Cloud enablement

Cisco's Software Router Targets the Cloud

SAN DIEGO -- Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO)'s first software-based router is the highlight of a handful of cloud announcements being made by the vendor Tuesday.

The announcement will help kick off Cisco Live, the company's annual customer conference, which is probably going to be saturated with talk of clouds and software-defined networking (SDN).

Naturally, Cisco has a network-oriented theme behind "cloud," but one that admits that the network is the facet of cloud computing that enterprises trust the least. In a Cisco survey, 37 percent of the participants considered the network to be the top barrier to cloud adoption, says Inbar Lasser-Raab, Cisco's senior director of marketing.

Cisco's announcements about the new launches, collectively called the Cisco Cloud Connected Solution, aim to quell that mistrust.

The software router is called the Cloud Services Router (CSR) 1000v, not to be confused with the CRS lines of core routers. The CSR is a software-based router that runs on a plain old server and is meant to be hosted by the cloud provider.

Software-based routers are nothing new -- Vyatta Inc. has been offering them for years. But while Vyatta's cloud strategy has hinged on the delivery of east-west traffic (data going from one server to a neighboring server in a data center), Cisco's CSR 1000v has a different goal.

For the enterprise, CSR provides a guaranteed all-Cisco environment from the branch office all the way into the cloud -- even a public cloud run by the enterprise's cloud provider. Some people might react in horror to the "all-Cisco" part, but for some customers, that's important, Lasser-Raab says.

The idea is to let the enterprise run one networking scheme from the branch office all the way into the cloud. That can be important in the case of cloudbursting, where applications sit in private and public clouds, and the enterprise is connected to one or the other, depending on congestion. Some customers want to make sure that things such as Cisco VPNs are still viable when the network reaches into the public cloud, Lasser-Raab says.

Some of Cisco's other cloudy announcements Tuesday include:
  • Application visibility and control (AVC) software for the ISR and ASR routers and for Cisco's Wide Area Applications Services (WAAS), the company's WAN optimization platform. AVC is network-monitoring software, replacing the probes that otherwise would be sprinkled around the network.
  • AppNav, a WAAS module that can apply policies by deciding which WAAS module to forward traffic to. It's like an optimizer for WAN optimization, and it's meant for networks that cluster WAASs.
  • The Cloud Connector concept. The idea here is to back up a cloud application by running it in the branch office. Cisco's first Connector product will be a module replicating its Unified Computing System (UCS) in miniature for ISR routers, the routers that sit in branch offices. The UCS-E, as Cisco calls it, will include 3 terabytes of storage and 8 gigabytes of memory.
    Cloud Connector is the opposite of what people are doing in the cloud -- that is, it's bringing some of the virtualized elements back into the office. It's meant to be backup in case the cloud connection goes down, Lasser-Raab says. "It's exactly what you need to ensure survivability of the cloud."

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— Craig Matsumoto, Managing Editor, Light Reading

COMMENTS Add Comment
Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 5:30:32 PM
re: Cisco's Software Router Targets the Cloud

AppNav won a 'best of interop' award at the show last month -- which was amusing because the product itself hadn't been announced yet. Everyone was suddenly asking what this thing was, and Cisco wasn't talking, Lasser-Raab said.

Maybe we should try that for the Leading Lights. "The winner is the XQ-Z905. We can't say why. THANK YOU GOOD NIGHT!"

vyattadan 12/5/2012 | 5:30:29 PM
re: Cisco's Software Router Targets the Cloud

Thanx for the shout-out, we at Vyatta appreciate your mentioning us.  However, I would take issue with the idea that the Vyattan Network OS is just for East-West / VM to VM traffic. Though East/West scenario is a common one, Vyatta is also often used as an edge device for VPN/firewall/Web filtering. 

That said, we welcome Cisco to the virtual networking party.  It is clear that software-based networking technology will play an increasingly important role in the networks of today and tomorrow.  For more information, visit http://www.vyatta.com/solutions/enterprise.



Vyatta, Inc.

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