There are several trends in today's enterprises that drive requirements to build application awareness within the network. Cloud services and applications such as WebEx and SalesForce.com are delivered over HTTP and HTTPS which is the same port used by typical recreational web traffic such as Netflix, Hulu, Pandora and iTunes. In addition, consolidation of the data center in order to reduce overhead requires the network to carry much greater volume of both business and recreational traffic. Network administrators need to gain visibility into different types of traffic, and to separate network and application performance in order to quickly isolate and troubleshoot performance issues. They need the ability to granularly define policy to control and tune performance of these different applications.
Introducing Cisco Application Visibility and Control (AVC)
Cisco's AVC solution offers truly innovative capability to enable application awareness in the network. AVC incorporates application recognition and performance monitoring capabilities into routing devices that were previously traditionally available only in dedicated appliances. This integrated approach greatly reduces the network footprint, simplifies network operations and reduces total cost of ownership. The information collected by AVC is exported in a standard open format such as Netflow version 9 which allows both Cisco and third-party network management tools to utilize AVC.
In addition to providing visibility into applications running on the network and their performance, AVC enables per-application policy for granular control of application bandwidth use which results in better end user experiences. AVC is enabled in Cisco's IOS and IOS XE software.
How does Cisco AVC Solution Work?
AVC uses a number of technologies and consists of several components
Cisco's AVC solution leverages multiple technologies to recognize, analyze and control over 1000 applications including voice and video, email, file sharing, gaming, peer-to-peer (P2P) and cloud-based applications. AVC has the following building blocks:
1. Application Recognition: With AVC, Cisco's ASR 1000 and ISR-G2 can identify over 1000 applications within the traffic flow using Network Based Application Recognition (NBAR2) and Cisco's innovative Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) technology. With NBAR2 the application signature can be updated while the router is in-service.
2. Performance Collection and Exporting: AVC utilizes an embedded monitoring agent to collect Application Response Time (ART) metrics such as the response time and latency for TCP applications, and packet loss and jitter for voice and video applications. These metrics are aggregated and exported using open flow export format such Netflow Version 9 and IPFIX.
3. Management Tool: With open flow record format such as Netflow Version 9 and IPFIX, data exported by AVC can be consumed by Cisco Prime Infrastructure and third-party network management tools.
4. Control: By utilizing the same DPI technology, these routers can reprioritize critical applications or enforce application bandwidth use using Cisco's industry-leading Quality of Service (QoS) capabilities. In addition, intelligent real-time application path selection based on performance is provided by Cisco's Performance Routing (PfR)
Technologies Used by Cisco AVC
The following picture shows the technologies and features that support each of Cisco AVC component