Inbar Lasser-Raab, senior director marketing, Borderless Networks solutions at Cisco, said the Cisco Secure Borderless Networks vision makes it easier for people in business environments to communicate anytime, anywhere, using any device through a seamless and secure environment.
The Borderless Networks architecture is made possible by technology services which are embedded across Cisco’s routers, switches and wireless and security platforms, Lasser-Raab explained. These services include things such as video, security and energy management, which helps organizations establish a borderless networking environment.
Rob Soderbery, senior vice-president and general manager of Cisco’s Ethernet Switching Technology Group, said the Borderless Network architecture is made up of a combination of infrastructure, which includes routers, switches and security appliances, in addition to five core network services which include video, green, security, mobility and application performance.
Some of the new enhancements to Cisco’s Borderless Network infrastructure services include Medianet, Cisco’s technology for video applications, which now supports the new Catalyst fixed switches and Integrated Services Router (ISR) G3 routers.
Cisco also announced the latest release of its EnergyWise 2.0 technology, which now includes Orchestrator, a management console that sits on the network infrastructure and allows IT managers to set and manage policies for improved energy consumption.
Lastly, Cisco also announced enhancements to its TrustSec security solution. TrustSec provides authentication and encryption benefits over the network based on policies, identity and location. The solution is now available on Cisco’s new Catalyst 3K Series of switches and is compatible with MACsec (MAC Security standard) implementations, Soderbery said.
Paul Edwards, director of SMB and channel research at IDC Canada, said with Cisco’s evolving Borderless Networks strategy, the company seems to be targeting more of the “M” than the “S” sized businesses when it comes to SMBs (small to mid-sized businesses).
“There’s the potential for this (vision) to also go down market further, say to 300 employees,” Edwards said. “The Borderless Networks strategy will help expand market and partner opportunities because Cisco’s introducing more usage around core networking technology in the client base.”
What this means for channel partners is that partners now have the opportunity to up-sell and expand their reach beyond existing customers to also include net new clients, Edwards explained. Since Cisco is enabling businesses of different sizes to take advantage of the Borderless Networks architecture through more affordable and scalable products, Edwards said this will mean good things for the channel.
“Partners can now have more of a business dialogue with their clients as opposed to only talking about networking and IT aspects,” he said. “Partners can now talk about how the solutions will impact their customer’s overall business drivers.”
On the product front, Cisco announced new fixed-switching products, better known as the Catalyst 3750-X and 3560-X. These switches are stackable or can stand alone and feature 10 gigabit Ethernet capabilities, in addition to Cisco’s patented StackPower technology. StackPower technology allows the switches, when stacked up as four switches, to be shared as a common resource, so if there’s ever a power supply failure, power would still be maintained. The objective with this switching portfolio is to enable businesses to have a more resilient, robust and scalable network, Soderbery said. The Catalyst 2960-S is another new switch from Cisco which helps businesses save up to 50 per cent in power costs too, he added.
The company also announced new routing platforms which include Cisco’s ISR G2 3900 E-Series and Cisco’s Aggregation Services Routers (ASR) 1000 software Release 6. ISR G2 3900 E is the next-generation product line of routers designed to support rich-media applications, energy efficiency and security needs.
Soderbery said channel partners can deliver the Borderless Networks architecture and the new products to customers who are looking to refresh their networks or to those who are looking to “future-proof” their networks.
“Partners can help deliver security integration, consultation and rollout services (to their customers) and they can also develop their own services to sell,” he said.
With the new product releases, the company has also announced an enhanced limited lifetime hardware warranty on the Catalyst series of switches for next-business day hardware replacement and 90 days of Technical Assistance Center support.
Cisco’s Catalyst 2960-S switch begins shipping mid-April and starts at US$1,995. The Catalyst 3750-X and 3560-X switches will begin shipping mid-May and pricing starts at US$3,450 for the Catalyst 3560-X with 24 ports.