Cisco extends ONE platform

ORLANDO – Inbar Lasser-Raab asks us to envision his scenario: A doctor on his rounds in a hospital is identified by the network. Because it knows who it is, it can send a list of his patients to his mobile device. Because it knows where he is, it can push specific patient records. Because of the context of the records, it can suggest treatment options or arrange a video conference with the appropriate specialist. That would be an efficient round.

“What makes it happen is the network,” the senior director if enterprise networks for Cisco Systems Inc. said Monday at the networking giant’s Cisco Live conference here. “That is the world where the network can change the business experience.”

Lasser-Raab was speaking at the launch of a revamped enterprise switching and routing line and a new architecture aimed at speeding the growth of Cisco’s vaunted Internet of Everything, wherein the network brings people, processes, data and networked objects together.

Among the hardware announced on Monday:

* The Catalyst 6800 family of campus switches, an upgrade of its 650o family. The 6807-XL is a 7-slot, 10-rack-unit modular chassis with up to 880 Gbps per slot capacity and 11.4TB per port switching capacity, optimized for 10/40/100Gbps environments. Its rich services offer 6,500 features, and cards from the older 6500 series are compatible. The Catalyst 6880-X is a 3-slot, 4RU semi-fixed switch aimed at smaller and mid-size campus deplyments, supporting up to eighty 10 Gbps ports or twenty 40 Gbps ports. The 6800 Instant Access switch pushes 6800 series functionality out to edge switches.

* The Cisco 4500E Supervisor Engine 8E extends wired infrastructure features and QoS to wireless environments, and is capable of handling “hundreds of thousands” of mobile devices, said Cisco  senior vice-president and general manager of enterprise networks Rob Soderberry.

* The Cisco ISR 4451-AX branch router offers up to 2 gigabit performance with natice services and WAN optimization, integrating visibility, control and optimization for applications, Soderberry said.

* The Cisco ASR 1000-AX integrates firewall, WAN and application services in one box, “and you you get a router for free,” Soderberry said.

Soderberry described an architecture wherein network aware applications sat atop a control layer – an abstraction layer that provides network services from the network element layer of switches, routers, access points, ASICs and software.

Don Prince, senior IT security architect for power company Southern, said his company’s workforce is “truly mobile,” with 500 to 1,000 trucks on the road every day over its four-state territory in the southeast U.S. The trucks are essentially offices on wheels, needing broadband service to provide better customer response times.

While power companies often have equipment in the field that’s up to 50 years old, “IT isn’t there yet,” he said. Southern wanted to continue to leverage their investment in Cisco’s Catalyst 6500 family while replacing boxes as necessary with the 6800 line.

“It’s much better investment protection,” Prince said.

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Dave Webb
Dave Webb
Dave Webb is a freelance editor and writer. A veteran journalist of more than 20 years' experience (15 of them in technology), he has held senior editorial positions with a number of technology publications. He was honoured with an Andersen Consulting Award for Excellence in Business Journalism in 2000, and several Canadian Online Publishing Awards as part of the ComputerWorld Canada team.

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