long history of successful collaboration, and will enable Qtel and Cisco to share knowledge and expertise in developing and implementing comprehensive network and communications solutions.

The MoU will explore opportunities that will allow corporate customers to work with Qtel and Cisco to deploy a range of wireline, mobile, managed services, virtual networks and data centre solutions tailored specifically to the needs of their business. In addition, Qtel and Cisco have agreed to pursue a range of solutions aimed at some of Qatar's most dynamic and strategically-important industries.

The signing ceremony was held at Qtel's headquarters in Doha and was attended by Qtel Qatar chief executive Shaikh Saud bin Nasser Al Thani, chief new business officer engineer Khalid Abdulla Al
Mansouri, Cisco chief globalisation officer Wim Elfrink, deputy chief globalisation officer Anil Menon and other senior company representatives.

"Qtel has a bold strategy for ensuring that we hold a leadership position in the delivery of new innovations for our customers, and strategic partnerships have a clear role to play in ensuring we achieve our objectives," said Shaikh Saud.

"Working with Cisco, which is a recognised global leader, will enable us to deliver comprehensive solutions for all of Qatar's leading companies."

"As cities continue to grow, the challenge continues to be in making these cities smarter," Mr Elfrink.

"More than ever there is a need for innovation to enable economic, social and environmental sustainability for city development and transformation."

Cisco's Smart+Connected Communities platform is increasingly being deployed globally to create smarter, greener and more secure communities for citizens of the future.

"Citizens are looking to consume smart services enabled by intelligent networks. Progressive companies such as Qtel are leading the way in deploying these smart services as their strategic differentiator in growing digitally enabled cities."

Mr Menon said Cisco envisions a future where technology will help communities better manage their energy and environmental challenges.

"Strategic relationships with telecom leaders such as Qtel bring us a step closer in providing improved citizen services for communities and enhancing the citizens' quality of life."

Cisco and Qtel will explore opportunities to increase the range of managed services available to all government, corporate and mega project customers in Qatar, as well as enhancing the customer experience, by collaborating to bring new innovations to the market.

Both companies will explore opportunities to bring the latest cutting edge technology, this is aligned to Qatar's 2030 Vision of working towards a knowledge-based society and preparing for the World Cup 2022.

In addition, both companies see strong opportunities in the oil and gas sector. Other industries targeted within the framework of the MoU include sport, hospitality, health, education, retail, government and transportation.

Cisco ASA CX – Next Generation Firewall? Or Star Trek: Enterprise Firewall?

- Courtesy Nerd

There’s been a lot of talk recently about the coming of the “next generation” firewall. A simple firewall is nothing more than a high-speed packet filter. You match on criteria such as access list or protocol type and then decide what to do with the packet from there. It’s so simple in fact that you can setup a firewall on a Cisco router like Jeremy Stretch has done. However, the days of the packet filtering firewall are quickly coming to an end. Newer firewalls must have the intelligence to identify traffic not by IP address or port number. In today’s network world, almost all applications tunnel themselves over HTTP, either due to their nature as web-based apps or the fact that they take advantage of port 80 being open through almost every firewall. The key to being able to identify malicious or non-desired traffic attempting to use HTTP as a “common carrier” is to inspect the packet at a deeper level than just port number. Of course, many of the firewalls that I’ve looked at in the past that claim to do deep packet inspection either did a very bad job of it or did such a great job inspecting that the aggregate throughput of the firewall dropped to the point of being useless. How do we balance the need to look more closely at the packet with the desire to not have it slow our network to the point of tears?

Cisco has spent a lot of time and money on the ASA line of firewalls. I’ve installed quite a few of them myself and they are pretty decent when it comes to high speed packet filtering. However, my customers are now asking for the deeper packet inspection that Cisco hasn’t yet been able to provide. Next-Gen vendors like Palo Alto and Sonicwall (now a part of Dell) have been playing up their additional capabilities to beat the ASA head-on in competitions where blocking outbound NetBIOS-over-TCP is less important than keeping people off of Farmville. To answer the challenge, Cisco recently announced the CX addition to the ASA family. While I haven’t yet had a chance to fire one of these things up, I thought I’d take a moment to talk about it and aggregate some questions and answers about the specs and capabilities.

