The Cisco Open Network Environment (ONE) is a programmable framework that allows users to customize and hone the value of a more intelligent network and is key component of Cisco software-defined networking (SDN) strategies. The Cisco vision for ONE is being folded into Cisco’s Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) strategy. Cisco ONE was a keystone advance in Cisco’s SDN model, and is made up of three components as part of a multi-faceted approach:
- Controllers and agents: a production-ready OpenFlow Controller and OpenFlow agent.
- Programmatic Interfaces: a strong collection of application programming interfaces (APIs) that are exposed directly on switches/routers to support existing OpenFlow requirements.
- Virtual network overlays: a suite of products that delivers virtual overlays, virtual services, and resource orchestration capabilities in the data center.
The Cisco ONE Controller was released in 2013, representing a major milestone in Cisco’s execution and delivery of the ONE framework. It’s a software package that acts as an interface between northbound and southbound APIs. It supports the SDN-standard OpenFlow.
Cisco’s ONE Controller Use Flow Chart
Cisco ONE Controller customers can use the hundreds of APIs, in Cisco’s One Platform Kit (onePK), to access the data inside their network. OnePK exposes existing features and capabilities within Cisco’s switches and routers. It can integrate with PyCharm, PyDev, Eclipse, IDLE, NetBeans, among others, and support languages such as Java and Python.
When released, Cisco announced three applications for the Cisco ONE Controller:
- Network slicing: most often linked with multi-tenant networks, which allow a single instance of the software to run on a server for multiple distinct customers, the Controller can slice the network to new, separate pathways,
- Network tapping: similar to Big Switch’s Big Tap product, the ONE Controller uses flow-based network matching to recreate traffic for external monitoring,
- Custom forwarding: applies specific changes to selected traffic, such as setting dynamic quality of service (QoS) policies or manual path selections.
Cisco describes the ONE Controller as unlike other OpenFlow Controllers because it delivers many production ready capabilities, including troubleshooting features, role-based access control, and topology-independent forwarding.