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Cisco WAAS 4.2 Technical Overview

Cisco WAAS 4.2 Technical Overview

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Published by Michael Leonard
By providing the industry’s most complete set of WAN optimization capabilities, application acceleration services, and virtualization capabilities, Cisco WAAS helps IT departments meet the challenges to consolidate costly infrastructure and improve application performance to enable distributed business initiatives.
By providing the industry’s most complete set of WAN optimization capabilities, application acceleration services, and virtualization capabilities, Cisco WAAS helps IT departments meet the challenges to consolidate costly infrastructure and improve application performance to enable distributed business initiatives.

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Published by: Michael Leonard on Jul 04, 2010
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 White Paper
 © 2010 Cisco and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public Information. Page 1 of 18
Cisco Wide Area Application Services Software Version 4.2 TechnicalOverview
What You Will Learn
Enterprises face numerous challenges in the delivery of applications and critical business data to the enterpriseedge. As the global workforce continues to become more distributed, providing adequate service levels throughoutthe organization becomes increasingly difficult, causing IT departments to deploy costly and difficult-to-manageinfrastructure at each location, including file services, email, video, software distribution, and print services. Withcontinuous pressure from industry and federal regulation, IT departments now face the significant challenge ofconsolidating this costly infrastructure into the data center or onto scalable, virtualized branch-office applicationdelivery platforms to improve data protection, security, and availability, while maintaining the service level that thedistributed workforce has come to expect. Furthermore, as applications continue to become more complex androbust, delivering applications and application information to the enterprise edge becomes increasingly challenging.As discussed in this document, Cisco
 ® 
Wide Area Application Services (WAAS) is a comprehensive WANoptimization and application acceleration solution that is a key component of the Cisco Borderless Network andCisco Data Center and Virtualization architectures. Cisco WAAS allows IT departments to consolidate data centers,deliver desktop virtualization, deploy new, rich-media applications, and deliver high-performance cloud computingand software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications. It enhances productivity by mitigating the effects of WAN latency, sothat applications perform better and data is transferred faster. Cisco WAAS reduces bandwidth consumption,delaying or eliminating increased recurring bandwidth costs. It also enables IT consolidation, reducing both capitaland recurring expenses for branch IT infrastructure. Cisco WAAS delivers increased business agility by enabling ITconsolidation and enhanced application rollouts without the risk of degraded productivity or added complexity.
Challenge
IT budgets are not increasing to match the growing expectations that executives have for IT resources. Almost everyIT department that manages a distributed infrastructure wants to consolidate costly remote-office infrastructure intothe data center or onto scalable, virtual branch application delivery devices to control capital and operationalexpenditures. Furthermore, as applications continue to evolve and become larger and more complex, the networkload grows and the performance characteristics of the WAN affect application delivery even more. The challenges ofdata-retention policies, business-continuance, disaster-recovery, and compliance requirements further exacerbatethe problem, given a heavily distributed infrastructure and already overburdened WAN environment. Having acentralized IT infrastructure enables operational and capital cost savings while streamlining data-protectionprocesses. Many vendors have attempted to solve such problems with point products that do not effectively allow ITdepartments to take advantage of existing investment in network intelligence.
Cisco WAAS Solution for the WAN
Cisco WAAS is a comprehensive WAN optimization and application acceleration solution that optimizes bandwidth,empowers cloud computing, and provides local hosting of branch IT services, all with industry-leading networkintegration. Cisco WAAS allows IT departments to centralize applications and storage while maintaining productivityfor branch-office and mobile users.
 
 
White Paper
 © 2010 Cisco and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public Information. Page 2 of 18
Cisco WAAS enables organizations to accomplish these primary IT objectives:
 
Enhance productivity by mitigating the effects of WAN latency: Applications perform better, and data istransferred faster.
 
Reduce bandwidth consumption, delaying or eliminating increased recurring bandwidth costs: Cisco WAASenables IT consolidation, reducing both capital and recurring expenses for branch IT infrastructure.
 
