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Are you attending Cisco Live! 2016 in Las Vegas? Want to learn how aging infrastructure can impact your organization and why you need to modernize your network for digital? Join Prashanth Shenoy on Thursday, July 14th to find out how Cisco Digital Network Architecture (DNA) can help you innovate, generate actionable insights and create new customer experiences, all while protecting the business.

Follow this link to schedule: Session Catalog - Cisco Live US 2016

2016 marks the beginning of Cisco WAAS and Akamai Connect (AKC) deployment at our flagship industry event, Cisco Live. This post will cover the process for that deployment at Cisco Live Berlin, design of the network, and reports showing the optimization results.



Optimization focused on Web based traffic including Apple and Microsoft Windows Updates.



WAAS Deployment Overview:

  • Two UCS C220 Rack Servers (one server per DC core)
  • VMWare ESXI 6.0
  • Ten vWAAS6k (6000 Concurrent Connections) instances across two DC Cores with Akamai Connect enabled
  • WAAS version 6.1.1a
  • VM Requirements: 40 vCores, 110 GB RAM, and 10 TB of Storage.
  • Interception and Distribution: two ASR 1001s running AppNavXE


Cisco Event Infrastructure team had a set of 3 top design priorities and requirements.

Design PriorityWAAS Object Caching
Reliable and proven technologies Deploying multiple vWAAS instances on a UCS server allowed for quick and easy setup. Redirecting traffic from the edge routers using AppNavXE ensured that load is distributed evenly and failed vWAAS nodes could be moved out of the pool.
Secure Network Access to the WAAS Central Manager is limited to secure network only.
Flexible Design - many last minute changes Using vWAAS allowed for flexible horizontal scaling. If additional caching capacity is required, a new vWAAS instance could have been enabled quickly, and AppNavXE would ensure traffic distributes properly to additional resources.



Network Diagram:

Network Diagram.png



Peak of concurrent devices connected to Cisco Live Wi-Fi:

Wi-Fi Chart.png


HTTP bandwidth offload - aggregated over a week

The graph below shows the total amount of data offloaded from the WAN by using caching. During the busiest days, over 300GB was offloaded amounting to over 30% of HTTP data served from cache.

Data Served Chart.png


HTTP response time saving - daily report for a single vWAAS

This report shows the amount of time saved due to content being downloaded from cache. This type of report is available per device. The graph below shows a single vWAAS at its busiest period (around 11am); caching saved over 18h in download time.

Response Time Chart.png


Top 10 sites based on WAN data offload - daily report for a single vWAAS

The graph below shows a list of Top 10 sites based on their WAN offload in GB. (Cisco Live had a dedicated IOS App that attendees could use to navigate around the venue and schedule sessions.)

Top Sites Chart.png



Throughout Cisco Live Berlin, Cisco WAAS and Akamai Connect offloaded a total of nearly 1 TB of data from the WAN links. During peak times, up to 1GB of data per every 5 minutes was delivered from cache. There were also significant improvements to user experience for downloading applications and general browsing; saving at the peak 18h of download time in a 1h period.


The top objects delivered from cache were:

  • Apple IOS and App Updates
  • Windows Updates
  • Virus Definition Updates (Norton and McAfee)


Overall user feedback about the event was positive. There we no complaints raised at all about performance or stability.


(Credit: data and deployment details provided by Anthony Lockart, Cisco Product Manager)

CL Tweet.png

In a previous blog posting “What is Enterprise NFV Infrastructure Software” I described NFVIS and what it does within the Cisco Enterprise NFV solution. When people first look at the solution, occasionally the question comes up “what is the difference here with server hypervisors”?


I generally don’t like to compare Enterprise NFV with NFVIS to standard server hypervisors. The reason is that although there are some common uses of virtualization technology, they are developed, applied and used in a much different way. It’s like trying to compare a full sized pickup truck and mini-van. They both have combustion engines and an area to carry things, but what you need to carry in the back of a pickup is not the same as a mini-van. Also, what is important to the person who buys one or the other is very different.


What about using other hypervisors for NFV?

