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Cisco puts the cloud computing on edge router blade

This week Cisco announced a bunch of new cloud-based security and collaboration products, including a new cloud-based intrusion protection system (IPS) and Cisco ASA 5500 Series 8.2, with a new botnet traffic filter.  The company also announced that is re-branding the WebEx MediaTone Network, a series of eight data centers around the world that make up the WebEx cloud, as the Cisco WebEx Collaboration Cloud.  This cloud network now offers enterprise IT departments policy control over WebEx meetings, empowering IT to set policies about desktop sharing and file transfers. It also offers global load balancing and intelligent routing, making sure that users enter the WebEx cloud through the best ISP to the most convenient and least taxed data center in the network.

However, what caught my eye in this series of announcements was a new WebEx blade device designed for the ASR 1000 router series. The WebEx Node for ASR 1000 basically transforms Cisco’s ASR 1000 router into a node on Cisco’s WebEx cloud.

Here’s how it works: Let’s say a company wants to hold a WebEx training session for 500 employees. In the old days, each of these 500 employees would log onto WebEx individually across the wide-area network (WAN). With the WebEx Node blade, the ASR 1000 router acts as a broker between the users and the WebEx cloud. The blade establishes a single session with the WebEx cloud. The 500 employees connect through the corporate firewall to the ASR 1000 router and the router connects to the WebEx cloud. By having just one connection to the cloud, shared with hundreds of employees, an enterprise can reduce the amount of bandwidth consumed. This will be especially handy when a company wants to stream high-definition video or send voice-over-IP and/orlarge data sets through WebEx. Companies will avoid WAN bottlenecks and employees will enjoy a better user experience.

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