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November 06, 2008

Interview: Cisco Adds 20 Gbps Model to ASR 1000 Series Routers

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On the heels of its widely anticipated quarterly earnings report, IT industry bellwether Cisco Systems Inc. today is unveiling an addition to its flagship router series that officials say will help companies operate faster and more cost-effectively. 
 
Officials with San Jose, California-based Cisco (News - Alert) – the world’s largest networking equipment maker – are hailing the addition of a 20 Gigabit per second embedded services processor model to their ASR 1000 Series as a step forward for the market.
 
The routers, shown at right, come in three models – the Cisco ASR 1002, ASR 1004 and ASR 1006. All three use the Cisco QuantumFlow Processor, and are designed to help companies boost performance and drive video, security and collaboration services. Among other uses, companies are expected rely on the routers to develop an efficient wide area network edge, and the efficient devices also reduce users’ carbon footprints.
 
TMCnet had a chance to put some questions about the devices to two Cisco officials – Jonathan Davidson, Cisco’s director of enterprise routing and Tere Bracco, the company’s senior manager for network systems.
 
We talked about how the ASR 1000 Series is addressing rising trends in technologies such as telepresence and social networking, and what the routers offer in this slower economy.
 
Our exchange follows.
 
TMCnet: We’ve heard a lot lately from IT insiders, led by Cisco CEO John Chambers, about the “next phase” of the Internet as a video-based space that’s designed to enable high-volume data through telepresence and social networking services. It’s a vision that’s brought a call for video compression services well as high-performance hardware, including routers. What role is the ASR 1000 Series expected to play as this next phase approaches?
 
Jonathan Davidson (pictured left): The Cisco ASR 1000 Series plays a very key role in the roll-out of video across the enterprise, particularly in combination with trends such as the increasingly global workforce, in which 91 percent of employees work away from headquarters, in virtual offices.
 
To help ensure that the quality of experience in these virtual offices is the same as it is for employees located at corporate headquarters, the Cisco ASR 1000 Series now has double the performance to support increasing demand on the network due to applications such as video and TelePresence. It also can identify, prioritize and limit or block a variety of applications so that business-critical applications are prioritized, and it enables customers to develop their own signatures for customer-specific needs. Finally, the series has new WAN optimization capabilities to help provide greater WAN performance between corporate and branch offices.
 
TMCnet: We know that a major service provider in Japan, NTT, is hailing the ASR 100 Series for its flexibility, power and performance. Nations such as Japan and the United States are far more technologically advanced than others. It’s been less than a year since the ASR 1000 Series debuted. Where is the series selling, and what value proposition does Cisco bring with its routers to the less advanced nations that may lack the hardware and infrastructure of a company such as NTT?
 
JD: In the six months that its been shipping, the ASR 1000 Series has seen tremendous traction from customers – more than 250 global enterprise customers – across a broad set of industries including financial services, SP, healthcare and others. The value proposition is that the ASR 1000 Series is a smart, fast, compact and inexpensive multi-service, integrated router. Customers have found the combination of multiple core routing and application services on a single platform very compelling, particularly in these economic times when companies are so focused on driving productivity and efficiency.
 
TMCnet: Though some researchers are calling for steep increases in capital expenditures in IT segments such as mobile operators, in this slower economy, we’re hearing a lot about cost-cutting and more efficient operations. The ASR 1000 series debuted before the economy took a downturn. What features, if any, do the routers offer companies that are looking to stretch their budgets?
 
Tere Bracco (pictured left): The “instant-on” service capabilities of the ASR and the future-proof architecture of the QuantumFlow Processor (News - Alert) have been particularly appealing to our customers, allowing them to accelerate deployment and extend the life of their investment. Cisco introduced the industry’s fastest “instant on” encryption solution with the ASR 1000 Series and healthcare customers such as NHS Lothian find this an attractive capability as they shift to digitizing x-rays to speed the time in which they’re reviewed, results are provided to doctors and findings are shared with patients.
 
TMCnet: IBM this week unveiled a series of “green” solutions – mostly in the area of software – that are designed to reduce companies’ carbon footprints and cut down on energy consumption. These kinds of environmental technologies are sold as saving money as well as preserving the natural world. Tell us about the ASR 100 Series and what it offers from a “green” perspective.
 
TB: The Cisco ASR 1000 helps enterprises to reduce their carbon footprint. By surpassing the capabilities possible in multi-device, multi-vendor solutions, the Cisco ASR 1000 series dramatically decreases both the architectural complexity of deployment for enterprises but also their carbon footprints as well. Analysis conducted by Synergy (News - Alert) Research found that compared to competitive offerings, each implementation of the Cisco ASR 1000 can result in carbon footprints savings up to 3754 gallons of gasoline or 17 tons of coal annually. As a result of the ASR 1000 Series’ environmentally sound design, Frost & Sullivan (News - Alert) has notified Cisco that the ASR 1000 Series has received its 2008 North American ICT Green Excellence of the Year Award.
 
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TMCnet: Cisco is introducing the new 20 Gbps model as one robust IT segment, Internet-ready mobile devices, become more widely used among workers who are downloading hundreds of applications, including some for business use, from online “stores” offered by companies such as Apple, Google (News - Alert) and Research In Motion. As technologies such as telepresence emerge in a global economy that’s seeing companies increasingly forge field offices and partners across continents, the workforce itself is becoming more mobile. How is the ASR 1000 Series, and the new 20 Gbps model specifically, expected to meet these companies’ needs?
 
JD: As you indicate, the future is wide open and any number and diversity of new applications and devices are on the horizon. To help future customers with those applications and devices they know about today – and those they don’t yet know about – the Cisco ASR 1000 Series provides 20Gbps of performance AND industry leading scalability, and, most significantly, does not make customers choose or trade off between the two. This flexibility that is inherent in the architecture of the ASR 1000 Series, in combination with the investment enhancements announced today will help ensure that customer’s investment today will be protected in the future.
 

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Michael Dinan is a contributing editor for TMCnet, covering news in the IP communications, call center and customer relationship management industries. To read more of Michael’s articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Michael Dinan
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