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UNS Spotlight on VM-ready Security Solutions with VSG

May 19, 2011 at 4:12 pm PST

The Unified Network Services (UNS) portfolio of Layer 4-7 services (such as ACE and WAAS) also includes Cisco’s data center security solutions. A critical part of that security portfolio is our virtualization-aware firewall solution, Virtual Security Gateway (VSG). In a series of upcoming blog posts, I’ll be sharing a few use case scenarios that our customers are implementing with VSG.

For those of you new to VSG, I’ll point out that VSG’s role is to act as a virtual firewall between zones of virtual machines. Isolating traffic between VM zones has been very challenging prior to VSG because: 1) security policies have to be enforced between VMs running on the same server or same virtual switch (where there’s no place to put a firewall), 2) VMs move all around the network and the security policies (as enforced in the firewall) must follow the VM, and 3) the need to maintain segregation of duties for compliance purposes between the security and application server teams, where security is potentially enforced inside the virtual server.

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Are you accelerating applications delivery in cloud?

A common discussion I hear a lot is around how to ensure application performance when accessed remotely over WAN from a centralized data center. At the same time, efficiently utilizing the limited network bandwidth available is key to customers. Cisco WAAS solution can help achieve both these objectives in a cost efficient way.

WAAS (Wide Area Application Services) is Cisco’s WAN optimization solution that helps accelerate enterprise applications delivery and data transfer in cloud. The key benefits that Cisco WAAS solution provides for enterprise applications are:

  • Improving end user experience for the global workforce accessing enterprise applications in private/virtual private clouds, resulting in enhanced productivity.
  • Improving efficiency (reduced bandwidth requirements/time) for remote replication of the enterprise application data to the DR site are

The requirement for optimizing WAN traffic becomes even more critical as customers continue to adopt data center virtualization and private/hybrid cloud to run their most demanding applications.

Deployment flexibility/options with Cisco WAAS

Cisco WAAS offers multiple deployment options (both physical and virtualized), and can easily plug into different architectures across your datacenter/private cloud, virtual private cloud at service provider, remote/branch offices, Backup/DR site, and mobile workforce. The picture below shows the different deployment options available with Cisco WAAS.

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Fearlessly Consume Tier-1 Enterprise Applications in “Clouds without Boundaries”

With an ever growing mobile and distributed workforce, application developers are being tasked to develop applications that can also be remotely accessed by this global workforce. Application developers, with a very basic understanding of networking, assume the network has no boundaries and applications perform optimally regardless of the mode of access. At the same time, cloud computing is enabling applications to be consolidated into centralized and virtualized data centers, further increasing the distance from where the applications are being accessed. Network architects are also being challenged with current network designs for this application deployment and delivery model. The available bandwidth is being taxed as the ever growing applications portfolio competes for network resources to provide a satisfying user experience across the network without boundaries. This application delivery model also demands capabilities for better visibility and control, WAN optimization, and agility of the network to rapidly deploy and manage enterprise applications.

The Cisco Application Velocity solution addresses all the challenges associated with the delivery and consumption of enterprise applications over the network without boundaries. It is one of the five services in Cisco’s Borderless Network Architecture and is composed of innovative Cisco technologies that help IT professionals meet or exceed business SLAs, maximize user experience, optimize resource utilization, and increase reliability and user expectations.

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Cisco Completeness of Vision and Execution Ability in the 2010 Magic Quadrant for WAN Optimization Controller

Cisco’s placement was evaluated on both completeness of vision and the ability to execute in the “Magic Quadrant for WAN Optimization Controllers (WOC)” authored by Severine Real, Andy Rolfe, and Joe Skorupa and published in December, 2010.

Gartner 2010 MQ

2010 Gartner MQ for WOC

In addition to our position in the 2010 Gartner MQ Report, Cisco introduced WAAS 4.3 software in December 2010, which provides a rich and comprehensive portfolio of innovations such as virtual WAAS (vWAAS), WAAS central management for the WAAS Express, and improved optimizations for Cloud (SaaS) applications like Microsoft Office 365.  These most recent innovations and significant customer wins in the recent quarters showcase Cisco WAAS market leadership.
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Optimizing the WAN with the Next Generation Integrated Service Router (ISR G2)

Enterprises have become increasingly dependent on their networks to deliver applications and data access to users throughout their organization, not only at corporate headquarters but also to branch offices and locations around the world. As employees become increasingly dependent on access to applications to perform their job functions, it is paramount that the Wide Area Network (WAN) provides the highest level of performance possible.

The emergence of WAN optimization in recent years has resulted in significant gains to the enterprise in terms of application performance, reduced network costs, and improved employee productivity and customer satisfaction.  To date, the majority of WAN optimization efforts that have been concentrated in branch offices deployments were available primarily as dedicated appliances.

IDC research has found the demand for WAN optimization to be broad based among a large variation in the types of users, types of traffic patterns, and geographical mix of remote offices. As a result, in addition to evaluating the immediate benefit of WAN optimization, customers evaluate a number of factors within their own unique network configuration, including the cost to deploy and manage appliances as well as their relationships and contractual obligations with service providers.

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