Providing the required quality of service (QoS) to applications on a wide-area access network consistently and reliably is increasingly becoming a challenge. Cisco® Bandwidth Quality Manager (BQM) is a network application congestion management tool that provides outstanding visibility and analysis of traffic, bandwidth, and QoS on IP access networks. Data center LANs are upgrading from 100 Mbps to 1 Gbps and beyond, but the speed of branch and data center access links has not kept pace. Even brief periods of congestion at the speed mismatch points result in dynamic congestion, affecting applications. Cisco BQM uses microvisibility to detect dynamic congestion and estimate the service level for traffic and the bandwidth needed to meet QoS objectives.
Cisco BQM software runs on an appliance with gigabit-speed traffic monitoring ports. It is typically deployed at the data center or other potential traffic aggregation points, and it monitors every packet passively by spanning or tapping the Ethernet data links. All analysis and configuration functions are delivered though an advanced, user-friendly Web interface, with additional support for Secure Shell (SSH) Protocol and Telnet access to an intuitive command-line interface (CLI).
Tables 1 and 2 summarize Cisco BQM functions and business benefits.
Table 1. Cisco BQM Functions
Cisco BQM traffic insight provides a millisecond-level view and real-time analysis of the use of network resources to support the network application environment. Cisco BQM traffic insight identifies traffic microbursts of programmable duration from 5 milliseconds (ms) to 1 second, top talkers, listeners, and conversations and reports average link use, packet rate, and packet size distribution.
Cisco BQM computes the expected service level (ESL) in terms of loss and delay for each packet across hundreds of configured classes or site interfaces. The Cisco BQM congestion indicator condenses this information into a single number, which reflects the performance of each site relative to the network performance objectives.
Cisco BQM provides event tracing wherein a rolling real-time trace is always kept. If any congestion event is detected, a 10-second section of the trace around the event is recorded for later analysis. Cisco BQM provides analysis capabilities at the site, class, application, conversation, or even packet level.
Cisco BQM recommendations give clear, plain-language guidelines on class and link bandwidth requirements, queue-limit sizing, and policy settings. Each recommendation takes into account the amount of dynamic congestion that applications or classes can tolerate.
Cisco BQM detection and analysis of congestion is made available to external systems through fully configurable Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) traps, syslog streaming, and e-mail alerts.
Table 2. Cisco BQM Business Benefits
Increases network application uptime
Cisco BQM helps network managers ensure that network applications are performing by protecting against network congestion in converged WANs. Cisco BQM monitors, analyzes, and recommends corrective actions against network application congestion.
Reduces application downtime and troubleshooting expense
Through its unique ability to monitor and analyze traffic at the micro level, Cisco BQM diagnoses traffic-induced performance problems that many competing tools miss or misdiagnose.
Mitigates risk of making expensive bandwidth upgrade decisions
Cisco BQM determines whether a bandwidth upgrade or QoS or traffic management policy is the preferred action based on its unique algorithms. These algorithms take into account whether an upgrade action may result in no improvement to network quality.
Builds on investment made in Cisco QoS infrastructure
Cisco BQM models Cisco router QoS mechanisms, so that network managers can unleash the power of QoS without having to deploy yet another packet-processing appliance.
Cisco BQM 3.1 will be available April 12, 2007. Customers can order these products and fully attached services through their normal sales channels beginning March 21, 2007.
The Cisco BQM Engine is available on the 1180 platform with a specialized network interface card. Full details about availability and ordering of the required hardware platform are available from your Cisco sales representative.
Table 3 provides part numbers for ordering. Please note that Cisco BQM Engine is available with either fixed ports of 10/100/1000Mbps or with a modular version. The modular version of Cisco BQM Engine can be configured with combinations of 1000BaseSX (optical) SFPs or 1000BaseT (electrical) SFPs
Table 3. Ordering Information
Cisco Bandwidth Quality Manager Engine 3.1. Includes support for monitoring up to 100 remote sites.
Provides 4 electrical ports of 10/100/1000 Mbps
Provides for 4 modular slots. Requires either GLC-SX-MM or GLC-T
Cisco Bandwidth Quality Manager software license loaded on Cisco 1180
Gigabit Ethernet SFP with 1000BaseSX (optical)
Gigabit Ethernet SFP with 1000BaseT (electrical)
Cisco Bandwidth Quality Manager Engine 3.1 Upgrade from 3.0.