Cisco Systems is launching the next set of deliverables in its Data Center 3.0 strategy, this time focusing on application acceleration and delivery.
Cisco on Jan. 22 turned up the heat in the competitive application acceleration and delivery networking market with its first application acceleration client, a new application delivery controller, new application profiling services and a program to test and validate major enterprise applications on Cisco's growing application delivery portfolio.
The company's new offerings bring new breadth to its Application Networking Services portfolio, giving customers a more comprehensive approach to insuring the performance of applications traversing WANs.
"We believe this is the right time to talk to customers about an application delivery network," said George Kurian, vice president and general manager for Cisco's Application Delivery Business Unit. "Not only are there new application challenges and usage models that render previous attempts invalid, but also as we talk to customers we see the application delivery aspect of the network is moving from a tactical point products approach to using a strategic approach for the right capabilities at the right place in customer environments."
Forrester Research analyst Rob Whiteley gave a nod of approval to Cisco's more comprehensive approach. "Customers realize that there's a network middleware layer, and that infrastructure is really where most of the investment and most of the confusion is. To date, Cisco has had point products here and there. Now they have a good breadth and depth story along those lines."
The new Cisco Application Control Engine 4710 complements Cisco's ACE module for the Catalyst 6500, delivering a form factor and performance improvements aimed at smaller and midsize deployments. It supports up to 2G bps of applications traffic.
It provides the same virtual partition technology used in the Catalyst module, which helps to streamline the workflow involved in setting up security policies, ensuring server and network capacity, and providing the application with appropriate routing information. It supports 50 virtual partitions within the appliance form factor, compared to the module's 250 partitions.
"Virtualization lets the organization speed up application deployments and improve time-to-service for new applications in the data center. Instead of having to buy new load balancers and new servers as you scale your server farm, you can turn on a software license, configure a new virtual load balancer in the ACE family and link that with the server farm, reducing the typical application service time from several weeks to now a few hours," Kurian said.
Early users at Golden Gate University in San Francisco were happy to see Cisco renew its commitment to offering competitive load balancing and the opportunity to solve performance problems while continuing to consolidate the number of vendors the university works with, according to Karl Ehr, IT operations manager at the university.