1. Cisco Responds To SDN Threat
By nature, the SDN trend seemed to spell bad news for network hardware vendors, shifting the focus away from proprietary networking gear to software, commoditized hardware, and white-box switches and routers. That's why, everyone, it seemed, was waiting to see how Cisco would respond. In November, they got their answer: Cisco's Application-Centric Infrastructure (ACI). Developed in conjunction with Cisco's wholly owned subsidiary Insieme Networks, ACI, Cisco said, represents the next evolution beyond the software-overlay SDN solutions that the bulk of its competitors tout. Underpinning ACI is a new line of Cisco switches called the Nexus 9000 and Cisco's new Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC). After the launch, Cisco got some flak from competitors who argued that, because a new line of Cisco switches anchor ACI, it doesn't promote the open, vendor-agnostic environment capable with other new SDN technologies. Cisco maintains that ACI is more scalable, easier to manage and can provide more visibility into physical and virtual environments than competing solutions. Time will tell which argument pulls more weight.