The ASA CX is a Security Services Processor (SSP) module that today runs on the ASA 5585-X model. It’s a beastly server-type device that has 12GB or 24GB or RAM, 600GB of RAID-1 disk space and 8GB of flash storage. The lower-end model can take up to 2Gbps throughput and the bigger brother can handle 5Gbps. It scans over 1000 applications and more than 75,000 “micro” applications to determine whether the user is listening to iTunes in the cloud or watching HD video on Youtube. The ASA CX also utilizes other products in the Cisco Secure-X portfolio to feed it information. The Cisco AnyConnect Secure VPN client allows the CX to identify traffic that isn’t HTTP-based, as right now the CX can only identify traffic via HTTP User Agent in the absence of AnyConnect. In addition, the Cisco Security Intelligence Operation (SIO) Manager can aggregate information from different points on the network to give the admins a much bigger picture of what is going on to prevent things such as zero-day attack outbreaks and malware infections.

One of the nice new features of the ASA CX that’s been pointed out by Greg Ferro is the user interface for the CX module. Rather than relying on the Java-based ADSM client or forcing users to learn yet another CLI convention, Cisco decided to include a copy of the Cisco Prime Security Manager on-box to manage the CX module. This is arguably the best way for Cisco to have created an easy way for customers to easily utilize the features of the new CX module. I’ve recently had a chance to play around with the Identity Services Engine (ISE) and while the UI is very slick and useful, I cried a little when I started using the ADE-OS interface on the CLI. It’s not the same as the IOS or CUCM CLI that I’m used to, so I spent much of my time figuring out how to do things I’ve already learned to do twice before. Instead, with the CX Prime Security Manager interface, Cisco has allowed me to take a UI that I’m already comfortable with and apply it to the new features in the firewall module. In addition, I can forego the use of the on-box Prime instance and instead register the CX to an existing Prime installation for a single point of management for all my security needs. I’m sure that the firewall itself still needs to use ASDM for configuration and that the Prime instance is only for the CX module but this is still a step in the right direction.

There are some downsides to the CX right now. That’s to be expected in any 1.0-type launch. Firstly, you need an ASA 5585-X to run the thing. That’s a pretty hefty firewall. It’s an expensive one too. It makes sense that Cisco will want to ensure that the product works well on the best box it has before trying to pare down the module to run effectively on the lower ASA-X series firewall. Still, I highly doubt Cisco will ever port this module to run on the plain ASA series. So if you want to do Next-Gen firewalling, you’re going to need to break out the forklift no matter what. In the 1.0 CX release, there’s also no support for IPS, non-web based application identification without AnyConnect, or SSH decryption (although it can do SSL/TLS decryption on the fly). It also doesn’t currently integrate with ISE for posture assessment and identity enforcement. That’s going to be critical in the future to allow full integration with the rest of Secure-X.

If you’d like to learn more at the new ASA CX, check out the pages on Cisco’s website. There’s also an excellent Youtube walkthrough:

Cisco has needed a Next-Gen firewall for quite a while.  When the flagship of your fleet looks like the Stargazer instead of the Enterprise-D, it’s time for a serious upgrade.  I know that there have been some challenges in Cisco’s security division as of late, but I hope that they’ve been sorted out and the can start moving down the road.  At the same time, I’ve got horrible memories of the last time Cisco tried to extend the Unified Threat Management (UTM) profile of the ASA with the Content Security and Control (CSC) module.  That outsourced piece of lovely was a source of constant headache for the one or two customers that had it.  On top of it all, everything inside was licensed from Trend Micro.  That meant that you had to pay them a fee every year on top of the maintenance you were paying to Cisco!  Hopefully by building the CX module with Cisco technologies such as Network-Based Application Recognition (NBAR) version 2, Cisco can avoid having the new shiny part of it’s family being panned by the real firewall people out there and languish year-to-year before finally being put out of it’s misery, much like the CSC module or Star Trek: Enterprise.  I’m sure that’s why they decided to call the new module the CX and not the NX.  No sense cursing it out of the gate.

