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Demystifying the Catalyst: The Basics of Application Visibility in the Network

What is Flexible NetFlow and why should you use it? In this blog post, let’s take a look at the basics of Application Visibility in the network for capacity planning and security.

In an enterprise, hundreds of applications are accessed by users from different locations within the campus and remotely from a branch or home. The application usage is usually not known beforehand and increases non-uniformly over time. This non-uniform app usage translates to non-uniform increases in traffic across the network which complicates capacity planning. Another complexity to capacity planning is that there can be sudden spikes in the traffic due to security issues such as internal security breaches, viruses, Denial of Service attacks, or network-propagated worms. IT administrators should not wait for these incidents to happen in order to tackle them. Instead, administrators must have the ability to see the usage pattern in advance for capacity planning and security incident detection and remediation.

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Catalyst 6500 Speaks: I’m Alive and Well, Thank You!

 “Rumors of My Death…”

I’m always amazed by how the rumor mill continues to try to kill off people and products. The American author, Mark Twain, once felt compelled to write, “The report of my death was an exaggeration.” and I know how he feels!

It happened to Sir Paul McCartney, when the Beatles were still an active band. It happened to that iconic sports car, the Porsche 911, in the mid-70s. Quick… who remembers the Porsche 928? More importantly, who doubts that the 911 still delivers class-leading performance?

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Johns Manville Improves Operations with ACE Application Control Engine Modules

March 8, 2012 at 3:34 pm PST
ACE 30 Module

Cisco ACE 30 Module for Catalyst 6500 Series switch

Application performance and reliability are critical issues for data center applications. Cisco just recently released a case study on Denver-based Johns Manville, a leading manufacturer of quality building products and how Cisco helps maximize availability and performance of their SAP inventory control system.

Johns Manville relies on an SAP business system in its manufacturing plants and warehouses for inventory management. Plant floor employees, such as forklift drivers and shipping agents, continuously enter data into the inventory management system through an SAP portal as orders are entered, packed, and shipped, and as inventory is moved. Forklift vehicles are equipped with PCs and scanners that connect to the SAP portal through wireless connections. The SAP portal also provides access to the plant intranet and other applications.

Johns Manville deployed two Cisco ACE modules in its Cisco Catalyst® 6500 Series core switches to load-balance incoming SAP inventory control traffic to the least-busy servers. The module uses best-in-class application-switching algorithms and highly available system software and hardware to increase application availability. A single module can manage up to 16 Gbps of application traffic, and up to 64 Gbps with four modules in a single Catalyst 6500 Series switch chassis.  Read More »

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More Switching Innovations from Cisco –delivering cloud-ready networking

Earlier this month, London played host to Cisco Live EMEAR where a key announcement was made from our switching team crossing data center, campus and service provider.  Cisco’s latest switching innovations are aimed at enabling our customers to address the megatrends of video, virtualisation, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and cloud, by delivering on their scale, services, and reduced total cost of ownership requirements.

With Cisco’s Cloud Index indicating that more than 50 percent of computing workloads in data centers will be cloud-based by 2014, and global cloud traffic will grow more than 12 times by 2015, to 1.6 zettabytes per year, this is clearly a trend that cannot be ignored and one that customers are often asking for support on.

To address the scale needs, Cisco announced it has updated its switching portfolio with 100 Gigabit Ethernet (GE) and 40 GE capabilities, the next speed limits for networking. In doing this, Cisco has just become the most extensive provider of 1/10/40/100 Gigabit Ethernet and converged networking switching solutions.

According to Rob Soderbery, senior vice president for Cisco’s Enterprise Networking Group, “A strong network foundation is central to today’s evolving corporate IT strategies, and this period of rapid change is an exciting time to be in the enterprise network and data center switching business.   Today’s industry-leading performance and services innovations demonstrate Cisco’s leadership, as we transition our customers to cloud, video, mobility, big data and virtualized infrastructures.”

Last summer, we had discussions with a number of you around the latest supervisor for the Catalyst 6500 switching line.  With this latest news, Cisco is continuing to deliver investment protection to its customers by adding 40 GE performance options to its Catalyst 6500 switching line, and 40 GE and 100 GE capabilities in its Nexus 7000 portfolio for interconnecting data centers to service providers.  To expand its campus aggregation and data center top of rack switching, Cisco also announced two new fixed-configuration platforms that provide high-density 10 GE switching.

Making it easy to enable new services, Cisco announced simpler network virtualization functionality for its Catalyst 6500, 4500 and Aggregation Services Router (ASR) 1000 product lines with a new technology called Easy Virtual Network, as well as scalable virtual services with a new Nexus 1010-X appliance for the data center.

So, what do Cisco’s customers think?  According to Jeroen van Ingen of the University of Twente, We like the Catalyst 6500 platform because it’s a true workhorse with a wide range of features. With a tight budget and little advance notice of new requirements from our researchers or our administration, we prefer a flexible solution to increase performance. The new 40 Gigabit module for the Catalyst 6500 with Sup 2T supports both 10 Gigabit and 40 Gigabit Ethernet and provides a seamless upgrade from 10 Gigabit today to future 40 Gigabit to meet the growing bandwidth demands, without any network disruption and forklift infrastructure change – true to the investment protection capability 6500 is so well known for.”

Together, all of these enhancements will help businesses scale their networks, simplify operations, and continue to derive value from their existing Cisco switching investments – many of which have been deployed for a decade or longer. Next time you get asked about TCO, consider how many vendors you could say that about.  At Cisco, we say that TCO is about more than cost of acquisition and this latest announcement clearly shows our on-going commitment to delivering long-term value and business benefits for our customers.

We welcome your thoughts and feedback.  If you would like more detail on these announcements, additional resources are available below:

Announcement: http://newsroom.cisco.com/press-release-content?type=webcontent&articleId=657081
Shashi Kiran’s Blog: http://blogs.cisco.com/news/cisco-switching-leadership-and-innovations/#more-58670

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Catalyst 6500: Old Car or Super Soldier?

Recently, bloggers have alternately compared the Catalyst 6500 to the fifteen-year old car they finally got rid of and to a super soldier for the new millennium. Which is it? Being a Cisco employee, I might be a bit biased. And, being a car guy, I’m really tempted to pick apart the old car analogy, but I think my Detroit roots might start to show. And that’s not what this is about. So let’s look at old device vs. established platform.

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