Another option for Jawbreaker could be as a switch/controller for SDNs, especially now that rival HP is focusing OpenFlow on the enterprise with the recent introduction of 16 OpenFlow-enabled switches. OpenFlow/SDN control of merchant silicon-based hardware is said to be a threat to Cisco's custom ASIC/tightly coupled software-based switch dominance in enterprises.
And though Jawbreaker is said to be based on merchant silicon, there's a component sources say wasn't: The fabric core, which one SDN source called a "parent" switch. The parent was to be a typical Cisco development of a platform based on custom ASICs tightly coupled with the switch software.
This Jawbreaker parent was under the purview of Cisco engineers Tom Edsall and Dinesh Dutt until both jumped over to Insieme, the distributed data storage/OpenStack/SDN startup said to be negotiating a spin-in deal with Cisco, the SDN source says. Now the Jawbreaker parent may be at Insieme because its parents are.
"There are two pieces to this strategy," the SDN source says. "The first was getting a merchant silicon based platform out the door based on Trident+ from Broadcom. The second was a 'parent' switch. This second piece is exactly what Tom and Dinesh were working on at Cisco before they left."
Edsall and Dutt's involvement with Insieme could not be confirmed. But another fabric source says the engineers could have left Jawbreaker behind if they jumped to Insieme.
This source says he believes Jawbreaker has been canceled entirely since QFabric, its market quarry, has been hobbled by a purported slow ramp in sales. Juniper says QFabric is exceeding market expectations.
And since Jawbreaker was largely based on merchant silicon and likely less expensive to make, it was just as inexpensive -- for Cisco, anyway -- to kill it. Marketing mockups are usually one and done projects.
"If they will deliver this at this point or use this technology as the basis for what Mario and Co. are doing is not clear," the SDN source says.
"Cisco can afford to have multiple projects that overlap and not necessarily bring all of them to market," a fabric source says.
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