Cisco steps back from close partner VMware to help firms build a private cloud using Microsoft Hyper-V and VMware ESX Server, plus Cisco blades By Charles Babcock from InformationWeek
Cisco Systems Tuesday took a step back from its close cloud partner VMware, and launched CloudVerse, a set of integrated components to allow enterprises to build out private clouds running multiple hypervisors.
CloudVerse manages a combined set of pooled resources--including virtualized networking and storage as well as virtual servers--to create a highly automated cloud operation in the enterprise data center.
One of CloudVerse's components, Intelligent Automation for the Cloud, is a new software management system for the private cloud. That cloud can include Microsoft's Hyper-V, Red Hat's KVM, and IBM or HP hypervisors for their AIX or HPUX environments, respectively, as well as VMware's ESX Server, said Lew Tucker, Cisco CTO for cloud computing, in an interview.
Cisco calls CloudVerse a "framework" rather than a new product. It takes software components contributed by Tidal Software and newScale, both recent acquisitions, and puts them together in the Intelligent Automation for the Cloud product. The software components work with Cisco blades and networking to provide an automated operations environment for virtual servers.
CloudVerse's automated end user server provisioning depends on a service catalog and self-service portal engineered by newScale, which Cisco acquired for an undisclosed amount in April. It acquired Tidal Software in May 2009 for $105 million and its software provides insight into what resources an application was using. That helps when it comes to provisioning end user servers and rightsizing their resources.
An end user who needs applications on a new server in the enterprise "should get them out of a service catalogue, like downloads to the iPhone," said Tucker, who is the former head of cloud computing at Sun Microsystems. The future private cloud will account for 50% of enterprise data center computing by 2014, Tucker added. He based the statement on Cisco's first annual study of network traffic, the Cisco Cloud Index, which forecasts a rapid uptake in private cloud computing. Cisco is trying to get into a position, similar to IBM, HP, and Dell, where it's one of the primary hosts of those future workloads.
Cisco, for example, is already a close partner of VMware in the production of VCE integrated cloud server racks. VCE is a manufacturing consortium formed by Cisco and EMC, with VMware and Intel providing additional investment. VCE-integrated units, built with Cisco blades, EMC storage, and VMware virtualization, have gone into several prominent cloud data centers, including the New York Stock Exchange's Mahway, N.J., data center and SunGard's six cloud data centers.
But the VCE consortium's units are for cloud service suppliers. To reach private cloud builders, Cisco wanted an integration approach that included hypervisors in addition to VMware's, hence its CloudVerse approach. As usual, Cisco comes at the problem from the networking side. "The network used to terminate at the server," pointed out Tucker. "With CloudVerse, the network continues through the server port, goes through the Nexus 1000V switch, and terminates at the virtual server."
CloudVerse works with Cisco's Unified Computing System blades and Cisco networking, along with another new software component, Cisco Network Services Manager, to deploy virtualized assets. Network Services Manager handles the virtualized network side of a cloud deployment, making sure the virtual server has the correct amount of network bandwidth and network security. That makes it a competitor with HP's CloudSystem Matrix and Dell's Virtual Integrated System.
One of the strengths of Cisco's UCS is its ability to offload converged network and storage traffic from virtual machines through the Nexus 1000V switch to its nearby network switching fabric. That allows smoother I/O for multiple virtual machines on a single host.
In 2012, Cisco will offer ASR 1000 and 9000 Series routers, which will allow virtual machine administrators to identify workloads and move them between the enterprise data center and the cloud--or different cloud data centers. That will be enabled though another CloudVerse software component, Cloud-to-Cloud Connect, Tucker said.
In effect, Cisco is trying to pave the route to future hybrid cloud computing by offering its CloudVerse integration framework today, with some elements, like the ASR routers, still to come. Early adopters of the CloudVerse approach include Silicon Valley Bank, Orange Business Services, Verizon Terremark, Telstra, Fujitsu, Telstra, and ACS, a Xerox company.
The first Cisco study of cloud network traffic, as reported in its cloud index, projected that global cloud traffic will grow more than 12 times its current level by 2015, to 1.6 zettabytes a year. That's equivalent to four days of "business class" video for every person on Earth, the cloud index report said. One zettabyte is a billion terabytes. In 2009, the Internet was estimated to contain one half zettabyte of information, according to Wikipedia.
Catalyst is the brand name for a variety of network switches sold by Cisco Systems. While commonly associated with Ethernet switches, a number of different interfaces have been available throughout the history of the brand. Cisco acquired several different companies and rebranded their products as different versions of the Catalyst product line. The original Catalyst 5000 and 6000 series were based on products originally developed by Crescendo Communications. The 1700, 1900, and 2800 -series Catalysts came from Grand Junction Networks, and the Catalyst 3000 came from Kalpana in 1994.
