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  • 1. Cisco AON Positioning & StrategyJohn Foster & Lakshmana KattulaAugust 2006V0.9
  • 2. DOCUMENT PURPOSEThis document has been prepared by C&C Technology Consulting as a briefing andrecommendations paper. Its intended audience is Cisco staff involved and working with C&C onAON and internal consultants and management involved with the Cisco AON initiatives. Itspurpose is to position where C&C believe Cisco’s AON technology offering currently is, how thiscontrasts to other major players and initiatives in the market and what C&C believe theopportunities and Cisco’s future strategy for AON should be.BACKGROUND INFORMATIONC&C Technology Consulting initially became involved with Cisco in relation to AON technology inDecember 2005. C&C were well known to Cisco for consulting and design work in the networkand application areas with BAA in the UK. Via the BAA AM C&C established contact with the AONBusiness Unit (BU) through Grant McNulty and began to consider its capabilities as a technologythat could add value to C&C’s clients and consulting portfolio.C&C has now been working with the BU and AON for 8 months and has recently completedinvestments and training which make C&C the first UK ATP partner and in the position of havinga number of fully trained AON consultants as well as a others with good understanding of thetechnology. As part of C&C’s ATP initiatives and go to market approach two streams of activityhave been undertaken recently which have provided the background detail for this paperincluding: Due diligence on the current status of the technology and approaches taken by Cisco in marketing and positioning the product. Workshops aimed at reviewing pilots to date and developing repeatable usage scenarios and solutions that C&C believe can be taken to market with the current product offeringThe purpose of these activities is to ensure that C&C, working with Cisco, can leverage themaximum traction and market adoption for AON Technology now and in the future.C&C TECHNOLOGY EXPERIENCEC&C Technology Consulting have provided IT infrastructure consultancy services and solutions tothe corporate market place for over 10 years. Over this time C&C has developed a unique blendof both networking and application expertise that is demonstrated in our portfolio of services andsolutions; ranging from major infrastructure and networking design projects to applicationarchitecture and optimisation services such as performance testing and troubleshooting. Being asmall integrated team of around 30 consultants gives C&C the ability to create highly competentsolutions and consultancy teams that can really understand and deliver services based uponcomplex application and infrastructure technologies.
  • 3. EXECUTIVE SUMMARYThe middleware and application integration markets are undergoing significant change as a resultof SOA design ideas and the widespread adoption of Web Services within organisations. This istransforming how vendors and organisations are looking at middleware infrastructure with theemergence of the Enterprise Service Bus (ESB), new application platforms and appliances as wellas new types of B2B software.These changes provide a significant opportunity, if the strategy is right, for Cisco and its partnersto capitalise on a position of strength in the corporate network through SONA and ApplicationOriented Networking (AON). It is C&C’s view that Cisco should position AON as a key part ofCisco SONA and as a complimentary not competitive technology to the major establishedplayers within the application and middleware markets such as IBM, Oracle, Microsoft and SAP. Itis co-operative, mutually beneficial partnerships with these organisations that will be critical todriving AON’s success.The analogy that can be drawn is that of TCP/IP protocols and the massive influence Cisco havehad in this area since its beginning. There was a time when TCP/IP protocol stacks cost a lot ofmoney and the implementation and routing of TCP/IP and related protocols was done at a serverlevel – much like application platforms and middleware are now (in the main). The router andCisco’s huge impact on this area of infrastructure has meant that this has been consigned tohistory and network devices handle all of this and a lot more today.This point around what network devices handle today is also very relevant; Cisco and many of itscompetitors have been introducing and adding value to the application layer for many years.This has resulted in load balancing, content switching, acceleration, QoS, traffic shaping andmany other technologies being embedded into network devices but addressing the applicationlayer. This is how AON should be positioned, developed and marketed - as a critical part of SONAand a logical evolution (not revolution) of this application intelligence.Over recent times a number of niche and larger players have entered the market providingappliance or networked based solutions to a variety of SOA, XML and application integrationchallenges. It is C&C’s view that with its strong presence and reputation in the corporate networkCisco should compete head on with these vendors and take the market lead, providing the bestin class infrastructure that enables organisations to implement SOA services network. This meansfocusing on the lower layer of functionality and capabilities that exist within the middlewareplatforms and developing partnerships to ensure this integrates with solutions from the majorplayers in the market place and supports the key open standards. To this end the AON productshould focus on the following services: XML Acceleration, Security, Offload and processing Edge Network Functions - Security, Encryption, SSL Termination Integration – providing the common infrastructure for high end software solutions such as IBM, Tibco, BEA and Oracle to everyday integration such as FTP: o Message routing o Message Transformation o VisibilityCisco should gain traction in for AON through this positioning and build on its strength andtrusted position of trust within the networking market to deliver the SOA infrastructure
