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Cisco to make network application-aware

Cisco recently unveiled the first components of its application-oriented networking (AON) group, promising network insight into application data.

Can a business run more efficiently if its network is smart enough to analyze application-based data?

Cisco Systems Inc. said yes, and today it unveiled the first components in its long-anticipated strategy to help companies manage network traffic derived from enterprise applications.

At its annual North American Networkers 2005 Conference, the San Jose, Calif.-based vendor announced the first product and services from its application-oriented networking (AON) group, a new division created to foster the network's ability to recognize and manage packets carrying application data.

The new products, AON modules for Cisco's data center switches and branch office routers, are intended to complement existing gear by providing insight into how much application data is traversing the network at any given time and confirming that data reaches its destination.

For example, Cisco said in a statement, customer e-commerce services firm BT Radianz said it has been using Cisco's new AON products to help its clients determine when data from financial applications passes through their network boundaries and arrives at partners' networks, measuring the total time for a transaction to be completed.

In addition to the AON modules, Cisco announced that it is working with partners such as SAP, IBM, VeriSign Inc. and Tibco Software Inc. on a portfolio of professional services that align the business and technical requirements of customers' networks and applications.

Cisco previewed its AON technology at the recent SAP AG Sapphire user conference. It has been suggested that the company's AON gear would boost Cisco into the XML and Web services data management market, perhaps challenging a number of startups focusing on Web services management and XML firewalls.

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