Increase business agility by enabling IT consolidation and enhanced application rollouts without the risk ofdegraded productivity or added complexity: Outstanding agility is available with Cisco Integrated ServicesRouters Generation 2 (ISR G2) and the Cisco Services-Ready Engine (SRE) Modules, offering WANoptimization on demand as business needs arise.Figure 1 shows a typical customer deployment using Cisco WAAS.
Figure 1.
Cisco WAAS Deployment Architecture
Cisco WAAS is deployed on an appliance or router-integrated service module on each side of the WAN to provideapplication-specific acceleration and WAN optimization capabilities. Cisco WAAS appliances can be deployed out ofthe data path or physically in-path in the data center or in the remote branch office, and Cisco WAAS networkmodules can be deployed out-of-path in the branch office. Regardless of the deployment model, Cisco WAASprovides application performance improvements and enables centralization without compromising high availabilityand scalability by providing intelligent load-distribution and fail-through operation.Figure 2 shows how Cisco WAAS devices, deployed on each end of a WAN link, optimize application traffic by usingoptimized connections over the WAN.
 
 
White Paper
 © 2010 Cisco and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public Information. Page 3 of 18
Figure 2.
Cisco WAAS Optimizes Connections over the WAN
Cisco WAAS allows IT departments to:
 
Consolidate data centers
 
Deliver desktop virtualization
 
Deploy new, rich-media applications
 
Deliver high-performance cloud computing and SaaS applications
 
Optimize organization branch sites with reduced network and IT infrastructure
 
Optimize bandwidth for rich media and telepresence
 
Manage bandwidth expense
 
Protect remote data and help ensure business continuity for regulatory complianceCisco WAAS facilitates such benefits through a series of optimizations that are not only safe to all applications, butvalidated by the application vendors themselves while also being transparent to clients, servers, and the networkitself:
 
Application-vendor validated protocol-specific acceleration:
Cisco WAAS provides application-specificacceleration features that are validated by application vendors themselves for both encrypted andnonencrypted applications. These techniques for improving application performance over the WAN reducethe effects of latency and bandwidth utilization through protocol acceleration, read-ahead, operation batching,multiplexing, and safe caching. The result is full correctness with protocol specification, full coherency of data,and a dramatically improved user experience when compared with native WAN access. Applications includeMicrosoft file services (Common Internet File System [CIFS]) and Microsoft Exchange (Messaging ApplicationProgramming Interface Remote Procedure Call [MAPI-RPC]), plus numerous other application protocols.
 
Advanced protocol-agnostic WAN optimization:
Cisco WAAS provides powerful WAN optimizationcapabilities that overcome limitations associated with the movement of data over a WAN. Cisco WAAS cancompress data in flight using long-lived compression techniques including standards-based compression andcross-protocol data redundancy elimination. Coupled with TCP optimizations that enable more intelligent andhigh-performance utilization of the network, the result is a significant reduction in network bandwidthconsumption, more efficient network utilization, improved application throughput, and LAN-like performancefor remote-office users and inter - data center applications.
 
Branch-office consolidation through virtual blades:
Cisco WAAS uniquely provides customers with thecapability to consolidate application infrastructure on the scalable, high-performance Cisco WAAS appliancefamily for applications that must remain in the branch office. Cisco WAAS provides virtual blade support forMicrosoft Windows Server 2008 R2 with its entire suite of applications. Furthermore, Cisco WAAS support forMicrosoft Windows Server 2008 R2 adheres to the Microsoft Server Virtualization Validation Program(SVVP).With Cisco WAAS, almost every TCP-based application can benefit from the network and application-specificacceleration techniques, including Internet and intranet, database, file service, file transfer, email, data protection,remote desktop, client-server, data protection, video streaming and video on demand (VoD), and Secure SocketLayer (SSL) encrypted applications.

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