Interop 2014: Cisco announces OpFlex protocol for data center transformation

At the Interop 2014, enterprise networking vendor Cisco announced OpFlex protocol for data center transformation.

OpFlex, a new open, standards-based protocol, is part of building on its vision of Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) in the data center, Cisco said.

Through Cisco’s Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC) and OpFlex, enterprise customers will be able to deploy and manage applications at scale, with full policy enforcement in multi-data center environment via policy federation.

The enterprise networking vendor opened its APIC application policy to infrastructure providers via the new OpFlex protocol, which will allow customers to simplify the automation and management of multi-vendor networks.

OpFlex will enable hypervisors, switches and network services (layer 4-layer 7) to self-configure driven by application policy.


Industry partners adopting the OpFlex technology include hypervisor and software vendors such as Canonical, Citrix, Microsoft, and Red Hat which will support OpFlex-enabled virtual switches and extend the Cisco ACI policy framework in their virtual environments.

Network services vendors like Avi Networks, Citrix, Embrane, and F5 Networks will be shipping an OpFlex agent with their appliances.

Cisco is planning to support the OpFlex Protocol on Cisco products including Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure, Nexus 9000 Series; Cisco Nexus 1000V; Cisco ASR 9000 Series; Cisco Nexus 7000 Series; Cisco ASA; Cisco SourceFire.

In addition, Cisco is working with OpenDaylight, an open source SDN controller in the industry, to create a 100 percent open source, ACI-compatible policy model and OpFlex reference architecture. The OpenDaylight membership represents 60 percent of data center capital expenditures and the policy project includes contributors from IBM, Midokura and Plexxi.

Du, an integrated telecommunications service provider in the United Arab Emirates, is consolidating several data facilities into two next generation data centers designed to host new cloud services using Cisco Nexus 9000 switches and ACI.

“We are committed to building our infrastructure on open standards: the Cisco APIC southbound protocol, OpFlex, provides us an open, extensible framework to support any device in our data center — hypervisor switches, physical switches, network services and servers — allowing us to take advantage of our existing infrastructure investments,” said Saleem Al Balooshi, executive vice president – Network Development & Operations, du.

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