Cisco enters the packet shaping market with a new network module

Cisco is setting its sights on the competitors in the packet shaping market place with its newest release of the Application Performance Assurance (APA) Network Module the NME-APA-E3 2.0. The APA 2.0 code adds many of the features that Cisco needed to compete in this market, like the ability to classify and control over 1000 applications and report on its findings with over 100 built-in reporting templates. The APA allows for per user traffic profile granularity that hooks into Microsoft Active Directory. The new NME-APA-E3 leverages ASIC components and RISC processors that allow it to scale up to 45Mpbs of performance. The NME-APA-E3 is targeted at the branch office and regional office segment of corporations. According to Cisco the APA solution provides these features:

  • Layer 7 stateful packet inspection and classification
  • Robust support for over 1000 protocols and applications, including:
  • –Business—Systems, Applications, and Products (SAP), Oracle, Citrix, Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM), Healthcare Level 7 (HL7), FIX, and Blackboard
  • –General—HTTP, HTTPS, FTP, Telnet, Network News Transfer Protocol (NNTP), Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP), Post Office Protocol 3 (POP3), Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP), Wireless Application Protocol (WAP), and others
  • –Peer-to-Peer (P2P file sharing—FastTrack-KazaA, Gnutella, BitTorrent, Winny, Hotline, eDonkey, DirectConnect, Piolet, and others
  • –P2P VoIP—Skype, Skinny, DingoTel, and others
  • –Instant Messaging—Yahoo Messenger, AIM, Google Talk, and MSN
  • –Streaming and Multimedia—Real Time Streaming Protocol (RTSP), Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), HTTP streaming, Real Time Protocol (RTP) and Real Time Control Protocol (RTCP), and others
  • Programmable system core for flexible reporting
  • Transparent network and BSS and OSS integration into existing networks
  • User awareness that relates traffic and usage to specific customers

The APA is managed using the APA Device Console software 2.0. The device console software can configure and control multiple NME-APA devices. The APADC provides the following management components to manage all aspects of the APA solution: • Device management • Traffic management • User management • Reporting • Admin management The APA application definitions are fully programmable/customizable using the Cisco Service Modeling Language (SML). The APA also offers integration with existing provisioning systems, user repositories, billing systems, and OSS systems thru a set of open APIs. The APA network module fits into Cisco's ISR 2800 and 3800 series routers and requires 12.4(20)YA IOS code on the router. So does Cisco have a shot at the L7 packet shaping market with the APA solution?

For more information on the Cisco Application Performance Assurance solution see here: For APA Device Console (GUI) documentation go here : For APA CLI documentation go here:

The opinions and information presented here are my personal views and not those of my employer.

Join the Network World communities on Facebook and LinkedIn to comment on topics that are top of mind.

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.