  • 4. AON – CURRENT STRENGTHS & WEAKNESSESThe information presented in the tables below show where in the SOA infrastructure landscapethe AON offering currently sits in comparison to the other players and what it’s strengths andweaknesses are in C&C’s opinion. XML Appliance Vendors (Vordel, Big Vendors (IBM, SAP, Oracle, Forum, F5, Reactivity, Sarvega) Webmethods, BEA Weblogic) Progress Sonic Actional Traditional EAI (Tibco, Systinet (Mercury) SOA Software CXO Systems Amberpoint Cisco AON Blue Titan SOA Landscape Microsoft) XML Appliances (Acceleration) □ ■ XML Appliances (Security) □ ■ XML Appliances (Integration/Routing) □ ■ Enterprise Services Bus (ESB) □ □ ■ ■ SOA Services Registry □ □ ■ □ ◘ SOA Management/Governance □ ■ □ □ ■ ■ ■ ■ Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) □ ■ □ ■ Enterprise Security & Compliance □ □ □ □ Business Process Management (BPM) ■ ■ Business Activity Monitoring (BAM/BPV) □ ■ □ □ Corporate Performance Management (CPM) □ □ ■ Portals ■ □ Application Servers ■ □ □ Enterprise Applications ■ Custom Solutions (RFID, MiFID,etc) □ ■ □ □ Legend ■ Strong Player Strong Player with ◘ Partnership □ Has Presence
  • 5. Functional Capabilities Weaknesses (Issues) - Message Routing (Field level Architecture: decision for XML messages - Memory and performance only?) - Message reliability (external - Hardware acceleration, caching dependency?) & load balancing of messages - Limited functional capabilities (figures?) - Batch Mode of integration - Translation/Transformation of - XML centric protocols /messages (limited capability?) Operational: - Message/application security - No operational guidelines (performance?) defined yet - Business event monitoring (niche - Multi-skills requirement uses!) - Multi-functional virtual - Extensibility (adapters & teams/Segregation of roles & bladelets) responsibilitiesKey Benefits (Differentiators) Threats (Positioning with - Pervasiveness of network Competitors) (Branch offices, B2B) - Mega-vendors in the market - Reduction in TCO (Blades, single with higher capability & vendor; to be justified with maturity (IBM, SAP, Microsoft, figures?) Oracle, Tibco, BEA, etc) - Enterprise-wide Services - Several new vendors offering (Security, event logging, SLAs); similar solutions but more shared resource focussed (SOA Software, - Improve Application Vordel, Sarvega, Reactivity, Performance (Offloading etc)) common services to infrastructure) Can AON find a place in enterprise technology tool-set yet? On its own or as an augmented solution set!
  • 6. FUTURE POSITION & RECOMMENDATIONSCompetitive Positioning Cisco Types of Vendors Market Space Approach Detail Enterprise Applications, Collaborate to provide Enterprise Wide Solutions platform services like data primarily at applications feeds for performance mgt, Super Enterprise Level level but all have presence simple message routing, (eg: SAP, IBM, Oracle, in the integration domain policy enforcements, Microsoft) as well. Collaborate security processing offload. Collaborate in simplifying complex integrations and bus services. Traditional EAI Compete in providing Vendors simple integration services (eg: Tibco, Composite Application that do not require big Webmethods, BEA, Integration Suites, ESBs, Collaborate & investments in traditional Sun Seebeyond) Integration Backbones Compete EAI. SOA Appliances Vendor (eg: Data Power, XML Appliances Can compete head on as Reactivity, Vordel, (Acceleration, Integration, most of the vendors in this Forum, F5) Security) Compete space are new and small. SOA Governance & Collaborate in Registry & Mgt Vendors High level governance (SOA Software, Complete in visibility Amberpoint, Blue solution space for Titan, Progress Registries, Management & Collaborate & governance & compliance Actional) Governance Softwares Compete (SLA, etc)How can current usage scenarios be leveraged?From the above three sections it can be inferred that Cisco AON can be more successful ifpositioned in the SOA/XML Appliances space with its current strengths. With some quick wins inthis space, it can continue to invest to broaden its offerings in some niche applications as RFID orenhanced visibility solutions and compliance or in more generic solutions space as an ESB andcontinue its role in the converging networks and applications arena.
  • 7. PRACTICAL NEXT STEPS – WHAT CAN C&C TECHNOLOGY DO?What are the current use cases and approaches that C&C / Cisco can take – to whom and howWhat positioning information, awareness and development work can be done internally, in thechannel and externally?