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Home Powering up networks: Part 4 of our six-part New Data Center series

Making your apps faster, Cisco-style

A Cisco executive pitches network-based application optimization with promises of QoS and security integration

By , Network World
June 18, 2007 12:08 AM ET

Network World - Optimization is a constant worry of network executives who need to make unruly applications -- never designed to run over anything but a high-speed LAN -- perform smoothly on the WAN. These days, network executives need to boost application performance itself, as well as factor in how to optimize storage, encryption and server-to-server technologies, such as XML.

Cisco wants to help by putting everything related to optimization into an intelligent network layer. Then, for example, network executives can deploy optimization services as blades and software add-ons in their existing Cisco gear. The router giant's network-based application-optimization strategy splits along the lines of two product families: Application-delivery networks focus on user-to-application communications (including performance, security and so forth), while the Application Oriented Networking initiative centers on application-to-application communications. George Kurian, general manager for Cisco's application delivery business unit, explains how it all fits together in an interview with Julie Bort, a Network World editor.

When it comes to application optimization, what makes Cisco different from a growing list of competitors?

We allow the customer to deploy WAN optimization while not disrupting any of the operating policies, such as for QoS or security, implemented in the network. Some other vendors require customers to migrate QoS policies onto their boxes from the routers. They require a tunnel-based architecture on top of the router network, which means customers have to manage two different domains -- the routing domain and the application-acceleration domain.

George Kurian, Cisco

Cisco's approach leads to a single device, often used at a remote site, which does routing, security, WAN optimization and more. Are you recommending this "god box," otherwise known as the integrated services router, as the best possible architectural choice?

Cisco has shipped more than 2 million ISRs [Integrated Service Router] since their introduction in September 2004. This clearly validates customers' interest in service integration, device consolidation and a single point of vendor accountability, especially for a branch environment.

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