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Cisco Scales Out Application Networking

Cisco Systems today launched new versions of three products in its
application networking services line, with the most significant aimed at
the low end " or at least, at users who can't justify the expense of its
larger boxes. It is also launching a new application profiling service,
in which consultants determine how an enterprise's applications can best
be optimized over a network, and announcing new partnerships with
application vendors such as Microsoft, Oracle and SAP to ensure

In the AFE (application front-end) space, Cisco is launching the ACE
4710, a standalone appliance version of its ACE blade. First released in
April 2006, the ACE blade is a high-capacity load balancer with hardware
offload for protocols like HTTP and SSL, plus the ability to be divided
into multiple virtual load balancers for different applications. It has
a high capacity of 4 Gbps per blade, but also a high cost, as it
requires a Catalyst 6500 switch.

The standalone version starts at 1 GBps for $15995, which should help it
better compete with other AFE vendors such as F5 and Juniper. AFEs are
growing in importance thanks to the popularity of Web-based
applications, and are particularly useful when handling the multiple
connections set up by Ajax.

In WAN optimization, Cisco is launching WAAS Mobile, a software client
aimed at remote users connecting over WAAS. This is similar to
functionality already offered by Riverbed, though Cisco touts additional
support for video distribution. As with software clients from
competitors, the performance boost usually isn't as great as that
achieved using a box shared by multiple users, as all data must be sent
to each user individually. The exceptions are users connecting through
an SLL (or other) VPN, as client-side software can see unencrypted data.