In addition, Cisco increasingly offers routers with switching capabilities, and indeed Cisco's 7600 router line and 6500 switch line have interchangeable parts. Even Cisco's smaller routers, including their newest "ISR" series, can have switch modules installed in them - basically making Cisco's smaller switches fully integrated devices.
In most cases, the technology for the Catalyst Switch was developed separately from Cisco's router technology. The Catalyst switches originally ran software called CatOS rather than the more widely known Cisco IOS software used by routers. However, this has changed as the product lines have merged closer together. In some cases, particularly in the modular chassis switches, a configuration called 'Hybrid' has emerged - this is where the layer 2 functions are configured using CatOS, and the layer 3 elements are configured using IOS. 'Native IOS' can also be found with newer software versions that have eliminated CatOS entirely in favor of IOS, even on hardware that originally required CatOS.
The latest version of IOS for the Catalyst 6500 series is 12.2(33)SXI which enables In-Service Software Upgrade (ISSU) via IOS Software Modularity.
Some newer Catalyst switch models (with recent versions of the Cisco IOS) also allow configuration via web-based graphical interface module which is hosted on a HTTP server located on the switch. The IOS config-mode command 'ip http-server' will enable this style of configuration. In series 12.x IOS, 'ip http-server' is always on as a factory default. The Catalyst 3750-series of switches is an example of a Cisco Catalyst switch that allows this style of GUI configuration via HTTP.
Some newer models of Catalyst switches (called Catalyst Express) no longer allow access to IOS or CatOS at all - these switches can only be configured by using a Graphical User Interface (GUI).
CatOS (Catalyst Operating System) is the discontinued operating system for many of the Catalyst brand of legacy network switches. It was originally called "XDI" by the switching company Crescendo Communications, Inc. Cisco renamed it to CatOS when they acquired Crescendo in late 1993.
CatOS ran on switches such as 1200, 4000, 4500, 5000, 5500, 6000, 6500 series. CatOS can still run on some of Cisco's modular switches, "hybrid" mode. In hybrid mode, the NMP (switch processor) runs CatOS and the route processor runs Cisco IOS.
As Catalyst devices are primarily Ethernet switches, all modern Catalyst models have Ethernet interfaces, ranging from 10 Mbit/s to 10 Gbit/s depending on the model. Some models can accommodate Asynchronous Transfer Mode interfaces which can be used to bridge Ethernet traffic across wide area networks. Other models can support T1, E1, and ISDN PRI interfaces to provide connections to the PSTN. Legacy models supported a variety of interfaces, such as token ring, FDDI, and 100BaseVG, but are no longer sold by Cisco Systems.
Most models have basic layer 2 functions and are capable of switching Ethernet frames between ports. Commonly found additional features are VLANs, trunking (Cisco proprietary ISL or IEEE 802.1Q) and QoS or CoS. The switches, whether IOS or CatOS, are fully manageable.
Many Catalysts that run IOS are also capable of functioning as a router, making them layer 3 devices; when coupled with TCP and UDP filtering, these switches are capable of layer 2-4 operation. Depending on the exact software image, a Catalyst that runs IOS may be able to tackle large-scale enterprise routing tasks, using router technologies like OSPF or BGP.
Most chassis-based Catalyst models have the concept of field-replaceable "supervisor" cards. These work by separating the line cards, chassis, and processing engine (mirroring most Cisco router designs). The chassis provides power and a high-speed backplane, the line cards provide interfaces to the network, and the processing engine moves packets, participates in routing protocols, etc. This gives several advantages:
- If a failure occurs, only the failed component needs to be replaced (typically a line card or supervisor). This means faster turnaround than having to uncable, unbolt, pull out, replace, re-bolt, and re-cable an entire switch, which may be as large as a quarter-rack, weigh over 150 pounds, and service over 500 cables.
- A redundant supervisor engine may be installed to rapidly recover from supervisor failures. This is subject to restrictions (as some switches don't support redundant supervisors), but typically results in restoration times under 90 seconds.
- A supervisor engine may be upgraded after purchase, increasing performance and adding features without losing any investment in the rest of the switch.
Additionally, most high-end switches off-load processing away from the supervisors, allowing line cards to switch traffic directly between ports on the same card without using any processing power or even touching the backplane. Naturally, this can't be done for all traffic, but basic layer-2 switching can usually be handled exclusively by the line card, and in many cases also more complex operations can be handled as well.
