Cisco delivers content caching boxes

Cisco Systems Inc. this week released a bevy of content delivery and caching gear aimed at helping businesses speed up delivery and gain better management of corporate data.

The company released version 5.0 of its Application and Content Networking System (ACNS) software, which includes updated security and scalability features. Four Content Engine boxes were also announced aimed at delivering content to enterprise branches and provide integration between content distribution and enterprise storage systems.

The ACNS 5.0 software runs on all Cisco Enterprise Content Delivery Network (ECDN) gear, such as Content Engines and Content Modules for Cisco routers. The security upgrades include virus and worm filtering, plus expanded support for RealNetworks, Microsoft and Apple streaming servers.

Cisco's Content Engine hardware can be used to distribute and cache data such as corporate video content, database application data or multimedia files over a WAN during off-peak network usage times. The cached content can then be accessed locally at higher speeds via a LAN connection, allowing for higher-quality video and easier delivery of large files.

The updated Content Engine gear includes:

- Content Engine (CE) 510, a box targeted at midsized offices. It supports a single IDE hard drive (20G byte or 40G byte) and a single PCI expansion slot for adding an MPEG decoding module, or Fibre Channel adapter, for connecting to a SAN.

- CE 556, which supports two SCSI hard drives and a slot for either the MPEG decoder or storage adapter. A configuration change on the box transforms it into a Content Distribution Manager (CDM) node, for controlling and scheduling the distribution of content over a WAN.

- CE 7305, aimed at large sites and can support up to four SCSI drives (two are included). It also supports Fiber Channel connectivity and external SCSI connectivity to a Cisco Storage Array-14 content storage device. The box can act as a CDM node.

- CE 7325, which comes with six SCSI drives built in and support for Fiber Channel Storage Array-14. It can also act as a CDM node.

The Cisco CE 510 costs US$5,500 and the CE 565 is priced at US$11,000. The CE 7305 and 7325 cost US$25,000 and US$60,000, respectively. All products ship with ACNS 5.0.

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