RealTime IT News

Cisco Addresses Content Networking, Security

Cisco Systems, Inc. pushed forward with its efforts to facilitate e-business Monday with new hardware that can create distributed content repositories to soften the impact of potential disruptions in a network. The networking firm also addressed intrusion detection.

The new products, announced at Networld+Interop 2002 in Las Vegas, include the Cisco CSS 11500 Series, and version 3.1 of the Content Switching Module (CSM) for the Cisco Catalyst 6500 family of switches and Cisco 7600 Series router. Cisco also made software enhancements to the Cisco Content Transformation Engine (CTE), Cisco Application and Content Networking System (ACNS) and Cisco IP/TV for enterprise content delivery networks (ECDN), and Hosting Solution Engine (HSE) offerings.

The Cisco CSS 11503 ($16,995) and CSS 11506 ($26,995) modular content switching platforms are based on a new distributed processing architecture, and offer increased performance per rack unit to speed Web transactions. The new architecture is offered at entry-level performance with "pay as you grow" scalability.

The Cisco Catalyst 6500 CSM 3.1 ($39,995) is a service module for both the Catalyst 6500 and the Cisco 7600, and adds Layer 4 through 7 content switching capabilities for any or all ports.

The San Jose, Calif. concern also refreshed content delivery software with the Cisco CTE 1400 ($24,995). The application supports devices such as Wireless Application Protocol cell phones, personal digital assistants (PDAs), Research In Motion devices, and Cisco IP telephones. The CTE 1400 Release 2 enhancements include JavaScript support for increased content coverage and Web-based network administration for remote management.

Also, Cisco's new Application and Content Networking System (ACNS) software 4.1 ($5,500 for Content Engines; $19,995 U.S. for Content Distribution Managers) provides integrated caching and content delivery services in a single system, supporting intranets and extranets for e-learning, "live" and "on-demand" employee communications, Internet access and content acceleration. This system supports Microsoft WMT proxy/splitting/multicast and RealNetworks' RealSystem Proxy and Server Subscriber v8.

Another new ECDN software release is Cisco IP/TV 3.4 ($10,000), which delivers streaming media to desktops, classrooms and meeting rooms using multicast technology. All of the new products are available now, with the exception of IP/TV 3.4, which is slated for a June release.

The news further demonstrates that Cisco is sticking to its content delivery and acceleration guns. The market is also supported by industry analysts, such as IDC's Lucinda Borovick, who said Cisco's position in the market versus competitors is fine.

"The content networking market will grow from $1.6 billion in 2001 to reach $7.4 billion in 2006, enabling availability, reliability and security in enterprise and service provider content delivery networks," Borovick said.

In related news, Cisco rang the intrusion detection system (IDS) bell with new products featuring embedded management and monitoring capabilities. The hardware and software releases also propel SAFE, the security blueprint for Cisco AVVID -- the Architecture for Voice, Video and Integrated Data.

The new safeguards include: Cisco IDS 4250 ($25,000), a gigabit intrusion protection appliance for high bandwidth environments and the IDS 4235 ($12,500), a similar IDC appliance to the 4250, but targeted for small and medium enterprises. The 4250 detects unauthorized network activity utilizing a combination of anomaly and signature-based intrusion protection capabilities, all within a one rack-unit high chassis. Though not nearly as fast, the 4235 features 200 megabits of intrusion protection and provides stateful pattern recognition, protocol parsing and anomaly detection.

Cisco also revamped its IDS software. Version 3.1 enables remote management for the aforementioned appliances. It is included with the 4250 and 4235 hardware. Version 3.1 also includes a new viewing application, yielding analysis and data mining for threat management and attack mitigation across all Cisco products. The new security products are available today.

Cisco, a noted networking infrastructure bellwether, is set to report earnings tomorrow, May 7, after the market closes.