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Cisco ACI adds New Security and Application Delivery Vendors to Ecosystem: A10 Networks and Catbird

February 3, 2014 at 4:00 am PST

Cisco announced last week that its rapidly expanding ACI ecosystem now includes the A10 Networks aCloud Services Architecture based on the Thunder ADC Application Delivery Controllers, as well as the Catbird IDS/IPS virtual security solutions. These new ACI ecosystem vendors are announcing support for the ACI policy model and integration with the Application Infrastructure Policy Controller (APIC) which will accelerate and automate deployment and provisioning of these services into application networks. This should also resolve any speculation that the ACI ecosystem would not be including technology vendors that compete with Cisco’s other lines of business, as Cisco expands the solution alternatives for customers.

Each of the solutions will rely on two primary capabilities of the APIC and ACI to provide a policy-based automation framework and policy-based service insertion technology. A policy-based automation framework enables resources to be dynamically provisioned and configured according to application requirements. As a result, core services such as firewalls, application delivery controllers (ADC) and Layer 4 through 7 switches can be consumed by applications and made ready to use in a single automated step.

A policy-based service insertion solution automates the step of routing network traffic to the correct services based on application policies. The automated addition, removal, and reordering of services allows applications to quickly change the resources that they require without the need to rewire and reconfigure the network or relocate the services. For example, if the business decision is made to use a web application firewall found in a modern ADC as a cost-effective way of achieving PCI compliance, administrators would simply need to redefine the policy for the services that should be used for the related applications. The Cisco APIC can dynamically distribute new policies to the infrastructure and service nodes in minutes, without requiring the network be manually changed.

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Leave it to the Experts

When I remodeled my bathroom a few years ago, my initial plan included only a few things: I wanted it to feel bigger (it’s a small space), and everything needed to be replaced – the utilities, furniture, walls, floors, and window.

I know what I like, and I know what I want, but I don’t know the first thing about designing a new bathroom.  Add to that a full-time job and three children under the age of 10, I knew I needed to hire someone who could take complete control of the project while still delivering everything I wanted.

I hired a contractor who could not only do the physical labor, but one who had the expertise to plan and design the whole thing. He asked me questions about which members of the family use the bathroom, and how often, in order to deliver the most relevant plan that fit our lifestyle. Through his consultation, he discovered that this bathroom was the main bathroom in the house, heavily used by our family and visitors alike.  Based on that fact, he recommended a redesign that provided the optimum privacy for our family of 5 – something I hadn’t even considered when initially launching the project. Read More »

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Thoughts on the cybersecurity task force

A Republican task force recently released a limited set of near-term recommendations for cybersecurity legislation that emphasized voluntary standards instead of regulation. Interesting. Several words jump out at me in that sentence. “Voluntary standards”, “near-term”, “not regulated”. I paraphrase.

Seems to me that something as important as a task force that was put together should be working on an overall strategy to address cybersecurity rather than trying to patch holes in the dike. Read More »

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