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Hardware Family

The current Cisco WAAS hardware family consists of three router-integrated network modules, two desktop appliance models, and four rack-mounted appliance models. With such a diverse hardware portfolio, Cisco WAAS can be deployed in each location with the appropriate amount of optimization capacity for the needs of the users or servers in that particular location. This section examines the specifics of each of the current and legacy hardware platforms and positioning of each. Performance and scalability metrics for each are examined later in this chapter, along with best practices around accurately sizing a Cisco WAAS deployment.

Router-Integrated Network Modules

The Cisco WAAS router-integrated network modules are designed to provide optimization services for the remote branch office or enterprise edge. These modules, which are single-processor systems based on the Network Module Enhanced (NME) hardware, can occupy an empty or available NME-capable slot in a Cisco Integrated Services Router (ISR), including models 2811, 2821, 2851, 3825, and 3845. The ISR is an ideal platform for the branch office in that it provides a converged service platform for the remote office, including routing, switching, wireless, voice, security, and WAN optimization in a single chassis (platform, software version, and slot capacity dependent). In addition, the ISR provides a strong foundation for application performance management (APM) solutions in that along with WAAS, other performance-related features can be configured, including quality of service (QoS) for network provisioning, Performance Routing (PfR) for optimal path selection and network utilization, and NetFlow for visibility into traffic distribution, throughput, and other metrics.

Figure 2-3 shows a picture of the Cisco NME-WAE family of WAAS integrated network modules and the ISR family.

Figure 2-3

Figure 2-3 Cisco ISR Family and WAAS Network Modules

The Cisco NME-WAE family includes three models: the NME-WAE-302, NME-WAE-502, and NME-WAE-522. Each network module has a single hard disk with capacity ranging from 80 to 160 GB. With only a single drive, the NME-WAE is not capable of Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks (RAID). NME-WAE devices integrate into the network using WCCPv2 as a means of interception (Policy-Based Routing [PBR] can also be used, but WCCPv2 is preferred). Both methods of integration and interception are discussed in Chapter 4. The NME-WAE family does not provide support for virtualization in the branch office; a WAVE appliance model or WAE-674 is required for virtualization support. Each NME-WAE has two network interfaces:

  • One internal: Connected to the ISR backplane, which communicates with an internal network interface on the ISR
  • One external: Accessible through the front of the module, which can be attached to a LAN switch

Figure 2-4 shows the architecture of the NME, internal and external interfaces, and intersection points between the NME and the ISR.

Figure 2-4

Figure 2-4 Cisco WAAS Network Module Architecture

NME-WAE Model 302

The Cisco NME-WAE model 302 (NME-WAE-302) is designed for customers who want to employ only basic WAN optimization capabilities, which are permitted through the use of the Transport license (licensing is discussed later in this chapter). These capabilities include the ATP engine, DRE, PLZ, and TFO. This module is not capable of running the advanced services enabled by the Enterprise license (discussed later in the chapter), including application layer acceleration or disk encryption. The NME-WAE-302 is a single-processor system with 512 MB of RAM and a single 80-GB hard disk.

NME-WAE Model 502

The Cisco NME-WAE model 502 (NME-WAE-502) is designed for customers who want to employ WAN optimization capabilities and application acceleration features for an enterprise edge location. The NME-WAE-502 can be configured with the Enterprise license, providing full WAN optimization functionality, application acceleration functionality, and other features enabled by the Enterprise license including disk encryption and NetQoS integration. The NME-WAE-502 is a single-processor system with 1 GB of RAM and a single 120-GB hard disk. The NME-WAE-502 is capable of supporting a larger number of users than the NME-WAE-302, as discussed in the "Performance and Scalability Metrics" section later in this chapter.

