Cisco WAF services bring data to the centre

Cisco has introduced a new product designed to simplify the management and increase the protection of data located at remote...

Cisco has introduced a new product designed to simplify the management and increase the protection of data located at remote branch offices.

Cisco File Engine Series is a line of appliance-based products using wide area file services (WAFS) technology designed for branch office consolidation. 

The products are also designed to lower costs by centralising more storage at the datacentre.

The goal is a lower total cost of ownership through the consolidation of file and print servers and tape backup devices.

Steve Duplessie, senior analyst at the Enterprise Strategy Group, said, “Consolidating remote branch-office file services and storage to a central location will make it easier for IT administrators to manage these discrete resources while allowing them to take advantage of the data-protection infrastructure that is readily available in the main datacentres.”

Cisco's new edge routers use WAFS, an emerging technology designed to overcome performance problems associated with using standard file access protocols.

WAFS helps IT departments to achieve Lan-like performance even when accessing files located at remote branch offices.

“Until the availability of WAFS technology, there was no real practical way to solve the latency issues involved in accessing files over long distances.

"Staying at a higher applications level, and not just focusing on the pipe itself, is a critical ingredient to be able to successfully pull this off," said Duplessie.

The Cisco Edge File Engine is deployed at each branch office. It replaces file and print servers and gives local clients near-Lan read and write-access to files.

The Core File Engine is deployed at the datacentre and connects directly to one or more file servers or NAS gateways. It processes Wan-optimised file requests on behalf of each Edge File Engine.

The Cisco WAFS Central Manager provides centralised management and monitoring of every file engine deployed within an enterprise.

The File Engine Series are the first products resulting from Cisco's acquisition of Actona Technologies earlier this year. 

Bob Francis writes for Infoworld

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