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IWAN Wed: Faster Service Delivery with NFV

As part of our IWAN series I wanted to take a closer look into what trends are impacting the Service Providers. My previous blog talked about how Enterprises can use the CSR 1000V  to migrate to the Cloud. This week I wanted to talk about how Service Providers are using the CSR to deliver services to their customers.

Historically Service Providers deliver services like routing, firewall and VPN to customers by installing multiple hardware products at the customer site. At the customer site the location where the customer and Service Providers network meet is referred to as the customer premise equipment or CPE. The hardware installed at the CPE is often specialized for different network functions, and the architecture and associated management systems are designed by the Service Provider. This approach provides reliable network services to business customers however it can become complex as more network services are added and it is not very flexible when it comes to adding new services. As a result when businesses demand more services or capacity, Service Providers can be slow to respond and will ultimately see an increased time-to-revenue.

Network Function Virtualization (NFV) aims to overcome these challenges by allowing network services to be moved, or instantiated, in various locations in the Service Provider network on demand and without the need for the installation of specialized hardware equipment.  For NFV to work it requires industry vendors like Cisco to virtualize network functions like routers just like we did with the CSR 1000V. We took our IOS XE operating system from the Aggregation Services Router (ASR) 1000 which was already tried and tested in Service Providers networks and turned it into a virtual form factor that can be run on any off-the-shelf x86 server. Cisco has many more products that are in virtualized form factors and the list includes but is not limited to:

•    Virtual Wide Area Application Services (vWAAS)
•    Virtual Wireless LAN Controller (vWLC)
•    Virtual Mobility Service Engine (vMSE)
•    Virtual Security Gateway (VSG)
•    Virtual Network Analysis Module (VNAM)
•    Virtual Identity Services Engine (vISE)
•    Virtual Adaptive Security Appliance (vASA)
•    Nexus 1000v vSwitch (N1Kv)

The primary benefit of NFV is the ability to use the same data center equipment and management tools that Service Providers currently use for their internal networks to host and manage network functions for their customers. The new vCPE has a reduced hardware footprint, simplified infrastructure and requires less customization. Core network functionality shifts to the Service Provider network where the  pooling of resources increases flexibility allowing them to deploy services faster and scale them according to customer demand.

The benefits to of NFV are significant, however the transition will take some time due to the complexity and size of Service Provider networks. Look out for more blog posts around NFV and the vCPE as I explore in more detail the challenges of moving to this new architecture. In the mean time I encourage you to download a new CSR case study about MiroNet AG, a Swiss Cloud and Infrastructure provider that is using the CSR to deliver new differentiated services to its existing customers while simultaneously attracting new customers.

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Catalyst Virtual Switching System and Instant Access (VSS – IA) Lab at Cisco Live US

March 31, 2014 at 6:00 am PST

CLUS14May is fast approaching.  Many people at Cisco, myself included, are making a lot of preparations for Cisco Live US which is May 18 -- 22, 2014 in San Francisco. This is a special year when Cisco Live returns to San Francisco. You might be wondering what’s special, and here’s a quick tip.  It happens only every five years, when it’s a major Cisco anniversary year.  Last time it happened, it was 2009 when Cisco celebrated its 25th anniversary.  Over 10,000 people attended Cisco Live US that year. This year is Cisco’s 30th anniversary. The attendance is expected to be more than doubled. Here’re a few reasons that explain the rapid growth, based on 2013 the Cisco Live surveyed attendee feedback:

  • 99% believe that Cisco Live was a good investment of their time
  • 98% advised they gained valuable knowledge at the event that can be implemented by their company

Every year, new content and topics are being added so that you can keep up with technology evolutions and progress. I want to bring your attention to an exciting new hands-on, instructor-led training session: LTRCRS-2004 Catalyst Virtual Switching System -- Instant Access (VSS -- IA) Lab. It was first offered at Cisco Live Milan in January this year. It was a full house event – many people were put on the wait list because they did not register early enough. Read More »

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BYOD helps boost creativity and sales for family-owned midmarket furniture manufacturer.

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Vitra is a renowned for producing quality furniture. Their designs are well known for innovation and style. What makes Vitra unique is that they not only encourage creativity from their employees but they also invite visitors to participate in their creative process.

Vitra is headquartered in Switzerland and their flagship store, Vitrahaus is located in Weil am Rhein in south Germany. Vitrahaus embodies the company’s vision and this is where visitors get to experience the company’s creations in real life settings.

Vitra has been partnering with Cisco for over a decade. Communications and collaboration are integral to their success and their latest strategy is to embrace the megatrends in mobility and wireless to improve their guest services by enabling BYOD access for employees and customers with simple management. These trends are gaining popularity in midmarket businesses.

Read More »

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Why Upgrade Campus & Branch Switching & Wireless Infrastructure?

Many of the existing switch and wireless infrastructures that were deployed 5 or more years ago were not designed for BYOD, pervasive mobility, advanced security, SDN and more. Let us look at these trends and the benefits of upgrading the network infrastructure to the latest switching and wireless products.

BYOD and Mobility

There are multiple dimensions in which BYOD and mobility are pressuring the existing network.  An average user now has 3x more devices. A company of 1,000 users seems like a company of 3,000 users. And, Internet of Things devices like sensors, CCTVs, and building automation are being connected to the network. Yesterday’s network cannot sustainably handle the exponential growth of these devices and applications.  Upgrade to the latest switches and wireless infrastructure will give you more performance in terms of higher switching capacity, converged wired-wireless access & more processing power to handle the growth of devices/apps. The benefits are network can scale easily to support the influx of mobile & connected devices and their applications and your users get the same excellent experience whether wired or mobile. Read More »

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Beyond BYOD to Workspace Mobility

Today I’d like to share some thoughts on Cisco’s approach to Business-to-Employee (B2E) mobility and draw attention to today’s mobility announcements.

After more then ten years working on the amazing roller coaster called Cisco Data Center, most recently leading marketing for our desktop virtualization solutions, I was looking for something different and equally exciting to dig my teeth into. As fate would have it there was an opportunity to help drive Cisco’s fast evolving Enterprise Mobility strategy. It shouldn’t be surprising to anyone that mobility is a big deal at Cisco today. We’re all experiencing the impact of mobile devices in our private lives -- and now more and more in the workplace too.

IT’s approach to mobile is changing too. Changing from “Look out! There’s a tsunami of mobile devices coming our way!” to “This mobile thing could really help make our organization more agile and our employees more productive and happy – let’s get in ahead of the tsunami and make it work for us.”

A recent Cisco mobility survey really brings this home. According to the survey, of the 400 mid-market and enterprise IT decision makers from the U.S. surveyed, 51% already had an organization-wide mobility strategy. Of those with a strategy, 63% actually thought having a strategy was helping them simplify their mobility projects. In another recent mobility survey, this time from Accenture, of 400 global IT decision makers, 73% said that mobility will impact their business as much as or more so than the web did!! That says it all.

I believe that mobility is a journey that every organization is making at its own pace. At Cisco we refer to this as the Mobile Workspace journey.

Mobile Workspace Solution Journey

The journey often starts with just simply securing mobile devices and their access to the corporate network, the device-focused phase. Whether corporate-liable devices or employee-owned (BYOD) or guest devices, IT’s first need is to provide an easy way to on-board them and let them get to the resources they are authorized to access. Read More »

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