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Best of Interop 2012: Award Winners

What innovative technology product earned the coveted Best of Interop award for 2012? Get the lowdown on all of this year's winners and why they're compelling for enterprise IT.
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Cisco Systems

Judges: Mike Fratto (Network Computing), Don Magrogan (Fusion PPT)

Cisco AppNav technology intelligently clusters Cisco's Wide Area Application Services (WAAS) physical and virtual appliances into a single resource pool managed by a central controller. AppNav can be installed on existing Cisco Wide Area Virtualization Engine (WAVE) appliances and ASR routers. Cisco plans to add more devices in the future.

AppNav adds more than just centralized management. Cisco's WAAS Central Manager could manage and report on multiple WAAS instances through a single management server, allowing administrators to configure, set policy, and monitor WAAS appliances. AppNav goes beyond mere central management by clustering the WAAS instances into a single pool of resources. The AppNav cluster is a single, virtualized and distributed WAVE appliance.

Up to 8 AppNavs can be clustered for high availability, and any WAAS appliance running the current version can be included into an AppNav cluster. Incoming flows can be automatically redirected to the appropriate WAAS physical or virtual appliance. WAAS appliances can be clustered regardless of location within a data center, across data centers, or even in a cloud environment. AppNav synchronizes flow state across the WAAS appliances, providing stateful fail-over should a WAAS appliance fail.

AppNav also provides seamless scaling of WAAS resources, letting IT admins add or remove appliances as needed. When a new appliance is added to the cluster, AppNav begins to use it for application optimization. If an appliance is removed, the flows going to it are migrated elsewhere. All WAAS functionality, such as policy definition and multi-tenancy, are maintained centrally.

AppNav's features are very similar to the new clustering features in Citrix Netscalar 10, but AppNav offers more deployment options. Regardless, the new clustering options in both products are worth examining. Riverbed's Steelhead Cloud Accelerator was also a strong contender in this category, but lack of support in Steelhead Mobile knocked it out of the running. --Mike Fratto


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