Cisco Goes to the Cloud for Control and Security

The Interop networking show in Las Vegas has a heavy focus on the cloud this year. It’s a focus that Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO) is delivering on with a pair of announcement made at the show today. The company is introducing the Cisco Flex 7500 Series Cloud Controller as well as providing cloud security for its ISR service routers. The two new releases are intended to help streamline IT services by leveraging the cloud

The Cisco Flex 75000 is a cloud controller for Wi-Fi access points that is deployed in the data center. The Flex 7500 can support up to 20,000 users, according to Cisco.

“The Flex controller provides a consistent experience and centralizes IT capabilities while eliminating footprint in the branch,” Inbar Lasser-Raab senior director of network systems at Cisco Systems told

In terms of the consistent experience, Lasser-Raab noted that capabilities such as Cisco’s Clean Air RF spectrum analysis technology are compatible with the cloud controller. Cisco debuted Clean Air at Interop in 2010.

“The RF interference solution is in the access point so from a solution perspective it’s transparent and exactly the same if you have the controller locally or in the cloud,” Lasser-Raab said.

From a cost perspective, Lasser-Raab noted that there are cost savings since the Flex controller is a single device that supports multiple branches. Cisco list price for the Flex Controller is $49,995.

ScanSafe added to ISR G2 routers

On the cloud security front, Cisco has integrated its ScanSafe security service with the ISR G2 router portfolio. Cisco acquired ScanSafe in 2009 for $183 million.

“We’ve had security on the ISR for some time with Firewall and IPS,” Lasser-Raab said. “We’re now adding now support for ScanSafe a cloud delivered service that protects against known and zero day malware.”

The ScanSafe protection is an incremental feature provisioned in Cisco’s IOS networking software and does not require a separate hardware module to enable.

“With ScanSafe all of the processing is done in the cloud whereas with IPS the processing is done [at] the device level,” Lasser-Raab said.

Lasser-Raab noted that the IPS is about intrusion prevention, while ScanSafe focuses more on Web malware.

“The two are not overlapping in functionality,” Lasser-Raab said.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at, the news service of, the network for technology professionals.

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