Cisco Beefs Up SDN Arsenal with WAE

The company targets services providers looking to automate their infrastructures and save money.

Before the Cisco Live conference got underway last week, where the company said it would be "delivering the goods" on the concept of software-defined networking (SDN), the company released its Cisco WAN Automation Engine (WAE).

The new technology is part of the Evolved Services Platform (ESP) layer of the Cisco Open Network Environment (ONE). Cisco ONE is the company's answer to SDN and, according to the company's Web site, "goes beyond the foundations offered by [SDN] to create a more fully integrated and dynamic solution. The result is a simplified mobile, video or cloud user experience that … helps services providers reduce their overall investment."

The Cisco WAE "automates the engineering and operations of multivendor physical and virtual infrastructure" on the ESP, allowing services providers to automate such tasks as analyzing, controlling, managing, and improving network performance and capacity planning.

Providing services providers with the ability to use and purchase bandwidth only when needed can help reduce costs, delivering "a more than 90 percent return on investment during the first year of deployment and a total cost of ownership reduction of up to 45 percent," according to the press release.

Several use cases are listed on the Cisco WAE page, where companies can also download data sheets and literature:

  • Demand Admission Requests: Services providers can intelligently consider content location as well as network impact using the Cisco WAE when placing the demand. At the same time, they can help ensure the network stays healthy.
  • Bandwidth Scheduling: When an enterprise customer wants to move a cache on demand, the Cisco WAE first determines the best path. Then, it programs a label-switched path using Path Computation Element Protocol (PCEP).
  • Load Balancing Label Switched Paths: It's important for services providers to efficiently use expensive resources, such as high-cost or transoceanic links. The Cisco WAE helps ensure the most expensive network resources are fully optimized, assigning best-load share metrics using PCEP.
  • Policy-Based Path Planning: To meet service-level agreements, services providers can use the Cisco WAE to provision disjoint LSPs from an access to an aggregation router. The engine can also help ensure they remain on different paths even under failure conditions.

About the Author

Wendy Hernandez is group managing editor for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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