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IWAN Wed: Faster Service Delivery with NFV

As part of our IWAN series I wanted to take a closer look into what trends are impacting the Service Providers. My previous blog talked about how Enterprises can use the CSR 1000V  to migrate to the Cloud. This week I wanted to talk about how Service Providers are using the CSR to deliver services to their customers.

Historically Service Providers deliver services like routing, firewall and VPN to customers by installing multiple hardware products at the customer site. At the customer site the location where the customer and Service Providers network meet is referred to as the customer premise equipment or CPE. The hardware installed at the CPE is often specialized for different network functions, and the architecture and associated management systems are designed by the Service Provider. This approach provides reliable network services to business customers however it can become complex as more network services are added and it is not very flexible when it comes to adding new services. As a result when businesses demand more services or capacity, Service Providers can be slow to respond and will ultimately see an increased time-to-revenue.

Network Function Virtualization (NFV) aims to overcome these challenges by allowing network services to be moved, or instantiated, in various locations in the Service Provider network on demand and without the need for the installation of specialized hardware equipment.  For NFV to work it requires industry vendors like Cisco to virtualize network functions like routers just like we did with the CSR 1000V. We took our IOS XE operating system from the Aggregation Services Router (ASR) 1000 which was already tried and tested in Service Providers networks and turned it into a virtual form factor that can be run on any off-the-shelf x86 server. Cisco has many more products that are in virtualized form factors and the list includes but is not limited to:

•    Virtual Wide Area Application Services (vWAAS)
•    Virtual Wireless LAN Controller (vWLC)
•    Virtual Mobility Service Engine (vMSE)
•    Virtual Security Gateway (VSG)
•    Virtual Network Analysis Module (VNAM)
•    Virtual Identity Services Engine (vISE)
•    Virtual Adaptive Security Appliance (vASA)
•    Nexus 1000v vSwitch (N1Kv)

The primary benefit of NFV is the ability to use the same data center equipment and management tools that Service Providers currently use for their internal networks to host and manage network functions for their customers. The new vCPE has a reduced hardware footprint, simplified infrastructure and requires less customization. Core network functionality shifts to the Service Provider network where the  pooling of resources increases flexibility allowing them to deploy services faster and scale them according to customer demand.

The benefits to of NFV are significant, however the transition will take some time due to the complexity and size of Service Provider networks. Look out for more blog posts around NFV and the vCPE as I explore in more detail the challenges of moving to this new architecture. In the mean time I encourage you to download a new CSR case study about MiroNet AG, a Swiss Cloud and Infrastructure provider that is using the CSR to deliver new differentiated services to its existing customers while simultaneously attracting new customers.

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Get Your Network Ready For iOS7

September 13, 2013 at 5:30 pm PST

In their highly anticipated announcement this week, Apple introduced two new phones, the iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S, and confirmed that iOS 7 would be released on September 18th. Techies like myself took note that iOS 7 will include quite a number of new features. We at Cisco want to help you understand what iOS 7 means for your network, so here’s a quick blog to sum it up:

How does iOS 7 impact your wireless networks?

Soon your employees and guests will be upgrading to IOS 7. Did you know up to 20% of traffic to mobile devices is software upgrades, application updates and synchronizing your devices via the cloud? Cisco’s Application Visibility and Control technology can help you identify and tame these applications and is available on the routers, Wireless LAN and visible via Prime Infrastructure. In addition, Cisco’s ISR can cache these updates to reserve valuable and expensive WAN bandwidth. More details about protecting the WAN is available in another blog.

If you leverage a Captive Portal, you will experience a change in behavior. Apple has enhanced the Captive Network Assistant (CNA) functionality iOS 7 making it more robust. Cisco has proactively developed and tested a new version of wireless LAN controller code to interoperate with Apple’s new implementation while ensuring a seamless experience for all other clients.

Finally iOS 7 also has significant security and manageability enhancements to improve productivity for the enterprise.

What do you need to do in order to optimize for iOS 7? Read More »

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The onePK Software Architecture

This post is about the onePK software architecture, and how it allows us to consistently expose network operating system (NOS) features to a wide variety of programming environments for IOS, IOS-XE, IOS-XR and NXOS.

For an overview of onePK in general, and some more context, see my October 2012 post and my slides in Slideshare.

The main elements of the onePK software architecture are illustrated Read More »

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Campus Networking – Making the most widely deployed modular platform better

How do you take the most widely deployed modular switch in the industry, and make it better?  With more than 650,000 chassis deployed, how do you protect your customers’ investments in their existing platform while offering a seamless path to deploy new components without forcing “fork-lift” upgrades?

On October 5th, Cisco announced a complete refresh of the Catalyst 4500 series platform, the most widely deployed modular platform in the industry, with new supervisor engine, line cards and operating system.  We gave it 2.6x more bandwidth, and the highest PoEP port density of any access switch in the industry.  Catalyst 4500E comes with an open and modular operating system, IOS XE that is capable of running 3rd party services.  The new system is highly available with features such as sub 10 millisecond In Service Software Upgrades.  Flexible NetFlow brings unprecedented application visibility.  Catalyst 4500E ships with a single universal software image – one image for LAN Base, IP Base and Enterprise Services that is managed by software licensing application.  Customers can also introduce new line cards without upgrading the OS.  We designed Catalyst 4500E for the future while providing support for the past by making the new components compatible with existing chassis.  In fact, Catalyst 4500 platform offers the longest investment protection of any modular access switch in the industry with more than 10 years of backward compatibility. 

Read More »

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