Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Unified Network Services for Cloud Service Providers

Services from the Cloud
Services from the cloud offer cost and efficiency benefits to businesses, but until now many customers have been hesitant to buy cloud services, especially for mission-critical business applications, because of concerns about security, performance, and availability. Cloud service providers need to address these concerns by offering network services for applications hosted in the cloud. Cloud service providers can use their data center and IP NGN assets to deliver these services, however, they need a new service delivery model offering the scalability, flexibility, and multi-tenant capabilities needed for cloud service delivery. Delivering cloud services requires efficiency and agility in the data center where applications are hosted. To support on-demand delivery of cloud services, network and computing infrastructures need to be virtualization aware, especially for services that increase the availability and performance of applications.

The Cisco Solution
To meet this need Cisco is delivering virtualized versions of network services appliances as a part of our network services solution. The Cisco® Unified Network Services (UNS) solution presents a new opportunity for cloud service providers to offer security and performance services as well as reporting and monitoring for virtualized applications and other infrastructure services such as BC/DR, VDI or Hosted Communications. Cisco UNS uses a platform based on the Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) and Cisco Nexus® 1000V Series Switch to increase the scale and flexibility of cloud-based services and to help ensure availability and workload mobility. The Cisco UNS solution lowers the cost of deployment and enables rapid provisioning by removing the need for physical versions of these products and the requirement for racking and stacking, and power and cooling.

Network Services
The Cisco UNS solution consists of Cisco Application Control Engine (ACE) application delivery controllers, Cisco Wide Area Application Services (WAAS) WAN optimization products, Cisco Virtual Security Gateway (VSG), Cisco Network Analysis Module (NAM), and the associated Cisco management solutions. These network services have existed in appliance and module form, and are widely deployed by service providers in managed services. The virtualized versions of these products are designed to be deployed on-demand in the data center in a flexible and scalable multitenant environment. By making these services form-factor independent and using policy-based on-demand provisioning Cisco UNS facilitates transparent workload portability on a virtual machine level as well as rapid provisioning to enable services to be delivered from the cloud.

To Learn More
To learn more see, Cloud-Based Services: Assure Performance, Availability, and Security

Backstory: I wrote this paper and blog while working on the Cisco Cloud and Managed Services team. It is also on the Cisco Data Center blog site.

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