When started to design our NPB product line, which is based on Top-Of-Rack switch platforms, one of the first questions we had to tackle, was how to select the best management framework.
As a startup company whose core expertise is in packet broker software development and with time to market being a crucial factor, we looked for a mature, scalable, and reliable management framework that would provide us with a competitive advantage and help us streamline our R&D efforts. We needed a solution that will provide us with the most extensive management capabilities, support all standard interfaces (CLI, SNMP, NETCONF and WebUI) and at the same time will not over consume our R&D resources.
After evaluating several options, including in-house development, we decided to go with Cisco’s Tail-f's Conf-D solution. Judging this decision 12 months later, after releasing two NPB devices, we can say it was the right decision for our products.
Here is why:
Robust management engine
Being a costumer facing interface, robust management engine is crucial for the product success. However, management engines code tends to be complex to develop and often takes significant amount of time to mature.
Using Conf-D engine gives CGS products the benefit of a mature and robust management engine, it is flexible enough to suit our current and future needs without us investing precious development time to gain this flexibility. It also gives our users 'Cisco like' CLI which is what most of them expect and are familiar with (actually, Tail-F itself is a Cisco company now…).
Time to market and implementation gaps
Conf-D management engine uses one central model (YANG based) for defining all management interfaces, this means that once a certain feature was modeled and implemented it is simultaneously supported by all interfaces (CLI, SNMP, NETCONF and WebUI). This eliminates the common situation where specific code need to be written for each interface – for example, SNMP MIB files – and ensures there's no implementation gaps between interfaces, which at the end, ensures good user experience and quick time to market.
To summarize, choosing Cisco’s Conf-D gave us what we needed: High quality, robustness and diversity of CGS management interfaces, quick time to market, and the ability to invest our R&D resources where they add the most value – development of next generation packet brokers that provide superior performance and significant reduction in cost, complexity and rack space.
You can find out what Tail-F thinks about our common experience in this case study.