For more Technical details and Datasheets Visit Cisco Website -

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Google posts first "Google Glasses" video

Google's Project Glass gets its first public viewing

well, well, well!  It looks like the team at Google [X] has indeed been busy working on the so-called "Google Glasses" project (now known as Project Glass) after all!  And even better, they've been kind enough to post a video of their early efforts:

A guy uses his Google Glasses to do the following:

  • Make arrangements to meet his friend in a nearby bookstore
  • Get walking directions to the store after his glasses inform him that subway service has turned off
  • Locate both the music section of the bookstore and then locate his friend within the bookstore
  • Perform a video chat with another friend in which he shows off his new-found ability to play the ukulele
All of this is done using the glasses' wireless connection, some simple voice commands and an unobtrusive augmented reality user interface that provides you with useful information without blocking your line of sight. Oh, and Google has released some pictures of prototypes for the glasses and guess what? They don't look all that dorky:

Cisco 'Jawbreaker': Refocused or retired?

by Jim Duffy

So with word circulating around the industry of a possible Cisco spin-in developing a cloudy switch for software-defined networking (SDN) and/or distributed data storage, what's the status of Cisco's "Jawbreaker" fabric switching project?

Sources in the fabric and SDN industry say Jawbreaker, which was to be a merchant silicon-based response to Juniper's QFabric, has either been:

• Refocused toward the enterprise campus as a Catalyst switch adjunct;

• Repositioned into Insieme, the not-so-stealthy startup spin-in run by Cisco's top three engineers -- Mario Mazzola, Luca Cafiero and Prem Jain;

• Or killed entirely due to the apparent challenges Juniper's facing with QFabric. QFabric's lengthy trial and ramp cycle no longer requires a competitive marketing response from Cisco, some sources believe.

Cisco has never publicly acknowledged the existence of the Jawbreaker project, which came to light 13 months ago, so information from sources couldn't be confirmed. A year ago, sources said Jawbreaker was based on Broadcom's Trident+ chipset and had two components: a fabric core with 40G interfaces and a 48-port 10G switch with 40G uplinks. It was to ship later this year, sources said at the time.

It still might. But now that Cisco's rolled out 40G Ethernet modules for the Nexus 7000 and perhaps some uplinks soon for the Nexus 5000s, as well as extending Nexus Fabric Extenders, it at least appears that Nexus and FabricPath are fairly well along in the data center fabric investment and development cycle.

As a result, Jawbreaker has been retargeted toward the enterprise, some fabric sources believe. Its application there could be a higher-speed, lower-latency campuswide fabric as an adjunct or upgrade to the Catalyst installed base.

"It's being done by the Catalyst group," one fabric source said. "It may be refocused on campus only. But as a data center fabric, the rumor mill seems to be losing some steam."

Another option for Jawbreaker could be as a switch/controller for SDNs, especially now that rival HP is focusing OpenFlow on the enterprise with the recent introduction of 16 OpenFlow-enabled switches. OpenFlow/SDN control of merchant silicon-based hardware is said to be a threat to Cisco's custom ASIC/tightly coupled software-based switch dominance in enterprises.

And though Jawbreaker is said to be based on merchant silicon, there's a component sources say wasn't: the fabric core, which one SDN source called a "parent" switch. The parent was to be a typical Cisco development of a platform based on custom ASICs tightly coupled with the switch software.

This Jawbreaker parent was under the purview of Cisco engineers Tom Edsall and Dinesh Dutt until both jumped over to Insieme, the distributed data storage/OpenStack/SDN(?) startup said to be negotiating a spin-in deal with Cisco, the SDN source says. Now the Jawbreaker parent may be at Insieme because its parents are.

"There are two pieces to this strategy," the SDN source says. "The first was getting a merchant silicon based platform out the door based on Trident+ from Broadcom. The second was a 'parent' switch. This second piece is exactly what Tom and Dinesh were working on at Cisco before they left."

Edsall and Dutt's involvement with Insieme could not be confirmed. But another fabric source says the engineers could have left Jawbreaker behind if they jumped to Insieme.

This source says he believes Jawbreaker has been canceled entirely since QFabric, its market quarry, has been hobbled by a purported slow ramp in sales. Juniper says QFabric is exceeding market expectations.

And since Jawbreaker was largely based on merchant silicon and likely less expensive to make, it was just as inexpensive -- for Cisco, anyway -- to kill it. Marketing mockups are usually one and done projects.

"If they will deliver this at this point or use this technology as the basis for what Mario and Co. are doing is not clear," the SDN source says.

"Cisco can afford to have multiple projects that overlap and not necessarily bring all of them to market," a fabric source says.

Friday, April 6, 2012

The Journey to the Enterprise Cloud

Cloud computing is the next big technology today among organizations. Discover what your cloud strategy is, how to apply it to your own business effectively.

Thursday, April 12 2012, 09:00am, India time (Mumbai, GMT+05:30)

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