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Cisco, VMware take SDN battle to policy arena

Jim Duffy | April 7, 2014
Cisco ACI and OpenStack/VMware's upcoming 'Congress' intended to keep customers in the fold.

IBM says any sense that it is taking a back seat to Cisco in OpenDaylight is off target.

"We are actually increasing our involvement and have many new IBM engineers on the project," says Inder Gopal, vice president, networking development and technical strategy at IBM, and an OpenDaylight board member. "The total number of IBM engineers involved with (OpenDaylight) is larger than it has ever been. The SDN work in IBM is now closely aligned with our cloud systems work, making it central to IBM strategy. And the (OpenDaylight Technical Steering Committee) is very much a meritocracy. New elections will shortly open up TSC seats that will be directly elected by community members. And many other platinum members such as Brocade and Red Hat have stepped up their engagement in a major way. To portray this as a parochial Cisco effort is quite unfair and does not do justice to the dedication and passion of the hundreds of engineers who are working to create a true open source platform that can be of immense value to the industry."

VMware is also a member of OpenDaylight but a rival of Cisco's in SDNs, network virtualization and now, application policy infrastructure. VMware and its partners are spearheading an OpenStack project called "Congress" that is focused on declaring, auditing and enforcing policy in heterogeneous cloud environments.

Congress is intended to provide policy as a service across any collection of cloud services in order to offer governance and compliance of those services with business-level policies. Even though Congress is an OpenStack effort, vendors will compete to add value on the open-system model by developing the application policy engine and how it defines relevant communication with and instruction to the infrastructure, Casemore said.

Congress is expected to be explained further at the OpenStack Summit May 12-16 in Atlanta. VMware plans to use it as a base for its policy engine and analytics, sources say.

Once Congress is launched, the table will be set for an application policy infrastructure showdown between Cisco and VMware, raising the stakes from network virtualization for configuration management to automating the infrastructure for business policy.

"Once you own policy you own the account," said one VMware source.


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