Cisco Unveils Application Network Services

The initiative represents Cisco's strategic alignment of various sales and marketing functions around optimizing and securing the delivery of applications traffic.

Cisco Systems Inc. formally launched its next new advanced technology initiative at its worldwide analyst conference on Tuesday, when it outlined its new Application Network Services initiative.

The ninth in a series of growth opportunities Cisco has identified to become $1 billion business opportunities within seven years, ANS represents Ciscos strategic alignment of various sales and marketing functions around optimizing and securing the delivery of applications traffic.

But some industry observers said they believe that Cisco is late to recognize the fast growing market for application delivery controllers and WAN optimization devices.

Gartner Inc. projects that the total market this year will reach about $1.5 billion, with application delivery controllers representing $800 million and WAN optimization taking $700 million, according to Joe Skorupa, research director, in Fremont, Calif.

"Weve been telling them for three years that they needed to do something here. If they had declared Application Oriented Networking an advanced technology two years ago, that would have been visionary. But today its catching up to the vision of F5 [Networks Inc.], Juniper [Networks Inc.] Riverbed [Technology Inc.], and a host of other vendors," he said.

ANS encompasses two different approaches, including "application delivery services focused on optimizing and securing communications between end users and applications or application services" and "optimizing communication between applications and [other] applications," said George Kurian, vice president and general manager at Cisco in San Jose, Calif.

Because it encompasses both Ciscos AON initiative launched last summer and its application delivery activities, ANS is also Ciscos tacit acknowledgement that AON itself does not promise the potential for a $1 billion business opportunity.

Cisco did not launch any new deliverables in the ANS rollout, which was intended to signal a company-wide focus and a marshalling of resources to aggressively pursue the next advanced technology play.


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ANS encompasses three sets of products, including existing server load balancing products that include content switching modules and an appliance; data center application optimization and security services based on technology acquired with FineGround Networks, as well as Cisco-built application security technology within Ciscos Application Velocity products; and appliances located in branch offices based on Ciscos Wide Area Application Engine, which implements Wide Area File Services from Ciscos Actona acquisition as well as Ciscos own content networking technology.

Kurian said he believes that Cisco can compete effectively with market leader F5 Networks Inc. in the data center and that F5 is following Ciscos lead in the branch office with its acquisition of Swan Networks in October.

"They have certain advantages over us in the data center side, but we can embed technologies within data center infrastructure in a way they cant, and we have reach into the channel that they [dont have]," he said.

"You will see us articulate application networking services as part of an overall data center architecture. Others will articulate it as a stand-alone overlay. From that perspective well be able to win," he added.


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