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Cisco's CIO Calls For Speed And Agility At Interop

Wednesday's Interop Las Vegasconference featured Rebecca Jacoby, SVP and CIO of Cisco. Network Computing Managing Editor Marcia Savage and I followed the action in the comments below. Add your own thoughts or ask a question, and we'll be sure to follow up.

Jacoby explained how the role of the CIO has become more visible and an opportunity for innovation as technology has become more important to businesses, having progressed from simple connectivity to the networked economy, a world of digital interactions, and now the Internet of everything.

"IT is changing faster than we can imagine," said Jacoby. She urged IT leaders to adopt a new IT model that is agile and helps IT act as a catalyst for change. Policy-driven architectures and leveraging the knowledge of the community toward delivering those architectures are important, she said.

As an example, Cisco also announced the OpFlex open protocol Wednesday at Interop. Cisco said OpFlex, used in conjunction with its Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC) controller, will allow customers to streamline management of multi-vendor networks. In announcing the protocol, Cisco said its approach with ACI differs from the OpenFlow-based approach, which it described as putting all intelligence in a controller that becomes a bottleneck.

In contrast, ACI uses a distributed policy model. Cisco is proposing OpFlex as an industry standard with the IETF, and is also working with OpenDaylight, the open-source SDN industry initiative, to create an open source ACI-compatible policy model and OpFlex reference architecture.

Jacoby showed data indicating that internally Cisco expects to see improvements from SDN in terms of network provisioning, operations and management, compute, storage, and data center networking. Focusing on data integrity, embedding security, and connecting people as well as technology are priorities for Cisco moving forward, she said.