If you attended the Cisco Power of Participation virtual event yesterday, you probably noticed the tremendous amount of announcements around new products, solutions and technologies for both the data center and Cisco Borderless Networks. Now that the dust has settled, I thought it would be a good time to go through some of those announcements, highlight what I think is important, and point you to where you can get more information.
One of the key announcements in the launch was Application Velocity, a new network service for providing application performance, visibility, control and survivability – especially for remote connections to branch offices or cloud-based services. There are a lot of different technologies that fall under that umbrella, but I wanted to highlight three:
- WAAS Express is an implementation of Wide Area Application Services in Cisco IOS Software, which provides an entry-level version of WAAS – mainly for bandwidth optimization. Because it is in Cisco IOS itself, it is always available, and can be turned on when needed.
- WAAS for the Service Ready Engine (SRE) on the Cisco ISR G2 routers, is the next step up for WAAS, providing a full WAAS implementation, without requiring the deployment of a WAAS appliance at every remote site.
- UCS Express is another service for the SRE, which allows you to create a hybrid Unified Computing System environment and extend server virtualization to your branch offices. If you have branches with local servers, this is a good way to consolidate some of those application services into a single device. If your application are hosted in the data center, this is a method of providing some off-load, and creating local survivability and predictable performance for your applications when the WAN link goes down.
There were multiple new hardware announcements as well. Let’s start with the new Cisco Catalyst 4500-E series switch. If I can unleash my inner geek here for a moment, the stats on this switch are just breathtaking. 48 Gbps per slot and 848 Gbps per chassis. Power over Ethernet Plus on every port. Four 10-Gbps uplinks. When I first heard about it, I thought that it might be overkill for an access switch, but then I thought a bit more. Gigabit to the desktop is becoming more common, video is being used more and more, so having a real powerhouse in the wiring closet is starting to make sense. It has enough horsepower so it can act as a cost-effective distribution switch as well. And it supports all the Borderless Network Services as well, so you are getting both powerful and intelligent in one box.
Small is beautiful too. There were a couple of small footprint, but high service density/performance, platforms in the announcements. The Cisco ASR 1001 series router is great for those companies that need more processing power and bandwidth at the branch, but want to keep within their space limitations. If you are looking for a step up in processing power from the Cisco ISR G2 3900 series routers, but don’t have the budget or space for a bigger router, the Cisco ASR 1001 nicely finds that middle ground. With performance up to 5Gbps for firewall and other security and application intelligence services, you have a compact router packing quite a punch.
The new Cisco ASA 5585-X adaptive security appliance is another instance of packing a lot of performance into a small package. It gives you a 20 Gbps firewall, with integrated IDS, in two rack units. Again, the stats are pretty darned impressive – 350,000 connections per second and up to 10,000 concurrent sessions. Did I mention this was all done in 2 RUs? J
For the commercial and small business markets, we also announced the Cisco Aironet 1040 Series Access Point, which provides a way for customers to migrate to 802.11n, at an entry-level price. They are even available in some nice bundles, for extra savings.
Another question the launch was designed to answer was “How do I deploy Borderless Networks?” Customers have been hearing about the benefits of Borderless Networks for more than a year now, but figuring out what needs to change and where to start was still a challenge. Three things stand out:
- The Cisco Smart Business Architecture (SBA) has always been closely linked to Borderless Networks, and acts as a blueprint and design guide for planning and deployment. With its latest version, SBA now scales to enterprises with up to 10,000 connected devices – making it a lot more applicable to those customers looking for that place to start.
- CiscoWorks LMS 4.0 delivers a new capability called “Borderless Networks Work Centers”. This takes some of the common Borderless Networks Services like Cisco EnergyWise and TrustSec and provides a complete planning/ configuration/ monitoring/ troubleshooting workflow approach for deploying those services. Ever turn on 802.1x only to find out that half your devices don’t have a valid client, and are now locked out of the network? LMS 4.0 helps you avoid those types of fire drills.
- Smart Net Total Care is a new professional service available from Cisco to manage and optimize your Borderless Networks deployment via inventory collection, reporting, and in-depth analytics.
Finally, along with all the new announcements, there were also some functionality upgrades to existing solutions that you should be aware of.
AnyConnect 3.0 adds IPSec VPN, 802.1x and MACSec support, as well as ScanSafe for web security using the Anywhere+ client. And it also features some industry momentum, with new clients for Apple (iPad included), Nokia, Samsung, and Windows 7.
Cisco EnergyWise added a number of new partnerships, including several with leading Power Distribution Unit (PDU) manufacturers. What’s interesting about this is that, with PDU support, you can manage and control the energy usage of a lot of new devices, right at the plug level.
Of course, these are just the highlights. For a complete list of “what’s new”, check out the Cisco Borderless Networks page. Anything important I overlooked? Leave me a comment here or on Twitter or Facebook.