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Roadmap: Cisco's AON

 

 

When Cisco Systems announced its Application-Oriented Networking line in June 2005, the market was abuzz with speculation on the technology and the sudden importance of XML to the company. Thinking the announcement heralded the acceptance of XML in the enterprise, other vendors began to snatch up XML and service-oriented architecture vendors as if they were berries ripe for the picking. Less than a month after the announcement, Intel acquired Sarvega. In October, IBM snatched up DataPower Technology. And this January saw the acquisition of Actional by Progress Software, which, you may recall, is the parent of enterprise service bus vendor Sonic Software.

Now the noise has died down and the AON product line appears to have sunk into obscurity as quickly as it came into the limelight. More than a year has passed since the announcement, and competitors F5 Networks and NetScaler/Citrix, among others, report they have still not caught a glimpse of the "mythical AON" in the field. Many have even begun to question whether the product exists.

Trust us, it does. The AON line is still in controlled availability, which means it may be a while before you see products in enterprise IT on a grand scale. Cisco is being careful with AON--the risks to the line's, and Cisco's, reputation are too high, and the networking giant isn't taking chances with one of the core building blocks in its IIN (Intelligent Information Network) initiative.

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