Cisco NCS Tackles Internet of Things

NCS routers target service providers; Oracle debuts backup appliance; LogRhythm provides network anomaly detection; KEMP unveils ADC for Windows Azure.

September 27, 2013

5 Min Read
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Cisco this week unveiled a piece of its "Internet of Everything" strategy with the Cisco Network Convergence System (NCS), a new network fabric that features programmability and virtualization capabilities to help service providers move to software defined-networking and network function virtualization.

Cisco defines Internet of Everything (IoE) as “bringing together people, process, data, and things to make networked connections more relevant and valuable.” The company estimates IoE to be worth $14.4 trillion and expects it will be far more complex than the Internet that exists today.

Cisco’s IoE is the company’s take on the Internet of things concept, a term first coined in 1999 and described as including “uniquely identifiable objects and their virtual representations in an Internet-like structure.” For Cisco, these things include wearable health monitors linking with cloud-based health portals or 4G LTE-connected automobiles signaling to a networked home that a driver is almost there so it adjusts temperature and lighting.

Rohit Mehra, IDC’s VP of network infrastructure, says the research firm defines the Internet of things (IoT) as a framework that supports unilateral or bilateral, wired or wireless communication between people and things; Cisco’s IoE is how it as a vendor is going to address the complex interdependency of the 30 billion connected devices IDC forecasts for 2020, including laptops, tablets, smartphones and routers.

Cisco NCS is initially addressing the challenges service providers will face, but the IoT will span across industries and vertical markets, such as healthcare, automotive and enterprise IT, Mehra says.

“You want to look at the Internet of things as one big continuum,” Mehra says. In addition to devices, the framework includes applications and the required connectivity, and applications are becoming more complex as they become distributed and interdependent, he says. “Data in one data center will depend on data in another data center. Intelligence is going to be the real Internet of things," he says.

At the core of NCS are three routers: The NCS 6000 includes a 1-Tbps line card and can transport up to 5 Tbps per slot and 1.2 Pbps per system to support a converged IP and optical environment; the NCS 2000 connects dense wavelength division multiplexing transport networks at rates of 100 Gbps; and the NCS 4000 will support 400 Gbps per slot and 6.4 Tbits per system and be available in single, back-to-back and multichassis configurations. The 4000, which will be available next year, will also support optical transport network, dense wavelength division multiplexing, SONET and Ethernet applications.

[Read more about Cisco's Internet of Things efforts in "Cisco Internet Of Things Business Unit Unveiled."]

NCS will work in conjunction with Cisco’s Carrier Routing System and Aggregation Services Router lines, and incorporates Cisco’s recently announced nPower X1 processor, which is capable of 400-Gbps throughput from a single chip. Mehra saysy its programmability will be just as important as performance, service providers and enterprises looking to keep up with more devices and more data.

“Cloud providers are moving at a pace IT is not accustomed to," he says.

NCS is already used by service providers, including BSkyB, KDDI and Telstra, Cisco says.

Oracle Appliance Backs Up Databases

Oracle released an appliance at Oracle OpenWorld specifically designed to back up databases. The Oracle Database Backup Logging Recovery Appliance processes and stores only changed data, greatly reducing the impact of backups on production servers and networks, the company says.

Rather than using an off-hours backup window, the appliance uses the existing Recovery Manager (RMAN) feature in Oracle database systems to take time-stamped snapshots of a database system. Once a full copy has been created, updates occur through snapshots that capture only the changes since the last snapshot.

The appliance is designed to handle the data protection requirements of thousands of databases in a data center or region, and also supports autonomous tape archival, which can send backups directly from the appliance to tape. This feature offloads resource-intensive backup-to-tape operations from production database servers.

Oracle also announced Oracle Database Backup Cloud Service, which lets customers back up their on-premise Oracle databases directly to Oracle Cloud or replicate an appliance to Oracle Cloud for additional protection.

LogRhythm Detects Network Anomalies

LogRhythm rolled out a tool aimed at the network forensics and network behavior anomaly detection (NBAD) markets. It is available as a standalone product, but can also work with the company’s LogRhythm Security Analytics platform, which includes security information and event management (SIEM), log management and file integrity monitoring.

The company said its Network Monitor tool can identify more than 1,700 applications for in-depth analysis by performing deep-packet inspection, and uses a variety of classification methods to determine the true identity of the application and detect potentially damaging suspicious data transfers, network usage policy violations and advanced attacks.

Network Monitor also captures full Layer 2 through 7 packet headers and payloads from each session for a complete record of network activity, as well as packet metadata with the SmartFlow feature, which can deliver a real-time data feed to LogRhythm SIEM.

KEMP Launches ADC For Azure

KEMP Technologies has introduced a Layer 7 application delivery controller (ADC) for Windows Azure, which the company says exceeds the capabilities of Azure’s built-in Layer 4 load balancer. LoadMaster for Azure is a virtual load balancer than can be provisioned within the Azure infrastructure-as-a-service platform using the Azure management portal and runs natively on the platform, rather than just directing external traffic to the Azure network.

The built-in load balancer for Azure supports only round-robin balancing methods, KEMP says, while LoadMaster for Azure provides full L4/L7 balancing. It is also able to provide server persistence and SSL termination/offload capability.

In order to work with Azure, LoadMaster becomes a published endpoint within Azure IaaS deployments, which accept traffic only on published endpoints. Typically, any request to access Azure workloads passes through the default load balancing layer of the Windows Azure platform, but LoadMaster connects to application servers to balance workloads.

[Get insight into the way the Internet of Things will change the way people work and live in "Transforming Businesses and Lives On The Internet of Things" at Interop New York Sept. 30-Oct. 4.]

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