Ed: Network problem for retail chains and large enterprises with regional sales offices.
One doesn't tend to associate Cisco with Web 2.0, social media or cloud computing. Cisco equals routers, the plumbing of the web. In other words, vital and hugely profitable; but not the 'new, new thing' of the Internet. It turns outwe have written before about how Cisco is using social media to reach enterprise clients and playing in the enterprise social networking space. Now Cisco wants to position its Application Extension Platform (AXP) in the cloud platform space and is encouraging developers with $100,000 in prizes for the most innovative applications.
The product AXP is not new. Cisco launched it about 4 years ago. But it is now ramping up the marketing. Read on for a rundown of AXP's positioning in the market.
The Networking Problems In Branch Offices
On the consumer Internet, we connect directly to big server farms running our favorite services. In the Enterprise world, most users connect via a branch network. In this more complicated world, there are three concerns that are not well addressed by the platforms that emerged in the Web 2.0 era:
- Security at the branch level. Security at the data center or server farm may be great, but the branch is often a back-door threat.
- Performance. If a hundred people are working in a branch, dealing with some network traffic locally would improve performance.
- Survivability. Losing connectivity to the cloud is still a significant issue. If it happens to a single consumer, you shrug it off and say "Oh well." If it stops a bank branch from functioning, well, that's another story.
Cisco AXP aims to address these challenges in branch networks. The $100,000 contest is part of this, as it asks developers to think of what apps can run at the branch level within a Cisco network router (aka "the box") - which is really a Linux server with the network services exposed via an API. February 27th is the final deadline for submissions, if you're a developer interested in this challenge. Finalists will be announced in May and the winners will be announced in August/September.
For more on the technology, current usage cases, and competition rules see Cisco's presentation on Slideshare.