Standard server virtualization evolved for use in the data center. The idea was to take applications running on standalone servers and run them on top of a large sever(s) sharing the CPU/Memory/Storage. When looking at the commercially available hypervisors, attention was given to specific features and scale without as much around controlling footprint. This makes perfect sense at the data center and when you are running tens of thousands of VMs the overhead of the hypervisor is minimal to the load of the VMs. In standard server virtualization a common means of efficiency is to oversubscribe the hypervisor since at the data center there can be a high random rate of use to any given VM. This can be further stretched when considering that remote users may be from far different time zones allowing for further oversubscription.


Branch needs to be different

When at the branch, this is no longer the case. Many times branch footprints can be small and if you are running a few VNFs like router, firewall, IPS/IDS, proxy, and such, each one is processing nearly all of the same packets sequentially. In this case, there is no opportunity to really oversubscribe to gain efficiency. On top of software enhancements to maximize the use of resources, we’ve built in and we’ll be using hardware assistance coming soon.


One of the other differences to the more standard approaches of server virtualization is that the management system for hypervisor generally does not do much with the VM itself. What I mean by that is if you are configuring a VM to be a virtual router, the management system for the hypervisor does not know or care about the function of the router. The Enterprise NFV solution comes with components in its management framework that configure and managed services within the VNF as well as to spin up the instance; and this will only grow over time.


Hardware does make a difference

Another point is with the hardware itself. Management for standard server virtualization systems has a lot of features for interfacing to systems like external storage. They generally do not have capabilities for configuring hardware elements themselves and especially not devices that the hypervisor only connects to and does not run on. The management framework for the Enterprise NFV solution performs configuration much more broadly and includes other network devices such as routers, switches and wireless components. There is more to come on the topic of hardware but I’ll save that for the next post.


Looking at the commercially available hypervisor solutions there are specific functions on what is done by API directly to a standalone hypervisor instance or done without special licenses. This makes sense when looking at the vast majority of use cases around the data center or private clouds. To ensure reliable execution of features, especially under high load, the approach seems to be to keep the system a little more under control of the management system. With NFVIS, we designed the system with the idea that our NFVIS was in remote sites that are generally not staffed by IT. The REST or NETCONF APIs can be accessed and used by systems other than the Enterprise NFV management devices.


Let me make one last point on hardware. Recently, while talking with customers on Cisco Digital Network Architecture (DNA) one of my colleagues, Cisco Distinguished Engineer Dave Zacks, had a quote in his discussion on Fabrics. The quote made me think of what we are doing with Enterprise NFV so will borrow it. Steve Jobs, who was actually quoting Alan Kay, said, “People who are really serious about software should make their own hardware”. I’ll be adding another posting as we get closer to CiscoLive Las Vegas in July 2016 with a lot more detail on this point.


Hopefully that helps shed some light on the differences.


Wrapping it up

The Cisco Enterprise NFV solution is built to be the next evolution of deploying network and applications services using automation and programmability to simplify turn up and on-going management. Along with many other technologies and innovative approaches, it leverages virtualization. However, in the solution, virtualization is just one tool used to achieve the end result. 

In a technical whitepaper located here Enterprise NFV Whitepaper, my friend and colleague Cisco Distinguished Technical Marketing Engineer Matthias Falkner and I provide and overview of the solution and guidance for when you would use each type of platform.  Also, I’ll be giving two new deep technical sessions on Enterprise NFV; one technical breakout (BRKCRS-2006) and one hands-on lab session (TECCRS-3006) at CiscoLive Las Vegas July 10th to July 14th this summer.


When combining these hardware options with NFVIS, the result is a pretty powerful NFV platform. You can get more information on Enterprise NFV via these resources:

  1. Mar 22, 2016 @10am PT, @1pm CT webinar: Exploring the Advantages of Enterprise Network Functions Virtualization. Register     
  2. http://www.cisco.com/go/enfv
  3. Watch this overview video to learn more.
  4. Enterprise NFV white paper
  5. Enterprise NFV Infrastructure Software Blog

There was a time when the network was thought of as a bottleneck to innovation. It is the weakest link in the chain. Its rigid, inflexible and labor-laden infrastructure inhibits growth for the business, productivity for its workforce, and diminishes the experiences for customers. Those days are long gone. The network has been reimagined.

