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Best Practices for Application Delivery in Virtualized Networks – Part I

Earlier this year the Webtorials Analyst Division, co-founded by Dr. Jim Metzler, surveyed their subscriber base of IT professionals. Not surprisingly, 75% admitted that when a core business application degrades in performance, the end user notices before IT does. Therefore, 85% also believe that it is important, very important and even critical to senior managers that they take a more proactive approach to managing acceptable application delivery (See Figure 1).

Source: Metzler, Jim, “2011 Application & Service Delivery Handbook”, p. 14

Click here for the 2011 Application Service Delivery Handbook -- Cisco

Contributing to the challenges of ensuring good application performance are the very innovations that are meant to simplify business and IT operations. These include data center consolidation, virtualization and the wide variety of applications that IT must support– all of which creates operational issues for IT. Not to worry – there are best practices that IT organizations can implement as application delivery challenges continue to evolve. In Part I of this blog post on application and services delivery, I’ll share what I consider to be key learnings from Dr. Metzler’s comprehensive 129 page guide. We’ll start with some core challenges:

Key Application Delivery Challenges

Proliferation of different types of applications: Today, companies utilize a wider variety of applications than ever. Some applications are business-critical. Others enable other business functions. And still more applications support communication and collaboration. Not only do they vary in criticality, but they also vary in their demands on the network. For instance, video streaming, which causes a lot of strain on the network may be key on some occasions (think company-wide all hands meetings a la Apple’s tribute to Steve Jobs), but recreational during other times. IT managers must audit company-wide application use, pinpoint a select group of business critical applications and formulate and execute a plan for optimization.

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The No Brainer Speed Demon of Networking

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If you got the Thanksgiving week copy of Network World, you’d have seen a feature article on the testing they did on the newest Cisco Wide Area Application Services, or WAAS for short. The Clear Choice test looked at the speed and scalability of the industry’s most scalable WAN Optimization appliance – the WAAS 8541.

Below, we provide an overview of the article, list the highlights of some great testing, and show a fun video that goes through the case for WAN optimization.

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Part 2 of “A deeper dive into Cisco VXI finds Cisco WAAS”

Dateline Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.  Citrix Summit and Synergy, October 2011
Hi again,
Last post I said I’d get back to you to give you, at least, my opinion of why Citrix and Cisco are partnering up.  As you might have seen from the dateline above, it’s easy to find out when you get to Citrix Summit and Synergy.  It has to do with the global and ubiquitous Cisco networks deployed by organizations everywhere.  Citrix is doing great with XenApp (last I heard, well over 50,000,000 licenses) and is poised to do even better with XenDesktop.

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Do You Know the Fundamentals of WAN Optimization?

“Remember the days of measuring bandwidth by the Baud?1

The awesome guys at TechwiseTV just made a really fun videoWatch the video to see "What the heck is this?" on understanding the Fundamentals of WAAS (Wide Area Application Services), Cisco’s WAN Optimization technology. They start off with the basics – what you need to think about for WAN Optimization – and finish up with where the technology is going.

“Hold onto your keyboards because this is where it really gets cool.”

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A deeper dive into Cisco Virtualization Experience Infrastructure finds Cisco WAAS

I started to link  to my fellow Cisco Bloggers for their posts on Cisco Virtualization Experience Infrastructure (VXI) but already there are too many for which to build the links.  I’m a WAAS guy so I thought I would draw you attention to  the other press release that mentions Cisco WAAS.

The next layer as we peel the old onion is that Cisco WAAS is now optimized for Citrix XenDesktop.  More explicitly, the Cisco WAAS engineering team has been collaborating with engineers from Citrix so that Cisco WAAS can understand the Citrix HDX and ICA protocols well enough to be able to optimize the traffic without Citrix administrators having to change any compression or encryption settings. And because it’s a a collaboration born of the strategic agreement between Cisco and Citrix, it will be jointly validated, marked as Citrix Ready prior to general availability, and will be supported by both vendors, with clean hand off mechanisms defined between both companies’ support teams.

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