A series of macro-market trends are fundamentally changing customer attitudes about managed services, and are creating new opportunities for innovative providers of managed services to deliver differentiated solutions to their customers.
• Globalization and e-commerce have opened new opportunities for business expansion along with new competitive pressures for companies of all sizes worldwide.
• Distributed and mobile workforces require collaboration technology and secure access to confidential data.
• Economy-driven trends are compelling businesses to quickly adopt advanced technology in order to meet strategic business objectives while cutting operational costs.
To support this growth and the changing market dynamics, the Cisco® 1000 Series Aggregation Services Routers provide an ideal platform for delivering leading managed services, either on the customer premises or at the intelligent edge of the service provider network.
The Cisco ASR 1000 Series allows service providers to aggregate WAN-based services in an intelligent, resilient, secure, and scalable fashion and to deliver them in a managed services package. Using this platform, service providers can:
• Provide end customers with flexible and rich collaboration capabilities
• Deliver application-fluent services that allow businesses to identify various types of applications on their networks, such as: mission-critical, important, infrastructure-related, recreational, and malicious
• Build a secure ecosystem for businesses to interact with their customers, partners, remote workforce, and vendors
• Optimize WAN bandwidth usage and reduce congestion with application-awareness features
Managed Services Benefits
The Cisco ASR 1000 Series is a highly adaptive service platform that blends intelligence and high performance in a footprint that is significantly smaller than comparable solutions or standalone routers. Additionally, integrated Cisco IOS® XE Software features and application granularity help enable customized service delivery and optimal application behavior. These strengths translate to tangible advantages for managed services.
The rate of change in business requirements and associated applications is fast-paced. The Cisco ASR 1000 Series allows service providers to quickly and cost-efficiently tune managed services without compromising the performance or availability.
To meet changing requirements for today's businesses and managed services, service providers must work with their business customers to effectively define and then prioritize applications based on their business impact and criticality. In other words, mission-critical applications such as customer relationship management (CRM), payroll, and communications should receive priority over basic data transfers.
While service providers currently do offer different quality-of-service (QoS) capabilities that prioritize traffic, much more is needed. Increased bandwidth demands from collaboration applications that incorporate video require improvement beyond standard QoS priorities. As the network takes a more intelligent role in delivering media-rich applications, the Cisco ASR feature set allows service providers to deliver application-fluent services as needed for a better user experience.
Web 2.0 applications, communications and collaboration applications, and a variety of other applications may be running on the business network. Application visibility is critical to determining QoS levels and safeguarding the network from malicious applications. With granular visibility, service providers can help business customers categorize and prioritize traffic types. For example:
– Business-critical: CRM, ERM, business continuity
– Communications and collaboration
– Infrastructure-related applications, such as Active Directory, DNS, DHCP, that are critical for network usability
– Most other data applications
• Best effort
– Recreational applications: Facebook, YouTube, MySpace, etc.
– Malicious: Spyware, malware, botnet
The Cisco IOS XE Software powering the Cisco ASR platform supports integrated features such as Network Based Application Recognition (NBAR), NetFlow, Cisco IOS IP Service-Level Agreements (SLAs), and Flexible Packet Matching (FPM). These features facilitate application discovery and cataloguing of known and unknown applications. By discovering, classifying and mapping applications to network usage policies, service providers can show their business customers how network resources such as the WAN are utilized and if their critical applications are receiving the necessary network resources including bandwidth.
Measuring how an application sees the network performance and resources available to complete an application transaction is a powerful tool that Cisco IOS IP SLA facilitates together with other network instrumentation and measurement features. If such measurement shows that a particular application such as video cannot sustain latency or jitter, the Cisco ASR 1000 Series allows the network to elevate the priority of that application, according to the specified network-use policy. This also opens up additional revenue streams by enabling service providers to charge for elevated priority and enhanced performance on a per-subscriber basis.
The application-recognition and control features such as NBAR, NetFlow, IP SLA, FPM, and QoS help service providers deliver and manage today and tomorrow's unified quadruple-play services while taking full advantage of the robust application-intelligence capabilities enabled by Cisco IOS Software.
