Cisco router software connects enterprises to the cloud

Rolls out Cloud Connected Solution enhancements to routers

SAN DIEGO -- As expected, Cisco this week rolled out the Cloud Connected Solution, software for its ISR and ASR routers that's designed to enable enterprises to implement and access cloud networks and services.

Cloud Connected Solution also includes a Cloud Services Router (CSR), a virtual router that lets enterprises extend their VPNs into the cloud. Cloud service providers can offer CSR, which runs on a Cisco UCS server, as a "network-as-a-service" product, Cisco says.

Cisco made the announcement at the Cisco Live user conference here this morning.

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According to Cisco's Global Cloud Networking Survey for 2012, the majority of IT "decision makers" cite a cloud-ready network as the biggest requirement to foster the migration of business applications to the cloud. It is against this backdrop that Cisco developed the Connected Cloud Solution.

In addition to CSR, Cloud Connected Solution includes software called Cloud Connectors; AppNav for managing clusters of physical and virtual Cisco WAAS WAN optimizers as a single resource pool; Application Visibility and Control (AVC) software for routers for optimizing cloud application delivery; a new 1RU form factor for the ASR 1002-X edge router; and the Cisco UCS E-Series server modules on the ISR G2 routers.

Here are more details on those Cloud Connected Solution offerings:

*Cloud Connectors run on the UCS E-Series modules. These software modules are designed to improve the performance, security and availability of cloud services and applications.

*Third-party software developers can write applications and services to the Cloud Connectors, and Cisco is also offering its own Cloud Connector services: Cisco Hosted Collaboration Services, ScanSafe Web-based security service and the CTERA Storage Connector for voice and application survivability.

*In addition to virtualizing WAN optimization into resource pools, AppNav is a traffic steering technology that can be allocated and enforced through policies, Cisco says. AppNav can be installed as a hardware module on existing Cisco Wide Area Virtualization Engine appliances or as software on the new CSR.

*AVC is based on stateful deep packet inspection. It allows ASR and ISR G2 routers to identify applications within the traffic flow so they can then collect various performance metrics such as bandwidth use, response time or latency. The routers can then assign QoS priorities to critical applications or enforce application bandwidth use to improve performance, Cisco says.

*The ASR 1002-X now comes in a 1RU form factor. It still allows organizations to increase their WAN edge performance up to 36Gbps, like the existing 2RU configuration. Cisco is also introducing the ESP-100G, a forwarding processor for the ASR 1000 series in cloud edge deployments, and FlexVPN on the ASR 100, for IPsec site-to-site and remote access VPN.

All products are currently available, with the exception of the CSR 1000v, AppNav on the CSR, and Cisco UCS E-Series on ISR G2, which are scheduled to begin shipping in the fourth quarter. The ASR 1002-X router is scheduled to begin shipping in September.

Jim Duffy has been covering technology for over 25 years, 21 at Network World. He also writes The Cisco Connection blog and can be reached on Twitter @Jim_Duffy.

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