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Cisco Application Delivery Solutions Ease Back-to-School Challenges for College Students, Faculty


Brandeis University and Harper College Deploy Cisco ACE in the Data Center to Improve Application Availability, Performance and Security During Peak Season

SAN JOSE, Calif.- Cisco® (NASDAQ: CSCO) today announced that the Cisco® Application Control Engine (ACE) module, a member of the Cisco family of Data Center 3.0 solutions, has been deployed at leading higher-education institutions to consolidate and virtualize data center resources, and to enable faster application delivery to students, administrators and faculty.

Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass., and Harper College in Palatine, Ill., have selected Cisco ACE running on the Cisco Catalyst® 6500 Series Switch to consolidate servers and network infrastructure in their data centers, and to improve application performance and security.

The institutions are relying on Cisco ACE this fall to help with enterprise application delivery to faculty and students, as well as application acceleration and security for online and distance learning.
Brandeis University: Embracing Cisco ACE to Help Change the Education Model

According to John Turner, Director of Network Systems for Brandeis University, the school turned to Cisco ACE to help manage its online course management application, Moodle, an open-source solution that helps educators create effective online learning communities and PeopleSoft applications. “We want to provide a virtual online learning environment using collaboration tools such as virtual classes, student chat rooms, wikis, and podcasts that augments and extends the classroom experience, and that changes the dynamics of teaching and learning at the university,” says Turner. “With more than 5,000 students as well as our faculty accessing our data center databases during peak back-to-school season, we need to manage an average of 300,000 database transactions per day. ACE helps us manage this load by enhancing application availability and providing security.”

Brandeis is using the virtualization capabilities of Cisco ACE to manage resources and security policies for its applications. “We selected Cisco ACE for its virtualization capabilities, as well as XML configuration management interface and availability,” says Turner. “These capabilities ease our IT management challenges, as we can better manage traffic across multiple servers and deploy applications within minutes, in normal business hours, without disruption to our user communities.”

ACE virtualization provides Brandeis the flexibility to allocate resources to virtual devices in any way needed. “Since Cisco ACE virtual devices have security and are isolated from each other, we have separated our production, test, and training environments using ACE virtual devices,” adds Turner.

With Cisco ACE, IT staff are better able to optimize use of networking hardware, since the university environment demands balancing extreme traffic load variations, which peaks with the back-to-school season. “Cisco ACE combines application security, load balancing, server virtualization and performance in one device, all backed with the reliability of the Cisco Catalyst 6500,” says Turner. “This is a forward-looking solution that truly integrates application delivery within the network infrastructure.”
Harper College: Using ACE for Server Virtualization and Security

At Harper College, a community college located in the suburb of Palatine, Illinois, a northwest suburb of Chicago, Cisco ACE is helping with back-to-school registration and a broad range of additional requirements.

According to John McManus, Manager of Servers and Networks Group at Harper College, the ability to maximize the availability, performance and security of the college’s data center applications played a large part in the decision to upgrade to Cisco ACE. Because the IT team at Harper runs virtual machines on their servers, the product’s unique virtualized architecture, which enables IT managers to configure up to 250 individual virtual devices on a single ACE module, was the deciding factor in the technology selection.

The Cisco ACE module will manage application delivery through Oracle Portal for administrators and faculty, including email, departmental-level Web-based applications, and enterprise databases for campus-wide and departmental information access retrieval.

“We’ve connected VMware servers to the Cisco ACE to virtualize our application deployment,” says McManus. “Initially, we were concerned about having multiple VLANs [virtual local area networks] belonging to a different device. But ACE has security and gives us the ability to place virtual machines in whatever context we desire. We now have all the application switching capabilities we could hope for plus end-to-end virtualization support in one chassis.”

The Cisco ACE integrated-security features such as the ability to add firewall capabilities and secure-socket layer (SSL) acceleration, was a key factor in the move to ACE. “The ability to put 10 firewalls into the one device was compelling,” says McManus. “The Cisco ACE firewall features give us the ability to inspect the traffic without having to install 10 separate routers externally to the chassis. The fact that we can monitor all of that in one place was equally appealing.”
Cisco ACE: Comprehensive Application Delivery Solution

The Cisco Application Control Engine (ACE) family, the next-generation application delivery solution for the data center, includes highly scalable application-switching modules for Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series enterprise-class switches and for Cisco 7600 Series carrier-class routers.

The ACE module helps enterprises accomplish four key IT objectives for application delivery: 1) maximize application availability; 2) accelerate application performance; 3) secure the data center and critical business applications; and 4) consolidate data center resources into fewer servers, load balancers and data-center firewalls. ACE also provides administrators new levels of control-including the ability to define 250 unique virtual devices on a single physical module with security that are isolated from each other-for deploying, securing and accelerating critical applications across the extended enterprise.

The Cisco ACE family also includes the Cisco ACE XML Gateway solution. This standalone appliance extends the core ACE functionality to XML and Web Services.

To support data center availability, the Cisco ACE application delivery solution is integrated with the Cisco ACE Global Site Selector (GSS). ACE GSS provides global load balancing with intelligent failover between data centers to enable business continuity, full DNS support, as well as protection from denial of service attacks.


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