For the last 3 weeks, my colleagues have written on the topic of IWAN and its various components. Ido wrote about the basics (and more) about IWAN, Kiran on how to get twice the bandwidth with PfR, and Hector on how Glue Networks improves the IWAN experience for IT. As the name suggests, the ‘WAN’ in Intelligent WAN is a very important element but we can’t forget why we need an intelligent WAN – the branch or store that sits on the other side. It’s the place where 80% of employees of enterprises reside and where content explosion is happening with cloud applications, video training, and other business applications need to be delivered to. So it would be an understatement to say the branch architecture and how applications are delivered and hosted is important.
Imagine that you have several branch offices that are using WAN demanding applications like Salesforce.com, Office 365, Virtual Desktops, Video Teleconferencing and more. You are using those expensive MPLS/VPN WAN connections as you don’t want to risk it and probably because when you started to work there it was already there and … why mess around with something that is working, right? Normally I would agree with that but when IT budgets are shrinking and the network needs to step up and support those business critical apps, there is no other way but to innovate.
At any given time your network carries information from LAN to WAN and vice versa, some is important and some is less important. In many cases as a network admin you don’t have the visibility to distinguish between them, so what do you do when those critical apps are starting to act up? Usually the answer will be to buy more WAN bandwidth and that will give the apps and the user experience behind them some breathing space. But all you’re doing is buying time. Buying time never solves the problem because you will need to treat the symptoms again in a few weeks or months.
I’ve always been curious about networks. I remember opening up an old Linksys Router and discovering the physical circuit, the processor and integrated memory.
But my official networking life didn’t start until my coworker taught me the basics of routing. The first thing I learned was how to log in and enter commands within the command line. The second was CRC errors. These small lessons peaked my interest and by the following week I was digging in and researching how the devices worked. The first Cisco device I had the pleasure to meet was a Catalyst 6500.
I had no idea what I was doing, but I was eager to learn. Software verses firmware, “.bin”’ extensions, encapsulation, connections from LAN to WAN, wiring. The more I researched, the more I liked it and realized this was what I really wanted to do. Read More »
Virtualizing services within the network
When we launched the new ISR 4451-X at Cisco Live a few months back, one of the Big New Things we talked about was the Service Container architecture. Unless you were paying close attention to the 4451-X, you might have missed that whole thing. So what the heck is a Service Container?
To put it simply, a Service Container is a virtual machine running within the network itself. Instead of your typical server virtual machine, these VMs can be used to enhance the capabilities of the underlying network itself. Service Containers can add additional services, such as WAN Optimization, to the network. They can also enhance the capabilities of network devices by adding things like new programmable interfaces to the network. In some cases they can even be used to add impressive capabilities to the network from trusted third party developers.
Faster than the speed of light?
The biggest news to hit the world of physics recently was that neutrinos – “ethereal particles which pervade the universe but rarely interact with anything while they are doing so” – were shown in an experiment to have traveled faster than the speed of light. According to Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, this is impossible.
The experiment was conducted at CERN in September. Researchers shot neutrinos from Switzerland to Italy and measured the time it took for the neutrinos to arrive. The results showed they were arriving 60 nanoseconds earlier than light would have taken.
Is Einstein wrong? Are the laws of theoretical physics about to come crashing down around us? Um, not so fast (pun intended). Read More »