The Era of a Digital Network

Last week, with Cisco Digital Network Architecture (#CiscoDNA) announcement, we shared how an open, extensible, software-driven and services-centric network design not only enable, but also propel digital transformation. In two blog posts by Raakhee Mistry, she highlighted the design principles behind Cisco DNA and the market applications. Key take-away message: innovation requires IT agility. IT agility is powered by a software-driven network.


Cisco Enterprise NFV – the key enabler

IT agility is the ability to respond to business demands in a fast and efficient manner. NFV enables that agility in three areas: the designing, the provisioning, and the management stages of the network infrastructure. However, only Service Providers and very large Enterprises have taken advantages of such NFV benefits thus far. That is no longer the case with Cisco Enterprise NFV. Our goal is to bring the same capabilities and more to all enterprises. That more part can be summarized as follows:

  1. Purpose-built software overlay (Cisco Enterprise NFVIS) optimized not just for applications, but also network functions. (More details in this post under Support System) NFVIS virtualizes and abstracts network functions from the underlying hardware, allowing Cisco and 3rd party virtual network functions (VNFs) to be managed independently and provisioned dynamically. But, we don’t stop there. Cisco NFVIS also adds life cycle management and service chaining capabilities. This helps ensure the health and performance of VNFs, ensuring the best user experience.
  2. Set of trusted Cisco network services as VNFs (ISRv, vWAAS, ASAv, and vWLC) to start the virtualization journey. This makes the path to virtualization easy and less cumbersome for a) Cisco customers as well as b) enterprises with a multi-vendor environment that includes Cisco.
  3. An orchestration app, Enterprise Service Automation (ESA), that works in tandem with NFVIS to unleash limitless possibilities in this “composable world” powered by SDN. Think “agility and flexibility” for NFV and “orchestration and management” for SDN. ESA is the fruit of that marriage. SDN and NFV allows enterprises to dynamically build what they need on a platform of their choosing and spin up and down services on-demand.

Imagine the following very likely ideals: having all of the above capabilities in a converged infrastructure with a purpose-built server blade, such as the ISR with UCS-E, that can host apps in addition to virtual network functions and (ii) a hyper-converged infrastructure on commodity hardware. The possibilities are endless!


Learn more on March 22nd

Join us on March 22nd for an online webinar with Markus Voegele, Sr. Network Architect from IBM Aviation as well as Liad Ofek and Allison Park from Cisco. Hear how IBM Aviation is evaluating Enterprise NFV and get a preview of Cisco Enterprise NFV components.

Key learning includes market drivers for and application of Enterprise NFV, and how Cisco Enterprise NFV will enable

  • Seamless migration to NFV at your own pace, while preserving existing network investments
  • Virtualization of physical network services using the same trusted Cisco technologies
  • Speedy deployments and dramatically simplified network management
  • Rapid respond to new opportunities and empowerment for business innovation

In the meantime, read the overview about Cisco Enterprise NFV here.


Earmark April 14-15th

Post webinar, there is another opportunity to get your technical questions answered by a panel of Enterprise NFV experts in Cisco Enterprise Network communities. No time commitment needed. Just join the event, register, submit your questions during the open period, and then go about your day. Come back at a later time to check on your questions as well as read others.

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It’s the start of the new year, and with the new year usually comes a list of resolutions. Unfortunately, it’s also about the time of year that people start cutting corners on these resolutions: less frequent visits to the gym or staying up longer just because you’re not able to overcome the “Next episode playing” message on Netflix.


When it comes to managing your network, you can’t afford to cut corners anymore – the digital transformation is requiring that organizations big and small become digital businesses, and a digital business demands application agility. To achieve that agility, faster network provisioning is required. To provision your network faster, simplification is needed.


Enter: Cisco’s Intelligent WAN Application, or IWAN App. IWAN App is an application hosted by the Application Policy Infrastructure Controller Enterprise Module (APIC-EM) which allows you to accelerate the deployment of IWAN and align to business priorities based on applications and user needs through a highly intuitive, policy-based interface.


