Cisco extends developer initiatives with new DevNet Labs

Cisco sees its developer community as even more critical as it pushes well beyond its traditional hardware core, and to this end has launched a new collaborative lab environment for their use.

Suzi Wee

Susie Wee, Cisco’s VP and CTO of Networked Experiences

SAN JOSE – Today, on the final day of the Cisco Global Editors’ Conference on their San Jose campus, the company announced it is extending its support for its DevNet developer community with DevNet Labs, which go well beyond the sandbox labs which had previously been available to developers.

“We have been making a very deliberate effort to give our developers the tools that make it easy to use our platforms,” said Susie Wee, Cisco’s VP and CTO of Networked Experiences.

Wee said the new Labs represent Cisco’s commitment to treat the developers as a main customer, by creating new platforms just for them.

“Cisco has tried strengthening ties with developers many times before,” Wee said. “The thing that’s really different now is first, what’s happening in the industry in networking, with the shift to software defined network and network defined virtualization, which for the first time has made the network programmable. Second, the Internet of Things is going from small point solutions to a platform. These factors are making the industry ready for change.”

Part of that change is co-innovation, with Cisco has repeatedly emphasized as a central theme of their strategy going forward to the Editors’ Conference.

“We want our developers to not only use our platform, but we also want them to become true innovators,” Wee said. “As part of this move, we are announcing DevNet Labs, which we just launched today. It is a place for developers to share their innovations with other developers to co-innovate with their newest products.”

Cisco has made labs available to its developers before, but the new DevNet Labs are a very different animal.

“This uses the infrastructure from the existing sandbox labs,” Wee said. “The difference is that they were pretty much in isolation before. This is a much more collaborative experience.”

The new Labs are explicitly designed as a place for developers to share their innovations with other developers, exchanging software and sample code, starting discussions in the community forums to solicit, and starting new DevNet Labs projects with other developers.

“What we are not doing is saying ‘heres an API, they will come,’” said Dave Ward, Cisco’s SVP, Engineering CTO and Chief Architect. “That’s naïve. But we now have a three part strategy where everything now can now be seen in the cloud so the developers can see it, learn it, and code it. They will be able to have an easy flow to being a whole stack developer.”

While the Labs objective is to stimulate and host external DevNet member projects, Cisco has kickstarted the enterprise with several internal innovation projects, to get feedback and input from the DevNet community. These are:

  • DevIoT, an extensible integrated developer tool for writing IoT apps.
  • Glance, a cloud application that uses indoor location information to find experts and track devices and assets. It is built on Cisco’s CMX platform, which exposes indoor location information through APIs on Cisco’s 802.11 access points and Mobility Services Engine.
  • NeXt, an HTML/javascript UI toolkit that allows developers to easily visualize network topologies in network web applications. The NeXt SDK was released on DevNet last spring and will be released as an open source project in Open Daylight.
  • Open Daylight BGP apps. Cisco is sharing the source code for a number of BGP apps they built on top of Open Daylight. These apps draw topologies using NeXt with information from BGP-LS topology information and program MPLS traffic engineering paths using PCEP.

“This is very important for our future, and where we are going,” said John Chambers, Cisco’s long-time CEO and current Executive Chairman of the Board.