The Cisco ASR 1000 Series provides a truly integrated managed services platform for deploying managed services such as VPNs, security, unified communications, and high availability. The Cisco ASR 1000 Series is the industry's first router providing 20-Gbps firewall and 7-Gbps IPsec functionality that can be utilized without any hardware upgrades, as instantly available service capabilities. For the end user this means that services can be turned on as needed with no downtime or impact to ongoing operations. For the service provider this can translate to greater profits. The ability to rapidly and remotely turn on services helps eliminate onsite support calls, reducing carbon footprint and minimizing the burden on internal resources.
Cisco Group Encrypted Transport VPN (GET VPN), a next-generation encryptioned VPN technology available on the Cisco ASR 1000 Series, allows service providers to build secure ecosystems or secure "communities of interest" for their customers. For the end customer that needs secure connectivity for distributed or global employees, partners, vendors, and customers, GET VPN facilitates the highest degree of encryption available - Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) - combined with stateful firewall capabilities. Benefits include:
• "Any-to-any" encryption with high scalability and easy manageability
• Traversal of secured packets across existing routing infrastructure without tunnels
• Networkwide QoS and multicast capabilities; improved application performance
• Flexible span of control among subscribers and providers
• Reduced complexity with direct spoke-to-spoke connectivity
Secure ecosystems give businesses the agility to quickly and securely connect with employees, partners, and vendors, even with applications requiring native multicast traffic.
Cisco WebEx™ meeting applications deliver web conferencing to end users, on demand, through a web browser. A new shared port adapter (SPA) for the Cisco ASR 1000 Series smoothly interfaces the service provider's IP NGN with the Cisco WebEx network. The adapter runs Cisco WebEx software that enables it to act like a private extension of the hosted Cisco WebEx service. It's like having a self-managing Cisco WebEx data center on campus.
When the Cisco WebEx node and the Cisco ASR 1000 Series are installed at the enterprise branch or headquarters, internal meeting participants can join the Meeting Zone or collaboration server) locally or regionally, and their data is routed onsite, without burdening WAN resources. At the same time, external meeting attendees connect through the Cisco WebEx data center and participate in the same meeting using Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) connections.
As a result, a hosted or on-premises Cisco ASR 1000 Series router with Cisco WebEx functionality delivers an on-demand conferencing solution that provides:
• High-performance conferencing for all attendees
– Attendees connect to the closest node onsite or offsite
– Data is transferred as close as to the attendee as possible
– Latency is minimized
• Global coverage
– The on-demand MediaTone platform is used for attendees outside the firewall
• Expensive control, administration, and enhanced services remain in the MediaTone hosted platform
– Billing and reporting
• Low deployment and maintenance costs
– No dedicated servers or appliances
– No configuration
– No admin or maintenance overhead for the enterprise
– Service operates transparently
The feature richness, high performance, and cost-effectiveness of the Cisco ASR 1000 Series help lengthen its lifecycle, while its carefully selected materials and components help reduce its carbon footprint. Further, its compact form factor helps to reduce the space and power requirements of data centers.
Comprehensive Approach to Security
Integrated, collaborative, and adaptive security in the evolving Cisco IP NGN architecture is built into the fabric of the service provider's network infrastructure and integrated with other network elements. Cisco provides a comprehensive security product portfolio and assists service providers in developing revenue-generating managed security services from concept to implementation and marketing. Security is not an afterthought at Cisco. Security is a fundamental part of the service provider's business that impacts all services.
With today's sophisticated users and rapidly changing technology, it's more critical than ever to offer powerful and flexible services that are available anytime and anywhere. The Cisco ASR 1000 Series helps service providers achieve application fluency and network transparency, and deliver high-performance, highly available managed services with built-in, multilayer security. And by empowering service providers to deliver leading-edge collaboration tools across the WAN and to optimize the end-customer experience, the Cisco ASR platform, as a hosted solution or CPE, can significantly boost competitive advantage.