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Flexibility Does Not Equal Complexity

Recently, SearchNetworking posted an interesting article titled “NetFlow v9 is powerful, so why isn’t anyone using it?” Shamus discusses many of the benefits of NetFlow v9:  deeper visibility into application traffic flows and application performance, and the ability to use NetFlow to consolidate and enhance other network management functions.  However, he ends on a sour note:  “but the technology is more complex to learn than the good old reliable v5.  Still enterprises will eventually be forced to make the transition.”

In his article, Shamus points out that customers may feel intimidated by the complexity of NetFlow v9.  I’d like to address this concern with a response.   If you are of my generation, you will no doubt remember carbureted automobile engines.

Maybe you or your dad spent Saturday afternoons tinkering with one in the garage, or maybe you were just caught off-guard when one morning the car wouldn’t start.  Netflow v5 is a lot like a carbureted engine:  it is very common, anyone familiar with it knows how it works, and it is easy to set-up.  Now, let’s fast-forward to the current generation of technology.

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Cloud Ready WAN Optimization Solution with the New Cisco WAAS 4.3.1

Cisco WAAS Business Unit is excited to announce the general availability of WAAS 4.3.1 release!

The new Cisco WAAS 4.3.1 includes virtual WAAS (vWAAS) integrated with Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) and Cisco Nexus 1000V, provides uniform WAAS central management to the WAAS Express devices and improved optimizations for Cloud (SaaS) applications like Microsoft Office 365 (BPOS -- Business Productivity Online Standard Suite).

Cisco vWAAS enables the transition to public and private clouds and is a key proof point in the Cisco Unified Network Services (UNS) pillar, a central part of the Cisco Data Center Business Advantage architecture. UNS includes Virtual WAAS (vWAAS), Virtual Security Gateway (VSG) and future services integrated with Nexus 1000V and UCS that differentiates Cisco’s cloud architecture while enabling a gradual transition from physical to virtualized environments.

Cisco WAAS Express extends the WAAS portfolio by offering a cost-effective IOS-based Cisco WAN optimization in the next generation Integrated Service Router -- ISR G2 routers.  WAAS Express, WAAS on SRE (Service Ready Engine) on ISR G2, and WAAS appliances interoperate seamlessly as part of the Cisco Borderless Networks architecture.  Customers and/or Partners can take advantage of Year-End-Sprint offer as part of the router refresh program.

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Challenges in Deploying IP Video based Applications – Part 3: Quality

November 24, 2010 at 8:27 am PST

Higher quality in video is obtained by using higher resolutions, more colors (increased bits per pixel), spatial audio (multiple audio channels and higher sampling rates), and multiple displays. All of these parameters increase demand for bandwidth — in turn increasing the sensitivity to degraded network conditions.

With video, when the impairments become apparent, the experience of the session deteriorates very quickly. Users are easily disturbed by poor video quality — and the bandwidth burden of video means that even slight deterioration of services within the network can significantly affect the video experience. Similarly, with video, the accompanying audio experience must be satisfactory and synchronization with the video must be consistent — and even more stringent requirement.

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Challenges in Deploying IP Video based Applications – Part 2: Performance

November 23, 2010 at 8:17 am PST

Video applications can be very sensitive to aspects of network performance. After the video has been packetized for IP transport, the network’s contribution to the video stream’s performance is generally limited to delay, jitter, and loss.

Delays arise from physical limits (speed of light) as well as queuing mechanisms in routers and gateways that the packets traverse along the way. When delay increases above 400 milliseconds (camera to display), people become aware of it and the delay starts to impede interactive communications.

Jitter is the variability of delay. Buffers can be used to smooth out variations in delay. However, too much buffering adds delay and prevents effective interactive video.

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Smart Access to Borderless Networks

I guess it’s a bit natural to feel a sense of pride when you are a part of the team that has innovated the vast majority of LAN Access switch features in the market. I joined this group about 2 years ago and have been in awe ever since. If innovation and the sheer brilliance of simplicity excites you then this should be a fun read.

It is probably obvious that every single endpoint connects to the network ONLY through an access switch. Even the wireless ones.. through the access point that is plugged into the access switch. So no endpoint can get into the network without going through an access switch.

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