Uncommon Wisdom

Mar 10 2010   1:04PM GMT

Cisco’s big new router doesn’t address networking’s future

Tom Nolle Tom Nolle Profile: Tom Nolle

Cisco’s much-hyped announcement today turned out to be the announcement of a bigger router, something that disappointed most of the financial analysts who cover the company and created some challenges for the technical press, who wanted to make a big story out of something that wasn’t easy to sell as one.

There were some interesting elements in the Cisco announcement relating to features that would provide tighter integration between transport network bandwidth and VPN topology and content and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) resources. Network Positioning System uses routing protocols to find virtual resources and join them to MPLS VPNs, but details on this are scarce, and we’re not sure how sophisticated the process is with respect to finding the right virtual resources given differences in network behavior.

In any event, this has to be something more than a core router feature, so it’s not rightfully a CRS-3 justification. Our view on the issue of big iron remains unchanged. Yes, you’ll need more capacity if operators can make carrying traffic profitable on a larger scale, but making traffic profitable is a mission big iron can’t fulfill. What may be the most interesting thing about the announcement is how unimpressed the media has been with the story. Could the industry be growing up? Doubtful, but for sure networking isn’t about bits and boxes any more. Hopefully vendors will figure out what it is about.

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