« Platform, Macrovision Announce Grid Licensing Solution | Main | Levanta puts Linux management in a box »
Sunday
Jun262005

Cisco's Application-Oriented Networking

It seems to me that the examples provided by Cisco by which to offer up the value of AON are a bit lame. The article does point out that customers don't quite get it yet, and that the use of XML-based messaging seems (in their minds) to be of equivalent value as that provided by (usually proprietary) middleware.

What puzzles me (and which might be made clearer if I had more insight into what functionality AON does and does not provide) is the emphasis on making the network "aware" of the application and it's requirements, rather than the inverse -- making the application aware of the network, its status and how best to modify application behavior or direct the network "from above."

Link: InformationWeek > Application-Oriented Networking > Can Cisco Sell Its Smarter-Network Vision? > June 24, 2005.

... Still, the vendor has some convincing to do. "Cisco is taking a big risk, because it has yet to see whether companies are ready to put their applications on [an AON] network," says Ken Presti, an analyst at research firm IDC.

An AON-enabled network could recognize sensitive data and add security features to it, Cisco officials explain. Or it could view the contents of a purchase order in transit and ensure that it reaches its correct destination. Today, such functions typically are handled by middleware.

"AON will add a level of intelligence that will allow the network to understand the information coming from applications, as well as perform various functions on the information," Chambers says.

Yet some customers attending Cisco's Networkers 2005 user conference earlier this week said they don't quite understand the technology. Others, while finding the technology interesting, think it could be years before it's applicable to their companies.

"Our network is still going through changes, and we're not completely converged yet, so I'm still not exactly sure where [AON] would fit into our business," says Eddy Youkhanna, manager of global network architecture and engineering at financial-services firm Marsh & McLennan Cos., which is a Cisco customer. Cisco AON appears to be geared toward service providers that heavily rely on XML as a messaging protocol, something not widely used at Marsh, Youkhanna says. Cisco is betting the value of its technology will become clearer. BT Radianz, which provides network services to traders and brokers, is an early AON tester, building a service based on the technology that will give customers more detailed views of their transactions. "What traders want to know is not how long bits take to get across the wire, but how long it takes for an order to get to a broker and for [a broker] to acknowledge the order and respond," BT Radianz CTO Brenna Carley says.

A handful of smaller vendors sell application-aware networks, including Ciena, DataPower Technology, and NetScaler, with varying approaches. If Cisco's technology succeeds, analyst Presti says, it will help validate the concept.

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Post:
 
All HTML will be escaped. Hyperlinks will be created for URLs automatically.