With the IWAN App, you will be able to fulfill your WAN Resolutions – 4 goals any organization should have for network management:


  1. Zero-touch deployment
  2. Automated site provisioning
  3. Dynamic business policy
  4. WAN monitoring and management


Over the next few weeks, we will be releasing a series of short videos on the Communities platform demonstrating how the IWAN App will help you achieve your WAN Resolutions.


Stay tuned and check out the link to the first video here!

On Mar 2, 2016, we unveiled Cisco Enterprise Network Functions Virtualization (Cisco Enterprise NFV) as part of the Cisco Digital Network Architecture (Cisco DNA) announcement. That announcement is available here in this community (under Announcements, News, and Events) as well.


NFV isn't just for SP! With the introduction of Enterprise NFV, Cisco aims to solve WAN challenges with a software-defined model, embracing digital readiness in mind. And no, this is not another "incremental WAN innovation...(like SD-WAN)" or "an alternate approach (to pitch) the next-gen Cisco routers," said Andrew Lerner, Research Director at Gartner. As with every new solution, there are always questions.

Join us for an Ask the Experts session regarding Enterprise NFV. Here are the details:

What: Q&A with the experts regarding Enterprise NFV

When: April 14-15, 2016

Where: here in this Enterprise Networks community

How: register, login (from Apr 14 to Apr 15), submit a question, we answer - simple as that.

With whom: a panel of Enterprise NFV experts

1. Liad Ofek, Director, Product Management, Enterprise NFV

2. Jay Chokshi, Manager, Product Management, Platform Routing

3. Kishan Ramaswamy, Product Manager, Enterprise NFV

4. James Sangathe, Technical Marketing Engineer, Enterprise NFV

5. Tony Banuelos, Product Manager, CSR 1000v

6. Matthias Falkner, Distinguish Engineer, Technical Marketing

7. Allison Park, Product and Solution Marketing, Enterprise NFV

So, check out Cisco Enterprise NFV and pencil down your questions for this Ask the Experts session.


Part II: The Role of the Network Must Expand for Digital Transformation


As we move into the Digital Era, organizations seeking to make a digital transformation must also make a network transformation. In my previous blog, I highlighted that it is the network that brings together all things digital. And as we leave the Information Era and enter the Digital Era (See Diagram I below), we must evolve the network to move beyond connectivity to a platform of Insights, Automation and Security.  In this blog, I dive in deeper into each area to discuss the opportunity for IT.


Screen Shot 2016-03-01 at 12.52.25 PM.png

Diagram I: Network Evolution for the Digital Era


Insights. The network touches all things digital – users, devices, applications, sensors and cloud – and is in a unique position to capture insights in real time that allows businesses to make better decisions instantly and deliver better experiences. For example, there are organizations today that leverage location data from the network to better engage their customers or better serve their workforce. They use location data for a broad set of use cases including:

    • Measuring the impact of a promotion for storefront conversion.
    • Optimizing HVAC systems to lower costs and reduce carbon footprint.
    • Churning hospital beds faster to more quickly admit patients in need of critical care.
    • Monitoring expensive machinery and equipment and using analytics to pre-determine the service level to maintain safety standards.
    • Collecting enterprise real estate usage patterns to optimize floor plans or lower leasing costs.

These are all examples of business innovation through network intelligence or analytics. To do this effectively, IT professions will need to partner with their business leaders to explore opportunities for their organization. This means learning the language of business executives, and translating the technical possibilities into business results. (Check out this guide on the business value of mobility. Registration required.)


Automation. This area is centered on IT speed and simplicity. Today’s networking professionals are CLI jockeys, but that will offer less value as time goes on. The network is evolving to software with open APIs, Software-Defined Networking (SDN), Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) and more. Cisco’s new architecture is leading this effort with the evolved Cisco IOS XE, an open operating system that is programmable, service extensible and virtualized through model-driven APIs, application containers and Enterprise Network Functions Virtualization (Enterprise NFV).


