It has been a couple of weeks since its launch and we are seeing lots of interest in the Cisco ISR-AX!  I have been hearing from customers, partners and folks  worldwide about how they are using the new ISR-AX platforms now and get a router, VPN, firewall, intrusion prevention, cloud/web security, AVC (NBAR2, QoS, NetFlow, Media Monitoring, PfR) and WAN optimization (WAAS) all in one box for less than the cost of just an alternative WAN Optimization appliance.  For WAN optimization with WAAS that is less than $1 per WAN optimized connection with ISR-AX!

Anyway, I’ve gotten lots of questions since the launch, so I grouped them and wanted to share the top 4:

1)      The right to use (RTU) for the 2900-AX/3900-AX series is 1300/2500 WAAS and/or vWAAS connections, what does that mean when ordering a system?

Answer: The RTU can be shared across multiple Service Ready Engines (SREs) or UCS E-Series modules in a single router – either WAAS connections on the SRE and/or vWAAS connections on the UCS E-Series.  So you can get hardware modules as needed depending on how many connections you need.  If native WAAS then include the SRE or for virtualized WAAS/vWAAS then include the UCS E-Series – either way the software license/RTU can be used in any combination of modules and/or WAAS/vWAAS services up to the respective number of RTU licenses.

2)      When ordering the UCS E-Series module with the ISR-AX why do I need to also configure vWAAS?  Do I need VMware?

Answer: The RTU is included with each ISR-AX router as discussed above but if a customer wants a virtualized instance on the UCS E-Series module then vWAAS is required to be installed on the UCS E-Series module.  vWAAS can come pre-installed on the UCS E-Series or shipped on a DVD separately from the UCS E-Series module when ordering for $0 – since the RTU is included in the AX router.  VMware vSphere v5 is also needed for vWAAS, so if the customer also orders VMware as Cisco pre-installed on the UCS E-Series, then both vWAAS and VMware will be pre-installed on the UCS E-Series with the ISR-AX.  If customer chooses to self-install VMware then vWAAS will ship on a DVD separately from the UCS E-Series module.  The vWAAS connection size shipped can be either 200, 750 or 1300 for the 2900-AX series or 200, 750, 1300 or 2500 for the 3900-AX series and since the RTU is included with the ISR-AX router and the virtual instance(s) of vWAAS can be included for $0 when ordering – since the price is included with the RTU.  For greater than 2500 connections the 6k vWAAS license may optionally be added for the UCS E-Series module.

3)      What hardware and software support is available for ISR-AX?

Answer: Cisco SmartNet services provide coverage for hardware and software on the router (IP Base, DATA, AVC, SEC) in a variety of options for hardware and software support.  When an SRE is installed there is specific software support & upgrades (SAU) services for the SRE module and all applications running on the SRE are covered under the SAU services, and when a UCS E-Series module is installed there are specific SAU services for each vWAAS virtual license on the UCS E-Series.   When you configure as system in Cisco’s Commerce Workspace (CCW) tool you will see the choices applicable for each configuration.

4)      What platforms are WAAS Express supported on?  What is difference between WAAS Express, WAAS and vWAAS?

Answer: WAAS Express performs optimization using a combination of Data Redundancy Elimination (DRE), Lempel-Ziv (LZ) compression, Transport Flow Optimization (TFO), and selected bandwidth optimization for file services and web applications to provide exceptional bandwidth optimization gains.  All ISR-AX platforms include a license for WAAS Express and the 1921, 1941 and 2901-AX all come pre-equipped with appropriate DRAM by default and ready for WAAS Express deployment.  All other ISR-AX platforms can be optionally equipped with appropriate DRAM for WAAS Express.

For WAAS or vWAAS the SRE or UCS E-Series module is required for 2921-AX and higher platforms and enables WAAS on the SRE and/or vWAAS on the UCS E-Series under the RTU.   WAAS runs natively on the SRE and vWAAS runs in virtual instances on the UCS E-Series, in addition to DRE, LZ and TFO both WAAS and vWAAS also provide:

  • Protocol acceleration: Application-specific latency is reduced through a variety of application-layer techniques such as read-ahead, operation prediction, connection reuse, message multiplexing, pipelining, and parallelization, resulting in LAN-like performance despite deployment over a WAN.
  • Application optimizers: Protocol-specific acceleration is available for Microsoft Windows file sharing (Common Internet File System [CIFS]); Microsoft Exchange (Messaging API [MAPI] and MAPI over SSL); encrypted MAPI [eMAPI], HTTP and HTTPS applications such as Oracle, SAP, and Microsoft SharePoint and Outlook Web Access (OWA); Microsoft Windows print services; UNIX Network File System (NFS); and Citrix ICA. These features improve end-user application response times, significantly improving employee productivity.
  • Content prepositioning: Centralized policy-based file distribution and prepositioning can be used to push files to edge Cisco WAAS devices, accelerating software patch distribution and file access for all users.
  • Improved User Experience: Cisco WAAS can improve the end-user experience and reduce bandwidth for applications including Microsoft Exchange, Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop, SAP, IBM Lotus Notes, NetApp SnapMirror, HTTP and HTTPS, cloud, and file applications.
  • Market Leadership: Cisco is the leader in WAN optimization, as confirmed by IT professionals from both Nemertes Research and IT Brand Pulse for leadership in overall market, price, performance, reliability, service and support, and innovation. In addition, Cisco AppNav for WAAS won the 2012 Best of Interop award!

So hopefully that will help clear up some questions and provide some further information on the ISR-AX platforms, for more information on the ISR-AX please see: www.cisco.com/go/ax or contact your local Cisco partner and look for more updates and information here soon….



Adam Keller

Marketing Manager

Enterprise Networking and Mobility