Cisco to Reinvent Network Infrastructure

The networking giant used Cebit as a platform to shakeup the networking world with the launch of a new router that aggregates many network services, including security and switching, on single platform. Built on top of a custom ASIC processor that Cisco spent over $100 million to develop, the Aggregation Services Router 1000 series runs a new version of the IOS operating system, called IOS-XE, that has been optimized to run as a virtual machine on top of the new Quantum Flow Processor. Suraj Shetty, director of worldwide service provider marketing said the hypervisor that Cisco is using to manage the virtual machines is based on Linux technology that it has customized for this express purpose. The implications of a device from Cisco can aggregate a large number of network services has major implications for security vendors that typically deliver security services for networks using hardware that essentially augments the routers. As Cisco develops the ASR, the router's ability to deliver all services at wire speeds should mean that the need for separate security hardware to augment a router should disappear, said Ian Kennedy, technical director for Cisco Europe. Kennedy added that the ASR 100 series should make it easier for telecommunications companies such as British Telecom to deliver a larger number of managed services across a global base of customers. Priced starting at $35,000, Cisco is positioning the ASR 1000 series between its low end 7200 Series and the Catalyst 6500 series, which today has much higher port density than the ASR 1000 series. According to Shetty, service providers and large enterprise companies are already running short of network bandwidth because of the advent of video traffic that is leading to a new Exabyte era on the Internet. That demand for network bandwidth should result in network bandwidth demand growing at a rate of 29 Exabytes per month by the year 2011. Customers working with the ASR 1000 series include Lufthansa, Wachovia and Texas Instruments, said Shetty.