The great news for IT is that we are fully abstracting the network complexity and allowing networking professionals to automate all processes. This will free up cycles for IT to focus on innovation. We’re also virtualizing 30 years of networking innovation by decoupling hardware from software and bringing more speed and agility to networking – much like what the data center has been driving over the past 10 years.


This change also means IT needs to evolve their skills set for the future. IT will need to better understand the rich intelligence the network offers to more efficiently run the network and determine how to build competitive advantage for the business. That means networking professionals need to expand their skills in new areas and become more business savvy. We recognize the responsibility Cisco has to take our professional community forward and have already taken measures in our certification programs. Additionally, we are aggressively investing in our DevNet developer program so that partners, ISVs and customers can take full advantage of the open platform Cisco DNA offers.


Security. While digital technologies have opened up new opportunities they have also introduced a higher level of risk. As we see the proliferation of mobile devices and cloud adoption, the network perimeter is evolving and the attack surface has the potential to grow significantly. Even the world’s best next generation firewalls cannot protect an organization from threats when devices can easily jump between public domains and the private network.  By acting as the pervasive, always-on sensor for threats, the network can be the security team’s most powerful ally. And, through software defined segmentation, it can rapidly enforce policy and quarantine any threat.


In the Cisco 2016 Annual Security Report, we found that leveraging the network as a sensor and enforcer allows customers to reduce the time to identify threats from up to 200 days down to 17.5 hours. That type of protection can save a company’s reputation, especially knowing that 69% of customers are less willing to do business with an organization with a security breach.


The network will be more strategic to the business in the Digital Era. Job roles beyond networking professions – including executive, marketing, analytics, security, and operations professionals – will be eager to tap into the intelligence the network provides to gain a competitive edge, e.g. open up new business models, drive leaner operations and better protect the business. This will elevate the role of networking professionals, who now have a huge opportunity to take leadership in their respective organizations. Now is the time time to hone your skills for next generation networking and change the world once again!


Excited? Begin your journey by assessing your current network with this Digital Network Architecture requirements checklist.


Keep an eye out for my next post on how some forward thinking IT leaders are leveraging the Cisco DNA architecture today. And do continue to share your thoughts with me on this next era of networking.



miercom_logo.jpgThe application landscape of today’s enterprise space is changing. A proliferation of mobile devices, BYOD initiatives, voice, video, and rich media content at the branch locations adds to the already constrained WAN bandwidth. Now along with delivering the typical enterprise applications, such as email, file, and web access, the network also has to deliver new rich media content, which puts extra strain on the WAN. Cisco WAAS and Akamai Connect are Cisco’s WAN optimization and application acceleration solution, a key pillar of the Cisco Intelligent WAN (Cisco IWAN) architecture. Cisco WAAS and Akamai Connect optimizes web and mobile applications by extending the Akamai Intelligent Platform directly into the branch enhancing the way your users access applications.


Recently, Miercom did an independent evaluation of Cisco WAAS with Akamai Connect and comparable WAN-optimization product, Steelhead, enabled with Web Proxy from Riverbed Technology. Cisco is proud to announce that the Cisco solution is now ‘Miercom Performance Verified’. Key findings from the report showcase Cisco’s superior acceleration capabilities including:


chart image.JPG


Clearly, Cisco WAAS and Akamai Connect comes out on top in the WAN optimization space. With Akamai Connect, we extend Akamai’s intelligent caching to the branch office where most businesses face severe bandwidth constraints and poor end user experience. This is represented in Miercom’s report. Riverbed’s Web Proxy feature also falls short of Cisco solution in terms of HTTP traffic optimization and feature robustness. One of the use cases where Cisco did exceptionally well is Apple OSx download. Riverbed’s Web Proxy cannot cache files greater than 2Gb in size (see graph below).


This graph shows that Cisco was able to reduce the amount of time it takes to download the Apple OSx by 97%, whereas Riverbed was not able to optimize the file download at all. Cisco solution empowers the customers to provide real benefits of HTTP caching without the constraint of file size. This gives customers the flexibility and peace of mind that their networks will not get choked when Apple releases a new update.


Read the full Miercom report here


Please leave a comment below to share your thoughts about this report.

