I learned yesterday from my CCNA instructor that Cisco is dropping EIGRP from version 7 of the Cisco Certified Network Associate curriculum. For the uninitiated, EIGRP or Enhanced Interior Gateway Routing Protocol, has been Cisco’s fair-haired golden child. Cisco typically has had a very adverse opinion of OSPF (Open Shortest Path First), the open source Interior Gateway Routing Protocol. In fact, Cisco’s historic antipathy towards OSPF runs so deeply, that they give it a lower administrative distance which is a measure of trustworthiness of a route.
I am speculating that the reason Cisco is deprecating EIGRP has much to do with the pushing of their Meraki platform. Meraki is Cisco’s push into the software-defined marketplace and the Meraki product heavily favors and promotes OSPF. I think another reason might be that the IT as an industry is moving away from proprietary technologies towards open source and open standards. I am sure Cisco, not unlike Microsoft, has been dragged kicking and screaming into the realization that open source is the wave of the future.
More and more, companies are demanding that the technologies that they implement interoperate with technologies of multiple vendors. It is further an interesting point that Cisco has not decided to completely open source EIGRP. Maybe it could be that EIGRP is being moved to the Cisco Certified Network Professional curriculum instead? Cisco is notably mum on the state of affairs of its flagship interior routing protocol.
It’s even more interesting that EIGRP plays an integral role in Cisco’s much lauded Dynamic Multipoint VPN. The entire purpose behind DMVPN is the ability for endpoints to discover each other dynamically to easily create a mesh topology. I wonder where DMVPN is going. It is entirely possible that we’ll see OpenNHRP which is supposed to be the open source equivalent of DMVPN emerge as the replacement for Cisco’s technology. Again, this is a very interesting shift.
Honestly, EIGRP and OSPF are neck and neck in performance and there is no real advantage of one over another. Both recover quickly from topology failures and have rapid convergence. Both protocols are highly reliable and effective. But only OSPF is fully open and standardized and plays well across different router vendors. I am curious as to how this plays out in the coming years.