- Cisco shared further details behind its ‘Internet for the Future’ technology strategy based on development investments in Silicon+Optics+Software.
- Cisco Silicon OneTM, a first-ever single, unified silicon architecture that can serve anywhere in the network and be used in any form factor.
- New Cisco 8000 Series, the first platform built with Silicon One and new IOS XR7 operating system.
- Cisco 8000 Series set to reduce cost of building and operating mass scale networks to run digital applications and services such as 5G, video and cloud.
- New flexible business model options that enable customers to consume new innovation in new ways that best fit their business needs.
- AT&T, Century Link, Comcast, Facebook, Microsoft and The Walt Disney Studios share insights on joint innovation and the needs of the next Internet
Cisco announced its “Internet of the Future” strategy at a December 11th event in San Francisco, CA. The highlight of the announcement was Cisco’s Silicon One chip, which is a unified silicon architecture that can work anywhere in the network and be used in any form factor. Silicon One, along with Cisco’s new IOS XR7 operating system, is powering Cisco’s new 800 series routers that were designed for hyperscale web operators and large service providers to power applications and services, such as 5G core network, video streaming and 400GE transport.
“Innovation requires focused investment, the right team and a culture that values imagination,” said Cisco Chairman and CEO Chuck Robbins, in a press release. “We are dedicated to transforming the industry to build a new internet for the 5G era. Our latest solutions in silicon, optics and software represent the continued innovation we’re driving that helps our customers stay ahead of the curve and create new, ground-breaking experiences for their customers and end users for decades to come.”
The next-generation of internet infrastructure combines Cisco’s new silicon architecture with its next-generation of optics. Cisco says its strategy will change the economics behind how the internet will be built to support the demands of future, digital applications and will enable customers to operate their businesses with simpler, more cost-effective networks.
Cisco’s strategy is based on development and investments in three key technology areas: silicon, optics and software.
“Pushing the boundaries of innovation to the next level — far beyond what we experience today — is critical for the future and we believe silicon, optics and software are the technology levers that will deliver this outcome,” said David Goeckeler, executive vice president and general manager of the Networking and Security Business at Cisco.
“Cisco’s technology strategy is not about the next-generation of a single product area. We have spent the past several years investing in whole categories of independent technologies that we believe will converge in the future — and ultimately will allow us to solve the hardest problems on the verge of eroding the advancement of digital innovation. This strategy is delivering the most ambitious development project the company has ever achieved.”
Silicon One will be the foundation of Cisco’s routing portfolio going forward, with expected near-term performance availability up to 25 Terabits per second (Tbps). Cisco says it is the industry’s first networking chip designed to be universally adaptable across service provider and web-scale markets. Designed for both fixed and modular platforms, it can manage the most challenging requirements in a way that’s never been done before. The first Cisco Silicon One ‘Q100’ model surpasses the 10 Tbps routing milestone for network bandwidth without sacrificing programmability, buffering, power efficiency, scale or feature flexibility.
Traditionally, multiple types of silicon with different capabilities are used across a network and even within a single device. Developing new features and testing can be lengthy and expensive. Unified and programmable silicon will allow for network operators to greatly reduce costs of operations and reduce time-to-value for new services.
The new Cisco 8000 series is the first platform built with Cisco Silicon One Q100. It is engineered to help service providers and web-scale companies reduce the costs of building and operating mass-scale networks for the 5G, AI and IOT era. Key features include:
- Optimized for 400 Gbps and beyond, starting at 10.8 Tbps in just a single rack unit
- Powered by the new, cloud-enhanced Cisco IOS XR7 networking operating system software, designed to simplify operations and lower operational costs
- Offers enhanced cybersecurity with integrated trust technology for real-time insights into the trustworthiness of your critical infrastructure
- Service providers gain more bandwidth scale and programmability to deliver Tbps in even the most power and space constrained network locations
Cisco is also supporting Microsoft-developed SONiC (Software for Open Networking in the Cloud) OCP software in its 800 series routers.
Global Customer Deployments and Trials:
Cisco is working with a group of pioneering customers on deployments and trials of the Cisco 8000 Series. STC, the leading telecom services provider in the Middle East, Northern Africa region, marks the first customer deploying the new technology. Ongoing trials include Comcast and NTT Communications among others.
“We look forward to working with Cisco as it enters the high-end routing silicon space, collaborating to help meet the next generation of network demands for higher speeds and greater capacity,” said Amin Vahdat, fellow and vice president of Systems Infrastructure, Google Cloud.
“Facebook has been a strong advocate for network disaggregation and open ecosystems, launching key industry initiatives such as the Open Compute Project and the Telecom Infrastructure Project to transform the networking industry,” said Najam Ahmad, vice president, Network Engineering at Facebook. “Cisco’s new Silicon One architecture is aligned with this vision, and we believe this model offers network operators diverse and flexible options through a disaggregated approach.”
“It’s aggregation through disaggregation,” said Scott Raynovich, founder and chief analyst of Futuriom. “Cisco clearly thinks the way to compete in web scale is to deliver its own optical platform with a vertically oriented system and a new, disaggregated OS — which also means it can protect profit margins by owning its own components. The cloud so far is being built on disaggregation — so it will be interesting to see how the market receives this.”
“Cisco is changing the economics of powering the Internet, innovating across hardware, software, optics and silicon to help its customers better manage the operational costs to function on a larger scale for the next phase of the Internet,” said Ray Mota, CEO and principal analyst at ACG Research. “As we move to 2020, the timing of delivering operational efficiency will be vital.”
Optics for 400G and Beyond:
Building a new internet that can support future digital innovation will depend on continued breakthroughs in silicon and optics technologies. Cisco is unique in the industry with advanced intellectual property in both areas.
As port rates increase from 100G to 400G and beyond, optics become an increasingly larger portion of the cost to build and operate internet infrastructure. Cisco is investing organically to assure our customers that as router and switch port rates continue to increase, optics will be designed to meet the industry’s stringent reliability and quality standards.
Through the company’s qualification program, Cisco will test its optics to comply with industry standards and operate in Cisco – and non-Cisco hosts. With this program, customers can utilize Cisco optics in applications where non-Cisco hosts have been deployed and have confidence that the optics will meet the reliability and quality standards that they have come to expect from Cisco.
In addition, as silicon and silicon photonics advance, functions that were traditionally delivered in separate chassis-based solutions will soon be available in pluggable form factors. This transition has significant potential benefits for network operators in terms of operational simplicity. Cisco is investing in silicon photonics technologies to effect architectural transitions in data center networks and service provider networks that will drive down cost, reduce power and space, and simplify network operations.
Cisco rival Juniper Networks announced a major reboot to its MX routing platform last year, which included new silicon—which gives Juniper’s MX routers a 50% increase in efficiency—more programmability and more chassis options, but Juniper isn’t able to match the breadth of Cisco’s Internet of the Future platform.