NME-WAE Model 522

The Cisco NME-WAE model 522 (NME-WAE-522) is designed for customers who want to employ appliance-equivalent functionality to an enterprise edge location in the ISR. The NME-WAE-522 supports the full suite of Enterprise license features, including all WAN optimization and application acceleration capabilities. The NME-WAE-522 is a single-processor system with 2 GB of RAM and a 160-GB hard disk, serving as the most powerful network module available as of this writing.

Appliances

The Cisco WAAS appliance family is designed to be deployed in a location of any size, including the small branch office, campus networks, or the largest of enterprise data center networks. The Cisco WAAS appliance family includes the WAE and the newer WAVE devices. Cisco WAVE appliances are current-generation and provide support for branch office virtualization, whereas WAE appliances (with the exception of the WAE-674) do not. The Cisco WAE family includes models 512, 612, 674, 7341, and 7371, and the Cisco WAVE family includes models 274, 474, and 574. WAE appliance models 512 and 674, along with WAVE appliance models 274, 474, and 574, are targeted toward branch office deployments, whereas the WAE appliance models 674, 7341, 7371 are targeted toward regional office and data center deployments. The WAE-674 is a hybrid device that is commonly used for larger branch offices (and those where virtualization is required), but works equally well as a data center device where virtualization is not used. This should not imply that the device characterization presented is fixed; devices should be placed in locations according to performance and scalability sizing and feature requirements.

The WAE appliance models 512, 612, 674, 7341, and 7371, along with WAVE appliance model 574, each have externally accessible hard disk drives and RAID support (some models support hot-swappable disk drives). WAVE appliance models 274 and 474 do not have externally accessible hard disk drives, and with a single hard disk drive, do not support RAID.

Each WAE and WAVE appliance has two built-in Gigabit Ethernet interfaces, which can be deployed independently of one another or as a pair in either an active/standby configuration or PortChannel configuration. Such interface configurations are discussed in Chapter 5, "Branch Office Network Integration," and Chapter 6, "Data Center Network Integration." The WAE and WAVE appliance families both have one or more Peripheral Component Interconnect (PCI) expansion slots that support installation of additional feature cards, such as the physical in-path interception card. Each WAE or WAVE appliance can be deployed using a variety of network interception techniques, including physical inline interception, WCCPv2, PBR, and ACE (all are described in Chapter 4). Any appliance model can be used as a core (data center) or edge (branch office) device, although performance and scalability recommendations presented in this chapter must be followed. Figure 2-5 shows an image of the Cisco WAE appliance family, and Figure 2-6 shows an image of the Cisco WAVE appliance family.

Figure 2-5

Figure 2-5 Cisco WAAS WAE Appliance Family

Figure 2-6

Figure 2-6 Cisco WAAS WAVE Appliance Family

WAVE Model 274

The Cisco WAVE model 274 (WAVE-274) is a single-processor desktop model that is designed for deployment in small and medium-sized branch office locations or small data center locations. The WAVE-274 is configured with 3 GB of RAM. The WAVE-274 provides full WAN optimization and application acceleration capabilities and supports virtualization with up to two VBs. The WAVE-274 can be configured with any license available for WAAS. The WAVE-274 includes a single 250-GB SATA2 hard disk drive, and therefore does not support RAID. The WAVE-274 includes an inline card (with support for one WAN link) and the Enterprise license (discussed in the "Licensing" section of this chapter).

WAVE Model 474

The Cisco WAVE model 474 (WAVE-474) is a single-processor desktop model that is designed for deployment in small- and medium-sized branch office locations or small data center locations. Like the WAVE-274, the WAVE-474 is configured with 3 GB of RAM. The WAVE-474 provides full WAN optimization and application acceleration capabilities and supports virtualization with up to two VBs. The WAVE-474 can be configured with any license available for WAAS. The WAVE-474 includes a single 250-GB SATA2 hard disk drive, and with a single drive, it does not support RAID. The WAVE-474 is similar to the WAVE-274, but supports a larger number of optimized TCP connections and higher levels of WAN bandwidth. The WAVE-474 includes an inline card (with support for two WAN links) and the Enterprise license (discussed in the "Licensing" section of this chapter).

