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Rethinking the Network

Michael Bushong

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Top Stories by Michael Bushong

A little while ago I wrote about the differences between routing and switching, or probably more the difference between ethernet and IP forwarding. The focus of that article was very much on the differences between the two from a forwarding hardware perspective. This article last week from Brent Salisbury triggered a bunch of additional thoughts around scale and size. As some sense of disclosure, in my previous job at Nortel/Avaya I was part of the team that pushed Shortest Path Bridging (SPB) spearheaded by Paul Unbehagen. I am a fan of SPB, I believe it is an extremely well thought out mechanism to provide network based virtualized ethernet networks with many real life practical roots in the learnings from MPLS and early more static solutions like PBB and PBT. One of the questions I have been asked many times with respect to SPB is: "how big can I scale my SPB m... (more)

Pods, orchestration and scale

Our first generation of data center switching products brought together SDN and photonic switching in support of an application-driven movement we call Affinity Networking. Our central thesis has long been that our industry has to collectively move beyond what has been a static networking environment. The challenges of managing edge policy have only gotten worse as the infrastructure around the network has become more fluid. It stands to reason that the network simply had to transition as well, from static to responsive. The notion that the network needs to be more of a willing pa... (more)

What Is Application-Centric Infrastructure?

With the launch of Cisco's software-defined networking startup Insieme expected tomorrow, our industry is about to hear a lot about "application-centric" everything. So what does "application-centric infrastructure" mean? First, some basics: Networking is about connecting computing devices and systems so they can share data. Networking infrastructures are built with a combination of hardware such as gateways, routers, and switches that manage the movement of the data as well as software applications that enable you to do things like access the Internet and send email. As you co... (more)

Creating High-Performance Teams: Get Rid of Judgment

The biggest difference between high-performance teams and more average teams is that the high-performance group actually acts like a team. That statement is so obvious, I am going to let it stand on its own. If you look at most groups, they tend to act less like teams and more like loose affiliations of individuals that are connected through a common manager. The manager is an orchestrator, maybe even a facilitator at times, but that doesn’t mean the group is really a team. Rather, they are individual contributors that are linked by a common task management protocol. Too many peo... (more)

SDN and Innovation Base Camps

SDN is almost universally associated with disruption; the general consensus being that it is a significant departure from the way networking has been handled for decades. Insofar as SDN marks a major architectural shift, it absolutely should be considered a disruption. But how does disruption relate to innovation in general? And how do customers navigate an environment that is subject to disruption? It certainly is not the case that all innovation is disruptive. In the general case, an existing architecture serves as the starting point for innovation. From that starting point, t... (more)