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Cisco Advanced Services has been involved in quite a few Data Center Migration projects over last couple of years. One common theme in most of these migrations was that the projects were never limited to infrastructure migration to shiny new devices. Statements of work almost always included improvements and customization to routing, configuration of QoS across the Data Center Interconnect and the WAN circuits, and to provide some level of instrumentation to validate the traffic flow across multiple different paths. While these requirements seem like a logical extension of any Data Center migration project, fulfilling these requirements was never straightforward.

In most of the customer environments, by looking at the Network topology, we could easily determine safe upper limits of client to server traffic. The real challenge was to determine traffic between the web front-end servers and the application and/or database servers – the east/west traffic.  Some wild assumptions were made in some cases since the data was either not available or was inadequate. This lack of network traffic profiling made QoS provisioning very difficult on WAN circuits and almost impossible on the Inter Data Center links.

Cisco Application Velocity, a Borderless Network Service for application performance, introduces an end to end architecture which addresses all of the above issues and more. The architecture is divided into three distinct components that are covered in the table below:

Components Campus and Data Center Branch/Remote Mobile
Visibility and Control NetFlow, ACE, NAM, WAAS Central Manager, IP SLA, QoS IP SLA, Netflow, NAM, NBAR, QoS
Acceleration and Optimization WAAS on Appliances, vWAAS WAAS on SRE (ISR-G2), WAAS Mobile, WAAS Express
Application and Network Agility UCS, Stateless Computing, PfR UCS Express, Windows on WAAS, SRE, PfR

 

Using technologies like NBAR, Netflow and QoS, applications are classified and prioritized on an end-to-end basis. Cisco WAAS OR WAAS Express (an IOS feature) optimizes and accelerates traffic to reduce the network workload. And finally Cisco UCS Express running on the branches ISR G2 routers helps accelerate application deployment and manageability at the remote branches. Cisco NAM and/or partner collectors keep historical data collected from above sources to provide the necessary visibility for dissecting the past problems, troubleshoot current issues and predict future traffic patterns. A NAM module or appliance spanning the server VLANs also provides a clear insight into the server to database traffic. 

To showcase the Application Velocity Solution, the Application Velocity Phase 1 Cisco Validated Design – CVD from Cisco Systems Architecture and Strategy Unit was released today, April 18th 2011. The Solution Architecture covered in the CVD consists of: 

  1. High-Available and Resilient Branch Network based on Cisco ISR-G2s routers equipped with Cisco SREs
  2. Unified Data Center Network comprising of Cisco Unified Computing Systems (UCS) and Cisco Nexus Unified Fabric along with Service Platforms such as ACE, FW, WAAS and NAM
  3. Enterprise applications mixed workloads consisting of Exchange, SharePoint and Oracle E-Business traffic

If you are planning to deploy monitoring tools in your environment to gain visibility or are planning to optimize and prioritize your traffic, consider looking at the Cisco Application Velocity framework and the Cisco Application Velocity CVD. The customer focused CVD will help you deploy most of the technologies mentioned above.

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