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Cisco AON system adds standalone engine

Posted: 31 Jan 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:application-oriented networking? AON tools?

When Cisco Systems Inc. acquired Reactivity a year ago, the buzz about "application-oriented networking" (AON) promised to move most data center networking tools to Layer 7 message passing via XML and similar protocols. Since that time, Intel Corp.'s acquisition of Sarvega has not provided a significant XML push in the data center, and AON tools have boiled down to a two-horse race between Cisco and IBM, which acquired Datapower as its XML play.

This week, Cisco is expanding its Data Center 3.0 play with products that include a dedicated appliance for messaging called the Application Control Engine 4710. Indrajit Roy, senior manager for product management in Cisco's application delivery products group, said there's still a distinction between the Cisco and IBM approaches: Cisco plays to its networking strengths, while IBM plays to its server architectures.

"For all we've heard about SOA and practical uses of XML in the data center, we're only running into IBM with an overall strategy here," Roy said.

The ACE 4710 appliance is a bow to those who still see application switching as warranting its own platform. Cisco has offered XML-gateway services, but the new system supports virtualization and asymmetric acceleration in a low-power system that can meet green initiatives for data centers. The ACE 4710 is intended for small- and medium-business applications, supporting up to 50 virtual devices per appliance at an aggregate throughput of 2Gbit/s of application traffic. Embedded Web objects such as Java files are accelerated through a special FlashForward accelerator in the system. Meanwhile, Cisco also has upgraded the software for its ACE XML Gateway, enhancing policy creation and automated traffic routing between the ACE module and the gateway.

The Wide Area Application Services suite has been expanded with a new WAAS Mobile tool, consisting of both client and server software elements, which allows remote and mobile workers to benefit from the application-acceleration features in the data center. WAAS Mobile can be installed without any reconfiguration of desktop clients or file servers in the network.

Cisco is adding a new test capability for optimizing distributed applications, called the Data Center Assurance Program for Applications. Users of the Cisco Data Center 3.0 tools can access the tools online.

The Cisco ACE 4710 appliance is shipping with a promotional price of $15,995. Cisco WAAS Mobile is priced at $5,000 for server software, and multiple-license client prices of $8,750 for 25 concurrent users, or $34,000 for 100. The XML Gateway Release 5.2 is free for existing SmartNet gateway customers.

- Loring Wirbel
EE Times

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