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Hey Cisco, Hey Poncho ... "We don't need no stinking open networking"

200px-Ciscocomics.jpgSince 1907, The Cisco Kid has been a popular fictional character found in numerous movies, radio, televisions shows and comic books.  Today, the new Cisco Kid is a technology network behemoth that has a fictional approach to Software-Defined-Networking (SDN) that even The Register has captioned as comical.  Cisco's new sidekick Poncho is Insieme, a $750 million spin-in strategy investment where Cisco hopes to protect its large networking hardware revenue stream by coating it with the veil of SDN.  Unfortunately, what results is more hardware tied to proprietary software residing in a closed ecosystem.

 

Cisco would counter this with their position that they have published numerous APIs within their data model. This however, is a far cry from HP's adoption of OpenFlow as well as other open standards to offer true SDN that provides maximum flexibility for its customers. How can something be open if you have to highly customize it in order for it to communicate with the core equipment your IT ecosystem relies?

 

So where is the security play here in my blog? Well it is in Cisco's launch of their App-Centric Security tools.  When I review their market announcement of their SDN security play, I see seemingly cool features; however, only available for their products - hardly the open format the industry is moving toward. I agree that being able to manage all their firewalls and security appliances as a single pane of glass is cool, but what about the myriad of other security tools that we all use? Oh right, the library of APIs they offer. I don't know about you, but I would rather spend my time protecting what's important than writing APIs.  Remember the promise of open Identity Management (IdM) systems and connectors and APIs? Enough said.

 

I would like to be regaled with your stories of encounters with the new Cisco Kid, drop me a line and let me know how you feel about open vs. closed SDN security approaches.

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About the Author
Tari is a Distinguished Technologist with 30 years of IT and cyber security experience. He is dual board certified in information security/b...


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