Monday, April 4, 2011

LISP is serious business

Some perspective with regards to the maturity of the protocol specifications and implementations of the Locator/Identifier Separation Protocol (LISP):

The first LISP specification was published in January 2007 as an individual submission. After 13 revisions the Internet-Draft was adopted as an IETF LISP Working Group document. Within the LISP Working Group there have been 12 versions of the main Internet-Draft. Literally hundreds of contributors from a lot of different companies have made suggestions and fixed bugs to make the LISP specification what it is today.

The first implementation started at the Prague IETF conference in 2007. As of today there are about 10 implementations: Linux, Android, FreeBSD (OpenLISP), Zlisp, LISP-Click, FNSC FITELnet G21, IOS, NX-OS, IOS-XR and IOS-XE. Please note that not all of them have yet been released or are of production quality. I recommend using the implementations developed by Cisco because they are the most mature and feature rich implementations.

Better yet, recently Cisco announced to the world its first production software releases 15.1(4)M and 15.1(2)S which support the Locator/Identifier Separation Protocol (LISP). Cisco has committed to make LISP, as an emerging standard, available on all its major routers and switches in mainstream trains including the Nexus 7000.

So what does all this mean?

The LISP specification has received a lot of attention and review inside the IETF. This is a very good thing because it makes the protocol stronger and development less prone to for example tunnel vision. The academic world has developed various proof-of-concept implementations to discover its scalability properties and other testing purposes. Unlike other protocols such as ILNP, HIP, SHIM, and IRON-RANGER which have received significantly less review or have almost no real-world deployment experience.

Big vendors are investing lots of resources into the development of their respective LISP implementations, which means LISP is here to stay.

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