Cisco gives waiting world ConfD for low, low, price of $0

Hopes to spur NETCONF/Yang takeup

Cisco has offered up a sweetener to those worried that its 2014 acquisition of Tail-f would see the latter's products Borged into utter anonymity, offering up a free version of the ConfD NETCONF implementation.

Tail-F accepted a cheque last June, a transaction Cisco initiated in order to get its hands on the Swedish company's network orchestration software, which it pitched as getting rid of monolithic operational support systems (OSS).

Cisco describes ConfD as a “management agent framework with a rich set of APIs for developers of physical and virtual networking devices”, and says it's in use by 75 network equipment vendors.

NETCONF – full name Network Configuration Protocol, RFC 4741 – was authored by former Juniper engineer Rob Enns, providing installation, manipulation and deletion of network device configuration using XML.

The free version of ConfD, Cisco says, is available for production use without additional fees; the fee version of the software adds northbound command line, REST and SNMP interfaces.

ConfD includes native support for the YANG data modelling language – RFC 6020 – which Tail-f authored to “model the operations and content layers of NETCONF” (as the RFC explains).

Cisco says the ten-year-old NETCONF is now starting to hit its stride in the industry, and hopes that offering the free ConfD will accelerate adoption.

The idea, Cisco's Greg Smith (marketing manager for service provider routing and switching) explains in this blog post, is to make services cheaper and more agile.

Smith claims that the open programmability provided by solutions like NETCONF/Yang “can reduce configuration costs by nearly half”. ®

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