Cisco Systems Inc. is making its first foray into integrated Web caching and content delivery networking in an effort to tap into enterprises trying to reduce WAN costs.
The San Jose, Calif., company has created modules for its 2600, 3600 and new 3700 series of access routers that deliver integrated caching and content delivery networking capabilities to keep frequently accessed content—especially graphics—local to remote locations.
Beyond helping to reduce WAN costs, Cisco will help customers save money by incorporating maintenance for the module, or blade, within the router maintenance agreement, company officials said.
Officials at SBC Communications Inc., which uses Ciscos external content delivery engine, said the integrated offering will simplify installation and administration.
"From a physical perspective, fewer boxes mean a cleaner, simpler installation," said Jim Runnels, an SBC senior network engineer, in Indianapolis. "From a logical perspective, it means fewer devices to manage. SBC has quite a large network. Anything we can do to make things simpler and easier is a step in the right direction."
For similar large installations, the benefits, especially cost savings, can be sizable, according to analyst Lawrence Orans, at Gartner Inc., in Stamford, Conn.
"The fact that they arent charging for maintenance is really significant," Orans said. "If you have 100 caching engines at $600 a year in maintenance, you can save a lot."
At the same time, the integrated offering can increase performance for branch-office users working with Web-enabled enterprise applications from vendors such as Siebel Systems Inc. and Oracle Corp.
Until now, Cisco offered users a separate cache engine in a dedicated device installed at the edge of the network for remote locations.
Although the module is about 25 to 30 percent less expensive than the dedicated device, Cisco officials said they believe some customers will still want the option to keep caching separate.
LOCKED AND LOADED Cisco is trying to jump-start integrated caching and content delivery with new router modules. The tools:
To assuage customers security fears, Cisco partitioned the administration functions for Web caching from router administration so that only appropriate technicians have access to sensitive router controls. The caching can be remotely configured.
Should the caching or content delivery networking engine fail, it will not affect the performance or availability of the router, officials said.
The integrated caching option is targeted at enterprises with a large number of remote locations, such as retailers.
The content delivery networking capabilities are designed for enterprises looking to deploy software, kiosks and e-learning applications or to provide online training for remote users.