WAE Model 512

The Cisco WAE model 512 (WAE-512) is a single-processor rack-mount system that is designed for deployment in small- and medium-sized branch office locations or small data center locations. The WAE-512 can be configured with 1 or 2 GB of RAM. In either configuration, the WAE-512 can provide full WAN optimization and application acceleration capabilities, but does not support virtualization. With an increase in memory configuration, the WAE-512 supports a larger number of optimized TCP connections and a greater amount of WAN bandwidth. Regardless of memory configuration, the WAE-512 can be configured with the Transport, Enterprise, or Video license. The WAE-512 supports two 250-GB SATA2 hard disk drives, which are configured automatically for software RAID-1.

WAVE Model 574

The Cisco WAVE model 574 (WAVE-574) is a quad-core rack-mount system that is designed for deployment in large branch office locations or small data center locations. The WAVE-574 can be configured with either 3 GB or 6 GB of RAM and either one or two 500 GB SATA hard disk drives. With two drives, the system is configured automatically for software RAID-1. The 6 GB RAM configuration affords the WAVE-574 support for increased WAN bandwidth and optimized TCP connections and enables the 574 to increase its VB support from two to six (assuming 512MB of RAM is allocated for each VB). The WAVE-574 supports the full breadth of features and capabilities offered by any available Cisco WAAS license.

WAE Model 612

The Cisco WAE model 612 (WAE-612) is a dual-core processor rack-mount system that is designed for deployment in medium-sized branch office locations or medium-sized data center locations. The WAE-612 can be configured with 2 GB or 4 GB of RAM (4 GB of RAM provides greater WAN bandwidth support and higher optimized TCP connection counts) and, in any configuration, supports the full breadth of features and capabilities offered by the Transport, Enterprise, and Video licenses. The WAE-612 supports two 300-GB SAS hard disk drives, which are configured automatically for software RAID-1 and are hot-swap capable.

WAE Model 674

The Cisco WAE model 674 (WAE-674) is a quad-core rack-mount system that is designed for deployment in large branch office locations or medium to large data center locations. The WAE-674 can be configured with either 4 GB or 8 GB of RAM and three 300 GB SAS hard disk drives, which are capable of hot-swap. The 4 GB RAM configuration affords the WAE-674 support for up to two VBs, and the 8 GB RAM configuration affords the WAE-674 support for up to six VBs. Additionally, the increased memory configuration provides support for a greater amount of WAN bandwidth and optimized TCP connections. The WAE-674 is unique in that it can be configured with or without VB support (the only device in the hardware family that can), and when configured without VB support, the WAE-674 can support an even higher level of WAN bandwidth and optimized TCP connections. The reason for this level of configurability is the unique position of the WAE-674, which can be used for branch offices and data centers of virtually any size. The WAE-674 supports the full breadth of features and capabilities offered by any available Cisco WAAS license.

WAE Model 7341

The Cisco Cisco WAE model 7341 (WAE-7341) is a single quad-core rack-mount system (four processors) that is designed for deployment in large enterprise data centers. The WAE-7341 includes 12 GB of RAM and four 300-GB Serial-Attached SCSI (SAS) hard disk drives, which are configured automatically for hardware RAID-5 and support hot-swap. The WAE-7341 supports the full breadth of features and capabilities offered by the Transport, Enterprise, and Video Cisco WAAS licenses, but not virtualization.

WAE Model 7371

The Cisco WAE model 7371 (WAE-7371) is a dual quad-core rack-mount system (eight processors) that is designed for deployment in the largest of enterprise data centers and under the most demanding conditions. The WAE-7371 includes 24 GB of RAM and six 300-GB SAS hard disk drives, which are configured automatically for hardware RAID-5 and support hot-swap. The WAE-7371 supports the full breadth of features and capabilities offered by the Transport, Enterprise, and Video Cisco WAAS licenses, but not virtualization.

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