Cisco switches are very popular for a number of reasons, including advanced customization and manageability. The switches can be configured using a serial console or a telnet session (or ssh if the correct OS is loaded along with the ssh keys generated). SNMP allows monitoring of many states, and measurement of traffic flows. Many devices can also run an HTTP server, but this is often disabled because of the security problems it creates - either because it's not encrypted, or because of the relatively frequent security vulnerabilities in the Cisco http daemon itself. Some Cisco switches focused on smaller organizations forego a command line interface and offer ONLY a web/html interface for configuration and management.
Configuration of the switch is done in plain text and is thus easy to audit - no special tools are required to generate a useful configuration. For sites with more than a few devices it is useful to set up a TFTP server for storing the configuration files and any IOS images for updating. Complex configurations are best created using a text editor (using a site standard template), putting the file on the TFTP server and copying it to the Cisco device. However, it can be noted that a TFTP server can present security problems.
Cisco StackWise is a technology offered by Cisco Systems that allows for up to nine Catalyst switch---3750 series switches to operate as though they were one 32-Gbit/s switch. This allows for greater resiliency, and performance.
One switch from the stack will act as the master switch. The master switch will maintain the stack and allow you to configure and monitor the whole stack as though one via a single console.
If one switch fails the remaining switches will continue to operate by looping back any information that would normally traverse the failed switch, effectively bypassing it. If the master switch fails, the next switch in the stack will automatically take over as master. This feature means greater redundancy, as one switch's failure will not bring about a failure of the entire stack.
As each switch contains the entire configuration for the stack one of the benefits of this technology is the ability to replace a down switch (any including master) with a new un-programmed switch. The stack will configure the new switch on the fly and allow for minimal downtime
StackWise effectively replaced the GigaStack found on lower-price models such as Catalyst 35xx and 29xx series.
Recently, there is a new variation of the technology, known as Cisco Stackwise Plus, offering 64Gbit/s nonblocking switching fabric speed.
The master switch of a stack is determined in the following order.
- User specified.
- The switch with the most advanced IOS, i.e. Advanced IP Services IPv6 (AIPv6), then Enhanced Multilayer Software Image (EMI) and then Standard Multilayer Software Image (SMI).
- Programmed switch. A configured switch will preside over a switch with just the defaults.
- Uptime. The switch that has been running the longest.
- MAC address. The switch with the lowest MAC address.
Models/Types of Cisco Catalyst Switches
Like most Cisco product lines, the Catalyst Switch series evolves fairly rapidly. There are two general types of Catalyst switches: fixed configuration models/ fixed-configuration switch that are usually one or two rack units in size, with 12 to 80 ports; and modular switches/ chassis-based switch in which virtually every component, from the CPU card to power supplies to switch cards, are individually installed in a chassis.
- As of 2011, the most popular fixed configuration switches are the WS-C2960, the WS-C3560 and WS-C3750 series at the high end, an entry level managed "express" series - with models beginning WS-CE (configurable by web interface only, no command line interface), the "ME" metroline series of switches, and a new "Small Business" series coming from Cisco's acquisition of Linksys. In addition, there are many excellent legacy switches suitable for most business and service provider needs no longer offered directly through Cisco (WS-C2950, WS-C3550 for example). Cisco fixed configuration switches come with a bewildering assortment of features (10/100 ports versus 10/100/1000 ports, some with power over Ethernet, some with varying types of gigabit and 10gig uplink ports, some with standard or enhanced software, varying power supplies) and it is difficult to tell what features a switch has (aside from the number of ports) from a visual inspection, and similar-appearing switches can have dramatically different features.
Cisco Model Names & Switch Features
In general, switch names start with WS-C, followed by the model line (2960). A letter at the end of this number signifies a special feature, followed by the number of ports (usually 24 or 48) and additional nomenclature indicating other features.
Cisco modular switches are much larger and are entirely configurable, beginning with a chassis, power supplies, the choice of supervisory engines (CPU mainboards), and switch modules. Among Cisco's modular series are:
- The Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series is a chassis-based switch family. This series can support interfaces up to 10 Gigabit Ethernet in speed and redundant Supervisor modules.
- The Cisco Catalyst 5500 Series and Cisco Catalyst 5000 Series is a chassis-based switch family. The Cisco Catalyst 5000 Series is acquired from another company. This entire series has now reached end-of-sale.
- The Cisco Catalyst 4900 series is a fixed-configuration switch. Uplink interfaces are either SFP ports or 10 gigabit Ethernet, with 48 copper ports of 10/100/1000 Ethernet.
