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WAN Optimization is an important part of Cisco IT’s infrastructure strategy.

Cisco IT has been implementing Cisco Wide Area Application Services, creating strong alignment between its Data Center and Borderless Networking architectures, while delivering a superior end user experience with Collaboration and Business applications.

In this blog, we provide a quick update on Cisco IT’s deployment of WAAS, and the progress and benefits of the solution. A case study update will be posted as follow on, and provide more details/results on our internal deployment.

The internal Cisco WAAS implementation continues to  expand broadly . So far IT has deployed WAAS to 200 Cisco remote offices worldwide.  When fully deployed over the next six months, we will have implemented WAAS in approximately 300 Cisco offices and eight data centers worldwide.   

Our WAN Optimization efforts are an important component of the broader Data Center strategy to increase utilization, reduce operational costs and improve business continuity. The WAAS deployment is also enabling Cisco IT to successfully implement the Borderless Networks architecture, providing solutions to the business trends that are breaking traditional enterprise borders.

The initial global deployment focuses on optimizing TCP application traffic between remote offices and data centers. We are currently optimizing HTTP, FTP, CIFS, and print traffic at remote offices where we have deployed WAAS. Our initial metrics indicate that at these offices we are seeing decreases of up to 60% in internal WAN traffic. Our users are also experiencing improved response times that are increasing their productivity.

CIFS traffic optimization has been so effective that we have begun consolidating remote office filers at approximately 120 remote offices worldwide. We are migrating content stored on these local filers to a regional filer hub and are eliminating the local filers. Once complete in six to nine months, we project savings of 850k over the next three years from reduced maintenance costs and avoiding hardware upgrades. 

As we continue with our global deployment, we are focusing on keeping our infrastructure up to date with the latest WAAS versions. Following the recent update to version 4.1.5, we  are beginning to take advantage of additional application protocol optimizations that are available , such as  specific application optimization capabilities for HTTP  and  HTTPS . Additionally, recently released validated designs for desktop virtualization  will allow us to generate increased bandwidth reduction and improved client response times to applications that leverage those protocols.  And the optimization of RDP enhances our ability to move forward with desktop virtualization.

In most of our remote offices, we are deploying the WAE-674 device. Although it might appear that this device is better suited to a smaller data center deployment, we plan to take advantage of its virtual blade capabilities to realize further cost reductions. The ability to run a service on a virtual blade as opposed to running it on another bare metal device allows us to continue to minimize the amount of infrastructure that is required at remote offices. We are currently virtualizing our global print service on a WAAS virtual blade and will also virtualize our ACNS content delivery capability. Both these services today require separate physical devices at the remote offices.

With the goal of making WAAS ubiquitous in our network, next steps are to expand our WAAS footprint to extranet sites and campus locations, and to  broadly distribute WAAS Mobile.  An internal WAAS mobile pilot is underway with over one thousand employees from cross-functional organizations has been well received with solid productivity improvements and Cisco IT is aggressively expanding this project. WAAS mobile provides optimization for both hardware and software remote access clients while greatly increasing their productivity. WAAS mobile  has been architected to work with our internal WAAS appliance and will act on VPN and other traffic from the internet, allowing internal WAAS appliances to optimize internal WAN traffic.

- Jim Palermo, IT Project Manager -- Network and Data Center Services

- Jawahar Sivasankaran, Senior Manager -- IT Customer Strategy and Success

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