Cisco Ramps Up Borderless Networking

As it looks to help accelerate IT performance, Cisco today is announcing a series of new products including WAN acceleration, routing, switching and security initiatives.

The new products and services come as Cisco continues to boost performance across its networking product lines and as new competition heats up from rivals such as HP and Juniper.

A key part of the new Cisco technologies announced today is the Application Velocity service, which is being delivered in the form of new products that integrate with the ISR G2 routing platform. The cornerstone of Application Velocity is the Cisco WAAS (Wide Area Application Services) technology that is being made available for the ISR G2, providing WAN optimization and acceleration to router users.

Moving beyond just accelerating traffic, Cisco is also integrating its Unified Computing System (UCS) into the ISR with the new UCS Express module, which runs on the ISR G2’s services ready engine. UCS is Cisco’s server platform family for application delivery. With UCS Express, Cisco is delivering server technology that can run inside of the ISR.

“We’re bringing UCS capability to the branch with UCS Express, providing an integrated server supporting VMware,” Marie Hattar, vice president of marketing for Cisco’s Borderless Networks division, told “You can consolidate servers within the router and you can also have operational consistency across data centers and remote sites.”

The new UCS Express isn’t the first time instance when Cisco has tried to use its ISR routers as a platform for application delivery. In 2008, the company announced the AXP (Application eXtension Platform) for its first-generation ISR. The AXP is a Linux blade that enabled ISR users to run their applications.

“AXP had a runtime environment that supported Linux applications and we were really restricted in that the platform wasn’t certified for Windows apps,” Cisco Senior Marketing Manager Joel Conover told “Since VMware is the baseline layer, with UCS Express you can have one VM (virtual machine) for Windows and then another for the AXP environment.”

Conover added that AXP applications can run on top of the new UCS Express. Now, AXP is becoming the name of Cisco’s developer program, while the platform for executing AXP applications will be the UCS Express.

In addition to the new services for the ISR G2, Cisco is also announcing new routing hardware with the ASR 1001 router. The ASR (Aggregation Services Router) product family first debuted in 2008 after $250 million of research and development investment from Cisco. Hattar noted that the ASR 1001 is a compact one-rack-unit sized device that can deliver up to 5 Gbps of performance.

Switching gear is also getting attention with a new top-of-the-line Catalyst switch. Hattar explained that the new Catalyst 4500 E switch delivers up to 848 Gbps of system bandwidth and up to 384 PoE Plus , making it the highest performing Catalyst product. The Catalyst platform has been one of Cisco’s key switching product groups for years.

On the security front, Cisco has unveiled the new ASA 5585-X security appliance that can scale up to 35 Gbps of large packet throughput for firewall performance and up to 350,000 connections per second.


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

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