SAN JOSE, Calif. – Cisco Systems released its first production software supporting the Locator-ID Separation Protocol (LISP), an emerging standard for simplifying the process of finding Internet addresses. The software was one piece of a broad set of new data center products from the router giant.
Cisco is making LISP available on its Nexus 7000 switch and plans to make it available on all its major routers and switches by the end of the year. "We believe we are the first vendor in the industry [supporting LISP, and others] are in various stages of bringing it out so it may not come this year" from some of them, said Balaji Sivasubramanian, a product manager at Cisco.
Today's Internet protocol routing technology relies on routing tables to find IP addresses. The approach creates difficulties when those addresses need to be updated or when the systems or applications move for any reason.
With the rise of cloud services and the IPv6 protocol, end users are increasingly moving applications from one system to another or updating IP addresses. The proliferation of IP addresses makes the problem worse.
"If you start advertising four billion IPv4 addresses out there, no routing table can handle all that," said Sivasubramanian.
LISP takes a different approach, essentially automating the job of finding an IP address. It defines a way to create public and private online databases to look up addresses, minimizing the need for large routing tables.
The Internet Engineering Task Force has released a call for comments on an initial draft of a LISP standard. It could take two to three years for IETF to ratify a final draft spec.
"LISP makes the Internet ready for the next wave of cloud applications by addressing the Internet’s scaling problem," said Paul Mockapetris, inventor of the Internet Domain Name System (DNS) in quotes provided by Cisco.
"DNS has demonstrated that separating names and IP addresses is crucial for IP networking," he said. "LISP will bring this concept to the network layer, allowing devices to have maintenance-free fixed IP addresses to enable global workload mobility," he added.
"LISP decouples host IP identity from host location, enabling global IP address portability," said Len Bosack, a Cisco co-founder now CEO of XKL LLC, an optical networking company. "LISP also provides on-demand route lookup for network scalability, and simplifies the transition to IPV6," he said, in quotes also provided by Cisco.