Cisco Raises the Curtain on a New VPN Solution

Networking superpower Cisco Systems Inc. Monday rolled out a complete IPsec
virtual private networking solution.

Based on the new Cisco VPN 5000 concentrator and client, the new VPN
platform securely connects remote users and branches to their corporate
networks and business partners. The VPN 5000 solution brings service
providers a new revenue generating opportunity by allowing them to offer
their customers a single, secure solution for both remote access and
intranet and extranet VPNs from a variety of client platforms.

Just how important is a robust VPN? According to the Yankee Group, IP-based
VPNs will be used by 70 percent of all companies for up to 90 percent of
their data communications needs by 2003. Cisco’s play Monday is consistent
with its strategy to advance “New World” connectivity.

“By outsourcing VPN services, enterprises can focus on their core
competencies while leaving the issues of installation, security, management
to the service provider,” said John Goodhue, vice president of Cisco’s
Aggregation Business Unit.

The Cisco VPN 5000 series includes three separate offerings to meet the
needs of service providers and customers. The 5001 has been specifically
designed for deployment on the customer’s premise. The carrier-class 5002
and 5008 are modular platforms enabling service providers to scale their VPN
offerings and provide a full range of global connectivity options.

The 5002 and 5008 are the first IPsec VPN solutions designed specifically
for network-based IP VPN deployments. When placed at the edge of a service
providers’ network, the Cisco VPN 5002 and 5008 concentrators allow for both
remote access and site-to-site access-saving significant time and money in
implementing and managing the network.

Dale Jantzen, director of marketing for Cisco’s Aggregation Business Unit, told Monday that Cisco’s strategy is in keeping with a trend of requests the powerhouse is fielding from service providers — the much talked about “edge boundary” between service providers’ networks and those of clients. He said enterprise customers are increasingly steering clear from administrative and management duties, opting instead to outsource such chores from infrastructure networking firms.

“This is the strategic location where value-added services are applied,” Jantzen said. “There isn’t a one size fits all solution.”

Jantzen said Cisco did not develop the solutions in answer to competitors’ offerings, “although we certainly pay attention to what our rivals do.”

No, Jantzen said, Cisco listened to what its service providers were asking them for and did not develop the concentrators in response to anything rivals Nortel Networks or Lucent Technologies Inc.

“In all the hype and excitement, service providers are interested in defending their territory,” Jantzen explained. “They want to assert themselves at the highest level.”

Still, Jantzen noted that Cisco’s chief rivals client-side offerings are, at best, weak or non-existent.

Electronic Data Systems, one of the world’s largest IT outsourcers and the
proud owner of a watershed five-year, $6.9 billion intranet contract with
the Navy
, recently chose the Cisco VPN 5000 solution for its flexibility.

“Today, we have more than 6000 remote IT professionals that use the EDS
Remote Access Services VPN Solution daily,” said Terry Milholland, chief
information officer for EDS.

“We have smoothly added VPN services to our existing dedicated dial
solution, leveraging our existing CiscoSecure authentication and accounting
system, which now permits our remote access users to take advantage of cable
modem and DSL broadband Internet access.”

The Cisco VPN 5000 Concentrator Series is available now.

In related news, Cisco said it had souped up its carrier-class broadband

gation solutions Monday, which will save its clients money because they
will not have to replace their current equipment to get increased
scalability. With the new NRP2 processor blade for the Cisco 6400
Carrier-Class Broadband Aggregator, service providers can leverage their
existing network investment, while significantly increasing overall
performance and scalability of their DSL aggregation solution.

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