The application landscape of today’s enterprise space is changing. The proliferation of mobile devices, BYOD initiatives, voice, video and rich media content at the branch locations adds to the already constrained WAN bandwidth. Now along with delivering the typical enterprise applications, such as email, file, and web access, the network teams have to also deliver new rich media content, which puts extra strain on the WAN. Cisco WAAS and Akamai Connect are Cisco’s WAN optimization and application acceleration solution and part of Cisco Intelligent WAN (Cisco IWAN). Akamai Connect optimizes web and mobile applications by extending the Akamai Intelligent Platform directly into the branch enhancing the way users access applications.


Recently, Miercom did an independent evaluation of Cisco WAAS with Akamai Connect and comparable WAN-optimization product, Steelhead enabled with Web Proxy from Riverbed Technology. Cisco is proud to announce that Cisco solution is now ‘Miercom Performance Verified’. The key findings of the report showcase the Cisco’s superior acceleration capabilities including:



Clearly Cisco WAAS enabled with Akamai Connect comes on top in the WAN optimization space. With Akamai Connect we have extended Akamai’s intelligent caching to the branch office where most business face severe bandwidth constraints and enhanced the end user experience. This is represented in Miercom’s report when compared with Riverbed’s Steelhead solution. Riverbed’s Web Proxy feature falls short in terms of the optimization and features it can provide the HTTP traffic. One of the use cases where Cisco did exceptionally well was Apple OSx download. Riverbed’s Web Proxy cannot cache files greater than 2Gb in size.




The graph shows that Cisco was able to reduce the amount of time it takes to download the Apple OSx by 97% where as Riverbed was not able to optimize the file download at all. Cisco solution empowers the customers to provide real benefits of HTTP caching without the constraint of file size. This gives our customers the flexibility and peace of mind that their networks will not get choked when Apple releases a new update.


Read the full Miercom report here and for more information go to Cisco WAAS.

Cisco launched the new Integrated Services Routers (ISRs) 4000 in 2014 and promised ASIC like performance for most features. Cisco internal test reports, of course, claimed that was true. Finally, in July of 2015, these routers were put to the test by Miercom, an independent company.

In this performance test all five platforms (ISR4321, ISR4331, ISR4351, ISR4431 and ISR4451) were configured with various single features, like NAT, HQoS and IPSec, and also some combinations of these features. All ISR 4000 have a platform-wide shaper that guarantees a certain performance, therefore, the CPU utilization was recorded to give an indication of the actual platform utilization.

ISR4331 300 Mbits blog screenie.PNG


















The results: plenty of CPU performance was available in all single feature tests, and all ISR 4000 platforms were able to perform to their advertised limits, including 1520 Mbit/s of payload encrypted by the ISR4451! Only in some very heavy service combinations did the ISR 4000 slow down a bit.


After a rigorous testing over a time-span of several weeks, Miercom was very impressed with the ISR 4000 performance and gave Cisco the “Performance Verified” logo.

Miercom Performance Verified logo.png

This should allow Service Providers, Partners and End-Customers to deploy the ISR 4000 Series routers in their network knowing that they can deliver what they promise, best of breed performance!

The complete test report including all test results can be found on Miercom’s web page: http://miercom.com/pdf/reports/20150817.pdf


If you have questions around this report or the ISR4k in general, feel free to comment here or just send me a tweet @MirkoGrabel.

I am excited to see the announcement of ASR1009-X, ASR1006-X and ASR1000-MIP100 with 1x100GE EPA last month. As you know, the ASR 1000 Series Aggregation Services Router has been a leading edge service routing platform since 2008. Since then, there have been some exciting new members joining the ASR family. This time, the excitement isn’t just because of the latest additions, it’s what they are bringing to this product family and its very broad user base.



