In the first part of this blog we discussed how Flow Metadata addresses encrypted/obfuscated traffic, multi-stream interactions, ensures end-to-end consistent policies and enables fine-grained policies. In this part of the blog, we discuss additional deployment scenarios making network classification a real challenge and how metadata addresses them.
Flow metadata allows an application to explicitly signal any arbitrary attributes to the network from node to node. This avoids the pitfall of data not being visible for deep packet inspection due to increasing use of encryption and obfuscation.
Tradition network classification solution using deep packet inspection technology is localized as classification may not be available along the path. How can network element enforce policies if they do not have uniform view of traffic to apply consistent enforcement of network policies ? Flow Metadata is reusable across network nodes by allowing sharing of flow attributes amongst network nodes. This allows appropriate and consistent policies to be applied at each hop, end to end, improving the quality of experience.
The flow metadata component of medianet allows the application to convey information to a set of network nodes. This makes it easy for management software to report information in a more meaningful way. For example, “John from finance is having quality issues with his Jabber desktop video” is much easier to diagnose than obscure IP addresses and protocol numbers. Imagine extending this meaningful application context information to network policies such as QoS, routing, and SLAs. The medianet flow metadata feature enables granular policies based on application context and not limited to network attributes. For example, with flow metadata, it is now possible to easily prioritize scheduled sessions over ad hoc sessions.
Medianet Media Awareness enables the network to become application and rich-media context aware end to end. Media Services Proxy is one of the techniques to detect different types of endpoints, media and application types (Telepresence, video surveillance, desktop collaboration and streaming media) in order to deliver the best experience.
Media Services Proxy Components
Media Services Proxy, an IOS technology, uses light weight deep packet inspection techniques to snoop standard based signaling protocols. It uses a variety of standard signaling protocols (SDP, H.323, H.245, RTSP, mDNS, etc.) to learn about the characteristics of endpoints and applications from legacy systems.
Once the endpoints and application types are known, MSP can apply a number of services on behalf of the endpoints and flows. For example, MSP detects a video surveillance camera, it applies Auto Smartports by automatically configuring the switch port for a camera to significantly simplify deployment. When MSP detects the flow type, it can apply QoS or bandwidth reservation on behalf of the flow. More importantly, MSP can share flow attributes amongst network nodes thereby allowing policies to be applied end to end.
Where to find Media Services Proxy today
Media Services Proxy is best positioned at user edge (e.g. access switch) and resources edge (e.g. internet edge). MSP is first introduced in IOS 03.03.00.SG.151-1.SG on Cisco Catalyst 4000 series switches and in IOS 15.2(3)T on ISR-G2 routers. Over time, more products will be implementing Media Services Proxy.
- Medianet media awareness
- Medianet 2.4 Solutions Overview
- Medianet Knowledge Base
- Questions about medianet? Visit the: medianet support forum
Early this year, ManageEngine successfully completed their second interoperability verification and testing (IVT) with medianet for its product NetFlow Analyzer through the medianet systems management Cisco Developer Network (CDN) program.
NetFlow Analyzer leverages flow technologies to generate real-time traffic reports that help in getting visibility into the traffic patterns in the network. It provides:
- On-demand mediatrace poll for instant monitoring
- Threshold based alerts for key metrics
- Highly granular reports with extensive storage options
Next week will be a busy week for the medianet team! The team will be at Cisco Live 2012 in San Diego, Infocomm in Las Vegas and Cisco Expo in Israel. We will provide attendees with plenty of updates on the latest medianet technologies in Cisco Video &Collaboration Portfolio, and Cisco Routing & Switching Portfolio.
The team will be introducing the Medianet Media Awareness capability. Media Awareness is a collection of techniques to detect different types of endpoints, media and application types in order to deliver the optimal experience. Cisco switches and routers will be introducing the new Media Services Proxy and Flow Metadata features. Webex and Cisco Jabber will be introducing the new medianet-enabled client to enhance collaboration experience. This new “smart” client embedded with the Media Services Interface, works in conjunction with the “smart” network for optimal Quality of Experience, improved network visibility, quality assurance & quick problem isolation. If you are heading to San Diego, Las Vegas or Tel Aviv, stop by for a chat with Cisco technology experts on your video and network implementations.