Networld+Interop - Cisco drills into content networking

Cisco Systems Inc. will use this year's Networld+Interop show in Las Vegas to turn the spotlight on equipment designed to boost the reliability and availability of content-based network services.

Updating its content-switching offerings, Cisco rolled out the Content Services Switch 11503 and 11506 modular content-switching platforms. Based on a new distributed processing architecture, the switches feature improved performance, rules-based user session recovery, and integrated SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) acceleration. In addition, the modular architecture is designed to allow enterprises to start small and grow as performance and scalability requirements rise, according to Mark Leary, solution manager for content networking at the San Jose, Calif.-based networking company.

Targeting wireless content, Cisco introduced a new version of its Content Transformation Engine designed to shape content for delivery to wired and wireless end-user devices, including Cisco IP phones, RIM devices, and WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) phones. CTE 1400 Release 2 also features JavaScript support, Web-based network administration, and enhanced performance monitoring, according to Cisco officials.

Bolstering its enterprise CDN (content delivery network) offerings, Cisco unveiled Version 4.1 of its ACNS (Application and Content Networking System) software, which integrates caching and content delivery into a single system. Aimed at eLearning, employee communications, and content acceleration, ACNS 4.1 enhancements include native streaming support for Microsoft WMT and RealNetworks caching, splitting, and multicast sourcing capabilities, according to Julie O'Brien, Cisco product marketing manager for content networking.

Cisco also updated its IP/TV offering, which uses multicast technology to deliver high-quality streaming to desktops and meeting rooms. Version 3.4 features support for MPEG-4, scalability to as many as 10,000 user desktops, and enhanced video-on-demand capabilities.

Finally, Version 4.1 of the Cisco Hosting Solution Engine (HSE) allows multiple administrators to manage content services across the shared network infrastructure, according to Cisco officials. HSE 4.1 improves the visibility into networking devices beyond the datacenter into the network edge, Leary said.

A wider view of the network can help streamline the diagnostic processes for network troubleshooting, Leary added.

"Finding out where the problem is often times is the most difficult part of the equation. HSE presents that wide view to help improve response time," he said.

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