Cisco releases new content switching devices

New content switching devices released by Cisco Systems Inc. last month could enable enterprises to centralize management of distributed data centres and balance Web traffic across data centre networks, improving performance and scalability, the company said.

In fact, Cisco calls its new GSS 4480 Global Site Selector the “cornerstone of multi-site disaster recovery plans” because Cisco says it is a critical component for installing disaster recovery systems for Web-based applications.

Scaling to support hundreds of data centres, the GSS 4480 switching appliance is interoperable with other vendors’ domain name system (DNS)-capable networking products.

Behaving as a centralized control and command device for these distributed data centres, it works with Cisco’s content switches, offloading current DNS control functions and direct user requests – more than 4,000 per second – to the best available resource across the distributed data centre infrastructure.

It directs these requests based on a hierarchy of factors including the user’s location, server load, network congestion, network failures and whether the user has entered the request or if it is being redirected after an interruption, said Mark Leary, a manager of technology marketing for Cisco in San Jose.

This leaves the content switches free to perform local tasks such as directing requests to particular switches inside a data centre, Leary added.

Cisco also released the CSS 11501; a content switching device for data centres at small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that provides similar functionality as the GSS 4480. With a fixed configuration, it has eight 10/100 Ethernet ports and one gigabit Ethernet port and takes up one rack unit.

Part of the Cisco 11500 series content switching family, it runs on Cisco Web Network Services (WebNS) Software, minimum v.7.0 – the same software used on its relatives, the Cisco 11506 and 11503 switches.

Cisco also added two new architectures to its content networking portfolio, through partnerships with BEA Systems Inc. and Siebel Systems respectively, which the company says could optimize application performance and availability throughout the enterprise.

Facilitating the deployment of Cisco content switching solutions, ensuring optimal use of software and systems resources and improving reliability of e-business systems are the cornerstones of these new certified architectures.

The company is online at

– With files from IDG News Service