Reorg complete, Cisco hops back on the acquisition trail

Cisco, an incredibly active acquirer, is ready to start doing deals again, according to John Chambers. We think it should be focusing on the cloud and beefing up its core networking skills by buying some of the companies we list in our story.

HP hops on the OpenFlow train with 16 new switches

Programmable networks could mean less downtime.


HP (s hpq) is following other big systems makers into the world of software defined networking with a line of 16 OpenFlow-enabled switches. That’s a pretty serious commitment to OpenFlow, a protocol that helps take the intelligence associated with routing packets off of the high-priced switching gear and puts it on commodity servers.
HP not only introduced OpenFlow enabled switches, but said that customers with existing HP switches can download software that will add OpenFlow capabilities to their current gear. This looks like a far bigger committment than IBM’s (s ibm) and NEC’s effort to build out a hardware and services package around OpenFlow and software defined networking from earlier this month, and is a continuation of the trend toward OpenFlow making it into production environments this year.
OpenFlow and software defined networking has been a topic for academics, webscale vendors and carriers, as they seek to do to routers and switches what virtualization did for servers — make them more agile and scalable. OpenFlow is just one tool to build SDNs while Juniper(s jnpr), Cisco (s csco) and other vendors also offer tools for network virtualization. Of course, most vendors say they will support the OpenFlow protocol as well, including Cisco, the vendor that stands to be hurt the most if OpenFlow ushers in an age of folks buying cheap switches and shifting the networking intelligence to commodity servers.
As we add more devices to the network they have to scale out better, and as IT relies more on on-demand compute and storage, the networking has to become as flexible as the virtualized servers that spin up and down. The network becomes a bottleneck if every time you want to add capacity to your cloud or associate new networking policies with a series of virtual machines, someone has to manually unplug boxes or install new load balancing or firewall gear. Virtualization and software defined networks are seen as the solution.
HP said that so far it has more than 10 million OpenFlow-capable switch ports deployed, which is tiny number compared to the overall switch market. However, it’s not alone in pushing OpenFlow, and it has made quite a commitment with a full upgrade of its existing switches and 16 new ones on offer.

IBM and NEC team up to take on Cisco

IBM has teamed up with NEC to deliver an OpenFlow-based controller-and-switch combo that tries to find the sweet spot in software-defined networking between expensive, proprietary gear from Cisco or Juniper and the brand-new, open-sourced stuff that startups and webscale companies are peddling.

World IPv6 switch-over event scheduled for June 6

The Internet Society is organizing a pow wow of big ISPs, web companies and networking equipment providers on June 6 to ceremonially bury the world’s current Internet protocol, IPv4, and permanently implement its successor, IPv6.

Today in Cloud

Networking giant Cisco today announced CloudVerse, a rationalisation of its existing cloud products plus a sprinkling of new pieces to sweeten the pot. As Arik Hesseldahl put it over on All Things D, “Today, Cisco finally laid out a cohesive strategy to become a significant player in the cloud business.” Like many larger players in the enterprise IT space, Cisco has struggled to integrate individually strong acquisitions (and home grown solutions) into something compelling. The whole has, typically, been anything but stronger than the sum of its parts; the exact opposite of what execs usually hope to achieve. Encompassing data center infrastructure, cloud applications, and the “intelligent network,” the new vision is certainly far-reaching, and Cisco has something to offer in each place. The trick will be ensuring that the company continues to offer individual components (network switches, for example, as well as pieces higher up the stack) that other companies are happy to depend upon; other companies that may very well compete with other pieces of the sprawling Cisco portfolio. Larry Dignan notes that, at least for now, some of those competitors appear happy to “adopt the Cisco framework.”