March 26, 2010

Cisco Catalyst 6500 in Borderless Networks

Borderless networking is a set of technologies that span switching, routing, mobility, security, and application acceleration and promote service agility and business responsiveness, anywhere, any time, and to anyone. A borderless network is required to accommodate major trends that are reshaping the industry, touching many different aspects of the network. IT consumerization is driving new devices and new applications into the enterprise at an unprecedented rate. Mobility has enabled access to the network from a diverse set of devices. Organizations are taking in account their environmental responsibilities and are looking at optimizing their energy consumption. We are seeing tremendous adoption of everything delivered as service, driven by the cost advantage and flexibility it offers to an IT organization. Lastly, video is a powerful medium that is being used across enterprises for both internal and external applications.

Borderless enterprise requires a borderless network architected to meet these new needs. High-quality video traffic with devices such as Cisco TelePresence™ conferencing requires low delay, low jitter, and high-capacity transport. Smartphones can pose multiple security challenges when the border with the wireless provider is removed. Wireless devices also pose security and performances challenges. Saving energy at both the datacenter side and desktop side will require enforcing different sets of energy policies. Providing a highly dependable environment requires a set of functionalities that greatly reduce downtime during routine maintenance but also in case of unexpected failure.

The Cisco Catalyst 6500 is a versatile device that addresses the requirements of borderless networking. An higher level of available bandwidth is required to deliver video traffic, to carry data from collaborative applications, and to support virtualization within the data center. High-quality video and audio streams as well as other business-critical traffic should be prioritized adequately inside the network infrastructure, and a quality-of-service (QoS) strategy should be deployed. The Cisco Catalyst 6500 answers this challenge thanks to its hardware-accelerated QoS policies and queuing methodologies but also by providing traffic isolation at Levels 2 and 3. Inside a borderless network high availability should be provided to those new services to make them dependable. The Cisco Catalyst 6500 offers several levels of redundancy at both the hardware and software levels. Deployment, availability, and security concerns posed by wireless infrastructures are addressed by the dedicated wireless service module. The Cisco Catalyst 6500 is also capable of answering the challenges the next generation of IP protocols will pose and at another level the efficient usage of electrical resources.

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1 Comment

With Cisco's recent introduction of the "Borderless Network" architecture, one is apt to wonder how the various Cisco products fit into the larger scheme of things.

This paper does an excellent job of examining the role of the Cisco Catalyst 6500, one of the most widely installed Cisco products.  In particular there is a lot of detail concerning the role of high availability, high-capacity switching, security, wireless access, virtualization, and energy consumption.

Regardless of your exact choice of supplier, you'll find this to be an excellent baseline for expected functions.

Also, you may find out more about the basic concepts behind Borderless Networking by clicking here.

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