Is Cisco undermining IP?

Sitting in the NetEvents conference in Singapore discussing networking, I perked up when I heard a panellist -- IT exec Richard Kagan from Infoblox to be specific -- argue that we're in danger of losing the standardisation that IP enables. And without IP, we'd have no Internet.

Sitting in the NetEvents conference in Singapore discussing networking, I perked up when I heard a panellist -- IT exec Richard Kagan from Infoblox to be specific -- argue that we're in danger of losing the standardisation that IP enables. And without IP, we'd have no Internet.

He started by reminding us that there used to be lots of different ways of moving data from A to B, such as SNA, DECNet, IPX/SPX and lots of other network protocols, all tied to a specific vendor. When IP came along, data started moving seamlessly across and between vendors' equipment.

The danger now, said Kagan, is that moving data between and within datacentres is starting to be done in a proprietary manner - HP and Cisco do it in different ways, for example. It's not that your data files themselves are in danger. What's prompted this is Cisco's declaration of war within the datacentre when it introduced UCS, followed by HP's response.

So when data moves within those proprietary mini-clouds within the datacentre, there's no standard for those networks. It's especially important when virtual machines need to move around, since this is currently and area where proprietary solutions are the order of the day.

So what we need is standardisation, reckons Kagan, pointing to the Open Cloud Consortium as just one body that's trying to bring some standardisation to this area.

Without an opportunity yet to investigate this fully, it's hard to argue whether this is the way forward or not, or even if this is a real problem.

But it is the first time in a decade that I've heard anyone say that the standardisation that IP brings -- and which enables the Internet -- is in danger.

Scared? You might be.

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