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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. 

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Better Together – The Inevitable Integration of Networks and Rich Media Applications – Part 3

December 22, 2010 at 8:05 am PST

In part 2 of this blog series, I discussed the need for the network to operate in collaboration with rich media applications to deliver quality services.

The key to a successful medianet architecture is the integration of endpoint/application and network to deliver a flexible end to end system. By exchanging information between these two entities, it enables the network to deliver the right services to the application whilst maximizing the resources available. This enables the network to understand the changing requirements of the application and can lead to the endpoint explicitly asking for services, such as recording and transcoding, rather than the network relying on traffic analysis to determine whether a service is needed or not. Intelligent interaction would also enable the network to negotiate service levels with the endpoints.

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Better Together – The Inevitable Integration of Networks and Rich Media Applications – Part 2

December 16, 2010 at 9:14 am PST

This is the second part of a 3-part blog. In the first part, we discussed the challenges of deploying many different rich media applications in the enterprise.

So what is the path ahead for the rich media enabled enterprise?  Many of the challenges, well documented in other blogs, are not without network based solutions. Automated configuration via protocols such as CDP and LLDP to simplify deployment and bandwidth reservation through the RSVP protocol to maximize bandwidth usage have all been around for some time. The problem has not been the lack of network solutions but instead the lack of consistent adoption of these services across the range of rich media endpoints. If we are to expect diverse applications to optimize the usage of an increasingly precious and shared resource such as bandwidth its imperative that they leverage the network functions available and do so in a consistent manner. Up until this point network services and rich media applications have effectively been ships in the night as application vendors have designed their systems to work independently of the network services. This can work but only up and until a point. Network only solutions lack the contextual awareness of the endpoints. To the network divorced from its applications the traffic flows are barely distinguishable from each other and therefore applying services that optimize the experience and the network resources becomes impossible.

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Better Together – The Inevitable Integration of Networks and Rich Media Applications – Part 1

December 10, 2010 at 10:31 am PST

Enterprises are beginning to take video seriously and its integration into every day business is starting to become commonplace. Rich media collaboration is no longer just about video conferencing, it now covers everything from Telepresence to desktop video with existing web conferencing solutions adopting video as part of the user experience. Added to this, we have digital signage in retail stores and sports stadiums and corporate TV solutions to get messages out to the troops. Even long standing solutions like surveillance are migrating from their closed circuit environments and migrating to IP based infrastructures to gain the benefits of cost reduction and a common physical security platform. The common denominator to these trends is the converged IP network. Just as it was for unified communications and the migration of TDM voice to IP voice, the same transition is occurring for rich media applications. But the question is how ready are today’s Enterprise networks to support these new demands and what will the industry need to do to deliver multiple concurrent rich media applications on the same infrastructure?

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In Collaboration, the network matters

The network matters. Without it many of the devices and applications we use in our daily lives would not be available. Without the right quality, they would not be attractive or usable. This holds true for voice, data, and video networks, and even more so for converged networks.

At Cisco our approach is to make the network a platform for experiences. When a functionality is better handled out of the device or application, because of optimization or capacity concerns, we make it available in the network. When devices or applications come with new capabilities, we make sure the network recognizes them and makes them available end to end.

This simple philosophy is very far reaching, and we are seeing its benefits with Medianet. It is easy to understand why auto-configuration, call admission control for video, and session recording, just to pick a few, are services which enable multiple applications while maintaining consistency and allowing optimal use of the network capabilities and bandwidth.

A few weeks ago at Cisco’s Collaboration Summit we announced new solutions. They all drive value from the network, including VXI, the Virtual Experience Infrastructure. In very novel ways, Cisco is aiming at making virtualization easier, and delivering a better user experience at a lower cost. This is what the Cisco network is all about.

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