- The Cisco Catalyst 4500 Series is a mid-range modular chassis based Switch manufactured by Cisco System.
- The Cisco Catalyst 3000 and 3100 series switches are switches for use in blade-enclosures: the Catalyst 3032 is a Layer2 switch and the Catalyst 3130x and 3130G are blade-switches for the Dell M1000e enclosure.
- The 1000 switch family is considered an edge device, having many functionalities that can be built as the device is very modular.
To sum up, the Cisco Catalyst range is designed to meet the needs of a wide range of customers—from small to medium businesses, right up to large enterprise networks and service providers. Cisco Catalyst switches provide high performance, scalability, manageability, and many other intelligent features that ensure their success to date.
Overview on Cisco 7971 IP Phone
Configurable buttons that provide access to various phone features
Allows you to adjust the angle of the phone base.
Awakens the touchscreen from power-save mode or disables it for cleaning: No color—Touchscreen available ready for input, Green flashing—Touchscreen disabled, Green steady—Touchscreen and backlight disabled
Typically auto-dials your voice message service (varies by service).
Opens/closes the Directories menu. Use it to view and dial from call logs (Missed, Received, and Placed) and a corporate directory.
Activates the Help menu.
Opens/closes the Settings menu. Use it to control touchscreen appearance and ring sounds.
Opens/closes the Services menu.
Controls the volume and other settings.
Toggles the speakerphone on or off.
Toggles the Mute feature on or off.
Toggles the headset on or off.
Allows you to scroll through menus and highlight items. Use in conjunction with softkeys to activate highlighted items. Also, while the phone is on-hook, press the Navigation button to access phone numbers from your Placed Calls log.
Allows you to dial phone numbers, enter letters, and choose menu items.
Activates a softkey. You can also activate a softkey by pressing the softkey label on the touchscreen.
Handset light strip
Indicates an incoming call and new voice message.
Shows phone features.
Getting Help on Your Phone
Your Cisco IP Phone provides a comprehensive online help system. Help topics appear on the touchscreen. See the table below for details.
If you want to...
- View the main menu press on your phone and wait for several seconds for the menu to display. If you are already in Help, press Main. Main menu topics include:
- About Your Cisco IP Phone—descriptive details about your phone
- How do I...?—procedures and information about common phone tasks
- Calling Features—descriptions and procedures about calling features
- Help—tips on using and accessing Help
- Learn about a button or softkey press , then quickly press a button or softkey.
- Learn about a menu item press "?", then quickly press the menu item on the touchscreen. Or, press "?" twice quickly with the menu item highlighted.
- Get help using Help press "?". After a second or two, press "?"again or choose Help from the Main Menu.
More Notes: If you wanna more info about Cisco Unified IP Phones, you can visit: http://www.router-switch.com/Price-cisco-ip-phones-voip_c4
TheInfoPro study finds Cisco and Juniper down, Check Point and Palo Alto up in firewall popularity contest
In the security popularity contest of the moment, Cisco and Juniper are down and Palo Alto Networks and Check Point are up when it comes to network firewalls, according to one research firm.
Research firm TheInfoPro asked 182 IT security professionals -- said to hail from the Fortune 1000 companies -- about what security products they're using, what they're considering changing and where their priorities and budgets are for next year. In summing up the results, which TheInfoPro treats much like an enterprise security popularity meter, Palo Alto Networks has jumped over the past year from less than 1% in its poll to 4%.
Though still top dog overall, Cisco, which two years ago had 55% of the hearts of the IT security managers in the poll, is now down to 40%, losing ground in network firewalls mainly to Check Point, now at 39%, and Palo Alto at 4%, with Juniper Networks at 11%. Other firewall vendors used by the enterprises include SonicWall, McAfee, Fortinet, WatchGuard, open source, Nortel, Nokia, Citrix and CA.
According to Daniel Kennedy, research director for information security and networking at TheInfoPro, a division of 451 Group, "it's the application tracking" that's the big lure in today's firewall choices, and Palo Alto Networks, though only just beyond the startup phase with its application-aware firewall with this focus, is showing a clear pull in popularity.
Palo Alto was named the "most exciting vendor" in the poll the research firm did for this study; FireEye came in second with its anti-botnet products, even though anti-botnet products per se were not rated to be very high on the list of immediate plans by the respondents.
According to TheInfoPro report, entitled "Information Security Wave 14," about 37% of the poll respondents expect to see an increased security budget in 2012, with most others saying spending is expected to stay at current levels.
