Raising the Bar in Open Souce Capabilities: Cisco and Red Hat

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April 2, 2014

Tim Burke, vice president, Virtualization and Cloud Development, Red Hat

Red Hat, as the leading open source enterprise company, firmly believes that collaborative development is the driving force of innovation. Linux and OpenStack are just a few remarkable examples of what can be accomplished through this community-powered innovation. Currently, cloud is changing everything. It is a wave of new thinking driven not by any single vendor, but rather by the true needs of agile deployment - focused on dynamic orchestration of compute, storage, and network services. Manual steps are the enemy of automation and quickly become the weak link in realizing the true value of cloud. Beyond this, the growing complexity of deployment and operations as a result of dynamic cloud services, and scale and elasticity requirements necessitates a new way of thinking.

This is why Red Hat is excited to be collaborating with Cisco to offer our customers an Application Centric Infrastructure that is integrated with Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform, delivered by Red Hat. Together we are concentrating on taking an application-centric approach to automating the configuration of networks in a secure, performance-optimized manner.

To realize the promise of agile, application centric networking requires tight integration of the Linux operating system platform and KVM hypervisor with advanced policy-based networking provided by Cisco's Application Centric Infrastructure. In an earlier blog, my colleague Paul Cormier shared his thoughts on the strategic importance of this collaboration and integration. This integration involves several levels:

  • OpenStack Networking (Neutron) - network plugins enabling the configuration and policy, as well as upcoming OpenStack Orchestration (Heat) program.

  • Open vSwitch - by integrating Cisco's OpFlex interfaces supporting policy, we accelerate the ability to efficiently perform configuration between switches and controllers.

  • OpenDaylight - controller level complement to above components enabling the policy and configuration to take effect on the network plane.

The most awesome aspect of Cicso's collaboration with Red Hat to drive this open source innovation is that by working together, writing code and defining the interfaces with the community, we are creating de facto multi-vendor standardization. In turn, this is setting the direction for the realization of agile networking. Beyond this, it helps to address the growing complextity I referred to earlier by enabling application developers to describe network configuration and policy in high level abstraction that is much more natural to their needs.

To be clear, this effort is far more than a simple vendor plugin. Rather, Cisco is truly raising the bar in open source capabilities and setting the direction in open source software by abstracting networking configuration and policy tailored to the application.

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