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Cisco's Cloud Connected Solutions Unveiled

Cisco continued its march to the cloud today with the announcement at Cisco Live 2012 of Cloud Connected Solution, a suite focused on delivering applications from a private cloud. While some of the features are standard Cisco fare wrapped up in a cloud moniker, others are aimed at supporting public- and private-cloud applications.

One such product is the Cloud Services Router (CSR) 1000v, a virtualized version of IOS-XE software designed to run on public and private clouds. CSR will initially be available on VMware's ESXi 5.0 and Citrix Xen 6.0 hypervisors. Each CSR virtual machine requires four cores, 4 Gbytes of RAM and 8 Gbytes of disk. The number of virtual network interfaces is limited by the hypervisor. Cisco representatives said support for Amazon Web Services instances and Microsoft's Hyper-V will be available by year's end.

The CSR 1000v supports features found in the ASR product line, including firewall, VPN, quality of service (QoS), NAT, AAA, and routing protocols like BGP, OSPF and EIGRP to cloud instances so that enterprises can securely connect their public and private clouds and route traffic between them. Some features that require hardware acceleration, like deep packet inspection reliance on Cisco's quantum flow processor, won't be supported. Cloud providers can use the CSR 1000v as a value-added service router/VPN service to their customers, including support for MPLS, LISP and HSRP.

There are other virtual routers, firewalls and VPNs available, such as Vyatta's Network OS, but most IT departments will stick with the products they know best. For Cisco shops, the CSR 1000v is an easy choice since it's IOS-XE, which runs on the ASRs. The big question is price. Depending on the cost, IT shops may well forgo the Cisco premium and use an alternative. That seems more complex operationally, but then again, most cloud applications don't need a full-blown router, either. The CSR 1000v won't ship until the fourth quarter.

Next: More on Cisco's Cloud Connectors

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