Sourcefire and McAfee are reportedly the "top vendors respondents will spend more with in 2011." Data-loss prevention was considered a priority, and there Symantec led the pack. In its assessment of what security vendors are the "most vulnerable" to the possible loss of their existing customers, Fortinet topped the list.
When it comes to endpoint anti-malware (antivirus/anti-spam) protection in the enterprises of those security managers polled, Symantec wins the favor of 39%, McAfee 34%, Trend Micro is at 15%, Sophos at 5%, with the remainder a collection of several "others." Although Russia-based anti-malware firm Kaspersky Lab has been working hard to break into the enterprise market in a big way, Kennedy said he sees no evidence that this has yet happened in the North American market.
Kennedy says researchers at TheInfoPro also discussed the topic of virtualization with the 182 IT security professionals, asking if they were concerned about it from a security point of view. He says many seem to be "up in the air" about decisions in this regard. "I'd say it's confused," says Kennedy. "They want to use their existing security in virtualized environments. Sometimes this seems to apply, other times not." He said many seem to be sorting out what to do, particularly in the terms of any anticipated cloud-security development.
Cisco 2900 Series Integrated Services Routers (ISR), designed to power the next phase of branch-office evolution, deliver highly secure connectivity with multiservice integration that can transform the workplace with a broad set of integrated services, rich-media support, and operational excellence.
As a type of router for small to medium enterprise with high performance, Cisco 2900 series ISRs offer embedded hardware encryption acceleration, voice- and video-capable digital signal processor (DSP) slots, optional firewall, intrusion prevention, call processing, voicemail, and application services. In addition, the platforms support the industries widest range of wired and wireless connectivity options such as T1/E1, XDSL, copper and fiber GE.
More Cisco 2900 Series support follow here:
High availability and increased business uptime through Cisco IOS Software, hardware redundancy, and failover capabilities.
Modular support for the broadest set of Cisco network and security services, as well as customizable "on demand" virtual services.
Video-ready architecture supports rich media unified communications capabilities.
Defends against malicious attacks and threats to data, voice, video and mobility.
High speed wireless access enables employees to be more productive when they are away from their desks.
Give remote staff and teleworkers secure access to company assets over a highly secure connection.
Cisco 2900 Series Integrated Services Routers offer a range of features, including:
High-performance, nonstop connectivity with integrated services enables deployment in high-speed WAN environments
Modular design delivers optimal service flexibility
Available enhanced Ether Switch modules enable integrated switching capabilities
Innovative Services-Ready Engine (SRE) enables deployment of services on demand
3G backup WAN access to support business continuity
Support for Cisco Unified Communications Manager Express enables secure collaboration for up to 150 users
Optional integrated high-speed 802.11n wireless access point supports secure mobility
Integrated network security defends against malicious attacks and threats to data, voice, video, and mobility
VPN support enables secure collaborative communications with Group Encrypted Transport VPN (GETVPN), Dynamic Multipoint VPN (DMVPN), or Enhanced Easy VPN
Enhanced redundancy, including diagnostics and backup power supplies increase fault tolerance and business uptime
Operational simplicity, energy efficient design, and Green credentials deliver low total cost of ownership
Cisco 2900 Series Models:
There are four models of Cisco 2900 router: Cisco 2901, Cisco 2911, Cisco 2921, and Cisco 2951. And the reflection from market we are clear that models of Cisco 2900 series are hot required by Cisco customers, such as Cisco 2951/K9, Cisco 2911/K9, Cisco 2921/K9, Cisco 2901/K9…
Take Cisco 2911 as an example; check its features in detail:
3 integrated 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports (RJ-45 only)
1 service module slot
4 enhanced high-speed WAN interface card slots
2 onboard digital signal processor (DSP) slots
1 Internal Service Module slot for application services
Fully integrated power distribution to modules supporting 802.3af Power over Ethernet (PoE) and Cisco Enhanced PoE
Embedded hardware-accelerated VPN encryption for secure connectivity and collaborative communications Integrated threat control using Cisco IOS Firewall, Cisco IOS Zone-Based Firewall, Cisco IOS IPS, and Cisco IOS Content Filtering
Identity management using authentication, authorization, and accounting (AAA) and public key infrastructure
High-density-packet voice DSP module, optimized for voice and video support
Standards-certified VoiceXML browser services
Cisco Unified Border Element capabilities
Cisco Unity Express voicemail support
Support for Cisco Communications Manager Express and Survivable Remote Site Telephony
Overall, the Cisco 2900 Series offers unparalleled total cost of ownership savings and network agility through the intelligent integration of security, wireless, unified communications, and application services.