First let’s take a look at what they are. ASR1009-X and ASR1006-X are the all-new X generation of modular ASR1000 chassis types. Combined with them, ASR1000-MIP100 and 1x100GE EPA can provide true 100Gbps per slot capability to ASR 1000 edge services. Compared to existing models (ASR1004, ASR1006 and ASR1013 or ASR1000-SIP40), they inject more power into the relatively compact modular ASR1000 with:

  • Higher per-slot bandwidth (100Gbps)
  • Up to 200Gbps per ASR1009-X and 100Gbps per ASR1006-X
  • More efficient power supply redundancy mode (N+1)
  • More power headroom (6 power supply unit slots in total) for future system capacity upgrade
  • Independent FAN modules for lower OPEX
  • 100Gbps per port for high-speed services
  • Support of various Ethernet port types with future EPAs
  • Mix and match different EPAs in same ASR1000-MIP100


To many of us, the above list is straightforward in terms of how they are better than the current generation. But when it comes to benefits for network engineers (existing or future), the advantages that come with those new ASR 1000 systems and modules are probably more than that.


The feature-rich ASR 1000 IOS-XE software now has a more solid delivery vehicle to unleash its power in network edge services, especially with IWAN, AVC, crypto, WAAS and Firewall/NAT (Network Address Translation). If you need a platform to deliver services in (secured) WAN aggregation, WAN core, Data Center Interconnect and Internet edge, then congratulations – you now have stronger option to consider.


Now you can have up to 200Gbps of system bandwidth and a mix of high-density 1GE, 10GE and 100GE ports using 40G and 100G Ethernet modules. Simultaneously, you can maintain your legacy services and make the transition to Ethernet at a time of your choosing using the help of SIP40 and SPAs. 


With the edge at 100Gbps connectivity and powerful services, your network will now truly become future-proof with service capability and capacity that will meet your growth requirement for many years to come.


Please join us at CiscoLive in Berlin February 15-19, 2016 to witness what will enable your next-generation network edge for the future.


What do you think of these new products?  Please leave a comment.  I want to hear your opinions and use cases.

Most branches have the need for local compute resources. They are required to host WAN acceleration application like Cisco virtual WAAS. In the retail industry, it is required that the Point of Sale application can continue to process orders when the WAN connection is down. Another example is the requirement to secure Direct Internet Access (DIA) line via Cisco’s virtual ASA from infecting end devices in the branch with malware like viruses. A physical server gives IT administrators the flexibility to load any application required for a specific branch.

Blog Picture of EHWIC.PNG


But in most branches, a standalone server is simply overkill for the lean branch IT requirements. This is why Cisco came out with the Cisco UCS E-Series Servers. These modules can be directly inserted in the Service Module slot of any Cisco ISR G2 or ISR 4k branch router.

However, the trend to move more and more compute to the data center or the cloud continues; therefore, the need for even smaller compute modules rises. This is why Cisco recently launched the new Cisco UCS E-Series Network Compute Engine modules.

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These lightweight modules can be inserted in a network integrated module (NIM) or double wide

EHWIC slot. As a result, even the smallest modular ISRs can now host a server module which lowers the total cost of ownership of the branch compute solution. Even though these modules are less robust and powerful than their Service Module counterparts, they have the capacity to host the most critical branch applications like a print server, file server or at least the Point of Sale application. Because these modules are generic compute modules, a variety of operating systems and hypervisors, including Microsoft Windows Server 2012, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Microsoft Hyper-V and VMWare ESXi, are supported. You can find a full list of supported software on our UCS E-Series Datasheet.



I also made a short video where I highlight some of the key components of these modules. Check it out here:

If you want more video tutorials or have any questions around these modules, feel free to comment here or just send me a tweet @MirkoGrabel.

October 21, 2015 was “Back to the Future Day.” Michael J. Fox had a glimpse into his futuristic world. What if you too had the same capability? Imagine this: you’re an astronaut on a time travel space mission. You come upon a futuristic world years from today, and this is what you see.


Image Caption: A vortex of insurmountable force is sucking you and the surrounding environment into the abyss, yet you’re still attached to the present. You still have control. (It is a visual presentation of a Digital Vortex, working its way into becoming a black hole, putting your business at risks.) Image Source: Lightfarm Studios

Armed with this vision, what would you do if today is your “Back to the Future” day?

This is a continuation of a previous post by Hugo Vliegen, Digital Vortex, Part I: How Not to Be the 40% That Will Fail. (Re-read that post here). In this blog (part II), I will share four key tenets of a digital business network, a.k.a recommendations for the hypothetical NeedToChange company scenario (as referenced in part I). >>Read more...


