Friday, June 21, 2024

Cisco CTO: The Network Is Evolving

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LAS VEGAS. Cisco CTO Padmasree Warrior took the keynote stage at the Interop conference today to detail where the world of networking has been and where it is going. It’s a world where the network’s value is about individual users.

Warrior began by explaining that the first phase of the networks evolution was just about getting access. The second phase was the digital revolution, where ecommerce and IP telephony took root. In the third phase, which is what we are in today, the network economy with social networking mobile and cloud are the key driving factors. Looking forward, the next phase is the so-called human network, which will deliver a fully immersive digital world where experiences will all be more contextual.

As those shifts occur, the size of the Internet is doubling every 5.32 years. Warrior said that size increase means more traffic, bandwidth and devices. While at the same time there will like be more threat and attacks.

“We will see big shifts in the future due to social collaboration and big data,” Warrior said. “And right now, organizations need to think about BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), seamless access and having real time analytics.”

While BYOD is an important trend, Warrior stressed that in the modern enterprise, mobility is about more than that. Mobility is also about application mobility and the requirement that users have to bring applications from the office to anytime and anywhere environments.

Adding to the challenges of the modern enterprise is the need to provide security as well as improving overall IT efficiency.

“The network is at the center for enabling change and addressing challenges,” Warrior said.

Cisco has a multi-step vision to help deal with the challenges of IT networking today. The first step is to have visibility into what devices users are using and then expose that information to enable app mobility. Networks also need to be aware of application information and then be able to apply real time analysis to deliver a better user experience.

Network programmability is another key factor to enable modern enterprise networks. Warrior explained that Cisco’s view is that there needs to be a set of protocols that are modular that can be tuned. Additionally the network has to be manageable and have the right automation to help improve IT productivity.

“There is lots of discussion around Software Defined Networking and Cisco is investing in this area,” Warrior said. “However we want people to think more broadly about it.”

The open source OpenFlow protocol is at the core of the SDN revolution. OpenFlow delivers programmability for the control and data planes. Warrior said that it is her view that there is value in the network at multiple levels, not just the control plane and the data plane.

“The Cisco open programmable environment allows for access to multiple layers in the stack,” Warrior said. “OpenFlow does data and control flow – we believe there is a use case for that, but there are other use cases where we have to provide access to other layers.”

The future and the present of IT is also about the cloud, which requires secure access.

“We believe the network provides a huge role in connecting people to both private and public clouds,” Warrior said. “In June, we’re announcing Cisco Cloud Connect, which will allow for secure connections to data centers.”

Overall, Warrior noted that networking is now in a period of transition.

“This is an important time in the industry, where we’re about to re-invent the fundamentals,” Warrior said.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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