Friday, February 13, 2009

Campus Architecture – Campus Communication Fabric

The Campus is the center of all business. It hosts the company HQ, and the main employee population. Also, it may host, geographically speaking, the Data Center as well. Also, the challenge most businesses face today is how to transform their existing network into a business enabling platform.

The fundamental design model for the network infrastructure is referred to as the Campus Communication Fabric, CCF, Blueprint. This is a model developed and industry validated by Cisco.

In November, I did a post on the Campus Communication Fabric that I have abridged bellow:

A Campus Communications Fabric framework can help a business solve complex planning issues, provide support for rich-media applications, enable consistent services and policies, and take advantage of a Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) foundation, among other things. What that means is that the network will be scalable to any level, will recover itself from failures, and will become a revenue generating and cost reducing instrument without major hassles, specifically for media transport purposes in the Campus. i.e. Using high-definition TelePresence video as meeting medium.

There are six attributes of the Campus Communications Fabric:

  • Application Intelligence: Take control of applications and user experience
  • Unified Network Services: Connect any person to any resource with any device
  • Integrated Security: Secure every port with built-in protection for access, identity, and data
  • Nonstop Communications: Stay connected with a resilient infrastructure that enables business continuity
  • Virtualization: Simplify your network and maximize resource utilization
  • Operational Manageability: Do more with less—deploy services faster and automate routine tasks

Now, let's elaborate on these attributes, and why they are important.

Application Intelligence

Challenge: improving the network's ability to adjust to application requirements and support emerging trends.

Application Intelligence's functions are to recognize applications and prioritize them; monitor and control traffic; deliver new applications; and control latency in the network to have the infrastructure self adjust to changes.

Unified Network Services

Challenge: Providing any application and service to any screen at any place and any time

Unified network services connect any person or resource to any device regardless of how they are connected to the network. It provides consistent services and performance via wired, wireless, or VPN connection.

Integrated Security

Challenge: Providing distributed security tools and features required to protect and secure new traffic flow patterns

The concept of integrated security ensures that security is scalable (i.e. complex security requirements like PCI). Also, it can protect clients resources at the edge of the network in a built-in fashion via pervasive security policies.

Nonstop Communications

Challenge: Provide continuous access to applications, data, and content from anywhere.

A resilient infrastructure can guarantee application availability via intelligent network protocols and flexible design capabilities. High availability must be transparent and provided at a system level, not only a device level.


Challenge: Provide flexible configuration and management of all infrastructure resources to reduce costs and increase agility

A logical rather than physical view of data, storage, network, and other resources presented independently of location, packaging, or capacity enable a shared infrastructure, geographic scalability, and dynamic resource and service utilization. When thinking about virtualization, think about savings in energy and resources.

Operational Manageability

Challenge: In addition to the network always being available you always need to know what is happening in the network.

It is important to accelerate service implementation, facilitate changes, and simplify management by automating the infrastructure. A mechanism for doing this is by improving fault detection by automating it, and gaining full visibility to what's flowing through the network.

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