Feeds

Cisco puts a virty router in the clouds

And a virty server in a router, among other unnatural acts

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Cisco Live 2012 Nothing is what it appears to be in the data center any more. Servers have integrated storage and switching, routers and switches are getting servers. And virtual switches and now virtual routers are running inside of servers and blade enclosures.

Nothing seems to know its proper place any more. Maybe it is convergence. Maybe it is confusion. Maybe it is both, and the desire by hardware and software makers to try to make their machines do a little bit of everything to try to take some market share away from each other.

The convergence continues apace at Cisco on Tuesday, with the company hosting its annual Cisco Live event, this time in San Diego. It is announcing a bunch of new gear that are part of the company's Cloud Connected Solutions strategy of making the connections between mobile users and services running in the data center and out on the cloud more intelligent and efficient.

Cisco's Cloud Connected Solution gets hardware moist

Cisco's Cloud Connected Solution gets hardware moist (click to enlarge)

Let's talk about the new hardware and software first and then how it all plugs together to reach the Cloud Connected strategy networking requirements that Cisco's top brass say customers are asking it to meet.

Up front is a new Cloud Services Router 1000v which lifts Cisco's routing software, running atop its IOS network operating system, off the iron and plunks it into a virtual machine for deployment out on the cloud. Cisco has taken IOS and the routing software stack in it physical hardware – including routing, VPN, firewall, NAT, QoS, application visibility, failover, and WAN optimization code – and ported it to a VM container that can execute on either VMware's ESXi hypervisor or Citrix Systems' XenServer hypervisor.

This is analogous to the virtual Nexus 1000v switch that Cisco created for its "California" Unified Computing System blade servers to virtualize the network links between VMs running on the blades.

Now Cisco can put routing and related security functions (all based on the familiar IOS stack) in all parts of an organizations infrastructure, whether it is an Aggregation Services Router (ASR) at the head end of the network, the Integrated Services Router (ISR) in the branch office, and the CSR out in the cloud.

By putting a virtual router out in the cloud, customers can extend their own routing networks into the data centers of cloud operators and ensure that their networks are isolated from other companies who are sharing that physical infrastructure. This will allow customers or managed service providers to offer end-to-end routing from the data center to the branch office to the cloud.

At the moment, the CSR1000v can be used as a VPN using IPSec security, and in the future Cisco will be adding support for SSL encryption. It can also be used to redirect traffic to Cisco's virtual WAAS WAN optimization appliances, which debuted back in September 2010 and which optimizes traffic for the Nexus 1000v virtual switch. In October 2010, Cisco rolled out another virtual WAAS appliance that runs atop IOS itself and can run on any router in the Cisco lineup.

(The real question is this: When will Cisco just run all of its stuff on x86 iron and in secure partitions and just do away entirely with networking hardware, aside from ports that hang off a server?)

The CSR 1000v runs on x86 iron, of course, and the recommended configuration is to have four cores, 4GB of main memory, and 8GB of disk capacity allocated to its virtual machine for it to run.

It runs IOS-XE release 3.8 and will run atop ESXi 5.0 or XenServer 6.0 hypervisors. The product will be sold under a subscription model; pricing was not announced. Cisco says that the CSR 1000v will be available in the fourth quarter.

On the real router front, Cisco announced the ASR 1002-X, which delivers between 5Gb/sec and 36Gb/sec of routing bandwidth (scalable with a "golden screwdriver" software upgrade to 10Gb/sec, 20Gb/sec, or 36Gb/sec speeds).

The 2U rack-mounted router slides in the line between the ASR-1002 and the ASR-1004, and has six Gigabit Ethernet ports and all of the software you would expect: VPN, firewall, plus WAN, broadband, and firewall aggregation. The ASR 1002-X peaks at 36Gb/sec, compared to the 40Gb/sec for the ASR-1004, but it only takes up 1U of rack space compared to the 2U for the ASR-1004.

The ISR G2 branch router (PDF), which debuted in October 2009, is also being goosed with new UCS E-Series x86-based coprocessors. Cisco has been offering such coprocessors on the ISRs for several years, and the company will be putting out an upgraded x86 coprocessor for the latest ISR G2s starting in the fall as well.

The feeds and speeds of this new coprocessor were not divulged, but Cisco did say that the point of having a peppier coprocessor in the ISR G2 was that it expected for more third parties to build software and services to run on them.

Cisco Cloud Connected Solution

How the Cloud Connected Solution stacks up (click to enlarge)

In a nutshell, that is what all of this Cloud Connected Solution talk is all about. You can put a virtual switch or router on internal servers or external clouds, or on physical iron if you want to go that way, and also load up other software and services to run on virtual machines or coprocessors that make use of that cloudy switching and routing.

Cisco is cooking up its own Cloud Connected software, and to that end is rolling out its WAAS 5.0 with AppNav, which is a traffic steering mechanism for the WAAS WAN optimization appliance that can work with physical or virtual manifestations (running on the CSR 1000v cloudy router) of the WAAS software to pool and scale up traffic steering as needed.

Cisco has also created a Cloud Connector to run its ScanSafe web security software and its Host Collaboration Services disaster recovery for IP telephony software for when the WAN crashes. ®

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
The cloud that goes puff: Seagate Central home NAS woes
4TB of home storage is great, until you wake up to a dead device
Azure TITSUP caused by INFINITE LOOP
Fat fingered geo-block kept Aussies in the dark
You think the CLOUD's insecure? It's BETTER than UK.GOV's DATA CENTRES
We don't even know where some of them ARE – Maude
Want to STUFF Facebook with blatant ADVERTISING? Fine! But you must PAY
Pony up or push off, Zuck tells social marketeers
Yahoo! blames! MONSTER! email! OUTAGE! on! CUT! CABLE! bungle!
Weekend woe for BT as telco struggles to restore service
Oi, Europe! Tell US feds to GTFO of our servers, say Microsoft and pals
By writing a really angry letter about how it's harming our cloud business, ta
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence
Download Choosing a Cloud Hosting Provider with Confidence to learn more about cloud computing - the new opportunities and new security challenges.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.