When I was little, my father kept our family car in tip-top shape. He overhauled brakes, rebuilt engines, tuned carburetors, and swapped out suspensions. He could do just about anything, and he knew every component, inside and out.

From an early age, I enjoyed “helping” my father whenever there was a chance. I handed him wrenches, brought him cool glasses of water on hot summer days, and held the flashlight when the repairs went late into the night. Perhaps he could have managed without my help, but we both enjoyed our time together. Even more importantly, I learned from an early age how a little help could make a big difference.

At Cisco, we believe in the power of people helping people. We believe everyone could use a little help sometimes to save time, energy, and to get the most out of what they already have. We may not have a cool glass of water to offer, but we can hand you a useful tool or two while you’re working “under the hood” of your network. This is why we created Cisco Active Advisor.

What is Cisco Active Advisor?

Cisco Active Advisor is a free, automated, web-based advisory service that:

  • Discovers and inventories Cisco Enterprise products in your network
  • Keeps you up-to-date on the overall status of important product milestones and alerts
  • Recommends improvements to get the most from your Cisco network investment

With Cisco Active Advisor, there is nothing to buy and nothing to install. To get started, you simply need a Cisco.com account and a web browser.

How does Cisco Active Advisor work?

Cisco Active Advisor

It’s really pretty simple. Anyone with a Cisco.com account can visit the portal, find and register Cisco products inside their network, and use the tools and reports the service provides.

The service will discover Enterprise NetworkSwitching, Routing, and Wireless devices as well as any line cards or modules that might be installed.

Active Advisor will continue to look for new alerts and important product milestones and send email notifications based on your preferences.

Cisco Active Advisor is updated with cool new features, additional product support, and bug fixes every few weeks.

If you find something you like about the service or have ideas for new features, drop us a note from inside the Active Advisor portal or connect with me @mtwhitley. We read everything sent in, and we’d love to add your ideas into the service.

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Visit www.ciscoactiveadvisor.com, log in with your Cisco.com account, and click Add Devices. It’s free, always on, and available right now.

Give the service a try. We will be right here helping hold the flashlight so you can keep your business, and your network, running its best.

Oh, it’s a reality, not a hype. (Check out my video below.)

One key strength of Cisco’s Integrated Services Routers (ISRs) is the feature-rich Command Line Interface (CLI). The benefit of the CLI is that it is extremely flexible and adding new features is very simple. The drawback is that you have to go through pages of command reference guides to understand how to configure and use these features. Today, most customers prefer to configure their router via an intuitive Graphical User Interface (GUI) instead of typing every command through the legacy CLI.

This requirement is not new, and Cisco had launched the Secure Device Manager (SDM) already in 2002. A few years later, the next revision of this tool was launched under the name “Cisco Configuration Professional – Express,” in short CCP Express. CCP Express is still widely used today. With the recently launched 3.2 version, it received a major facelift and feature enhancements. Some key features in v3.2 include:

  • An easy to use wizard that can go through the entire initial router setup in seconds

Blog Pic 1 Quick setup Wizard.png

Blog Pic 2 AVC Pie Chart.pngBlog Pic 3 AVC table.png


This new CCP Express version 3.2 is available on all ISR G2 and ISR 800 series and will simplify the configuration of ISRs. And the best thing about it: it’s free, and it can be factory-installed on a brand new router. Check out my short video where I show the “Quick Setup Wizard” including some basic troubleshooting and the configuration of AVC here:

Call to action: Download CCP Express for your router and challenge yourself!

Can you configure an ISR faster than me?

If you want more video tutorials around CCP Express, feel free to comment here or just send me a tweet @MirkoGrabel.

Update 24. Feb 2016:

Jason Liu just posted a super cool animated video about the new CCP Express features here:

Free and Intuitive Device Management is Now a Reality Check it out!

I was asked for an Installation video, while this is in the works here the direct link to the installation guide:

Cisco Configuration Professional Express 3.2 Administration Guide - Installing CCP Express [Cisco Configuration Professi…

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