Product Bulletin
What's New in Cisco ACE Application Control Engine
Module for the Cisco Catalyst 6500 and Cisco 7600
Series—Software Release 2.1.0
PB458841
Product Overview
®
®
The Cisco ACE Application Control Engine Module for the Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series Switches
and Cisco 7600 Series Routers represents the next-generation of application switches for
maximizing availability, acceleration, and security of data center applications. The Cisco ACE
Module allows enterprises and service providers to accomplish four primary IT objectives for
application delivery:
●
Maximize application availability
●
Accelerate application performance
●
Secure the data center and critical business applications
●
Facilitate data center consolidation through the use of fewer servers, load balancers and
Firewalls.
Cisco ACE Module Software Release 2.1.0 highlights includes the following:
Available
●
Dedicated multimedia support increases server capacity by 38%.
●
Application switching based on actual application health.
●
GSS can now leverage ACE intelligence for global load balancing.
●
10X increase in DNS balancing speed by re-using flow setups.
●
Faster recovery of UDP resources improves Layer 4 performance.
●
Intelligent re-use of session information delivers faster SSL.
Fast
Secure
●
Stop DOS attacks by intelligent tagging of malicious traffic.
●
Mitigate server resource attacks by fine tuning incoming traffic rates.
●
Eliminate attacks against payload information through deep inspection.
All contents are Copyright © 1992–2008 Cisco Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public Information.
Page 1 of 8
Product Bulletin
Table 1.
New Features in Cisco ACE Module Software Release 2.1.0
Available
Description
Generic Protocol Parsing ACE has native understanding of the following protocols: HTTP,
(GPP)
FTP, DNS, ICMP, SIP, RTSP, Extended RTSP, Radius and
RDP. However, data center owners may have to deal with many
other applications –custom applications, legacy applications,
packaged applications, etc.
Benefit
ACE can switch custom and
packaged applications without
any programming.
Cisco ACE’s GPP feature enables you to configure application
switching and persistence policies based on any information in
traffic payload for custom and packaged applications without
requiring any programming.
The Cisco ACE performs payload parsing via hardware using a
powerful regular expression engine to obtain maximum
performance unlike other software-based solutions.
HTTP Header
Manipulation
Cisco ACE supports the ability to insert, delete or rewrite HTTP
headers in both client requests and server responses.
HTTP Header Insertion
Increased client visibility for
applications to perform
logging and auditing.
ACE provides an ability to insert HTTP header in request,
response or both.
Consider an example when ACE uses source NAT to translate
the clients IP address, often the servers need a way to identify
that client.
To identify a client whose source IP address has been NAT’ed,
you can instruct the ACE to insert a generic header and string
value of source IP address before the request is sent to the
server.
HTTP Header Rewrite
ACE provides an ability to rewrite HTTP header in request,
response or both.
Secure delivery of SSL
content back to the client
Consider an example where a client wants to connect to a
secured Web application. In this scenario, client sends a HTTPS
request to the application. An external application switch
terminates the SSL connection and sends clear text to the
application. Since the application is unaware that incoming client
HTTPS request was terminated on the application switch, the
application may redirect the client to a non secured HTTP URL
rather than to the secured HTTPS URL.
To solve this problem, Cisco ACE application switch modifies the
redirected URL from HTTP to HTTPS in the “Location” header
before sending the response to the client.
Delete HTTP Header
Secured Web applications
HTTP header deletion can be used to strip sensitive HTTP
headers from server responses.
For example, by default many web servers include the
information about the web server such as version, O/S in HTTP
response header. This information could potentially be used to
generate malicious attacks.
In this example, Cisco ACE can automatically delete such
headers, thus hiding the server type and version from clients.
Partial Server-Farm
Failover
Currently, if a backup server-farm is configured, the primary
server-farm would failover to the backup only when all the real
servers in that server-farm go down.
Partial Server-farm Failover feature allows the user to specify a
minimum percentage (eg. X%) of real servers to be active in the
farm before the primary server-farm fails over to the backup
server-farm.
Cisco ACE provides capability
to manage which server farm
(primary or backup) receives
new traffic based on the
number of available Real
Servers (RServers).
When the primary server-farm fails over to the backup, all
currently established connections will continue to exist on the
primary server-farm. All new requests are routed to the backup
server-farm.
For the primary server-farm to return to service, a minimum
percentage (eg. Y% > X%) of real servers should be active.
TCP Dump
ACE can capture real-time packet information for the network
traffic that passes through the ACE.
Enhanced Troubleshooting
The ACE buffers the captured packets, and you can copy the
buffered contents to a file in flash memory on the ACE or export
to Ethereal.
All contents are Copyright © 1992–2008 Cisco Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public Information.
Page 2 of 8
Product Bulletin
Available
Description
Benefit
Source NAT for VIP
Source NAT for VIP allows to include a Virtual IP (VIP) address
in the network address translation (NAT) pool for dynamic NAT
and PAT
Save real world IP addresses
on the client-side network
This feature can be used to Source-NAT Real Server-originated
connections (bound to the client) using the VIP address.
Source NAT for Sever
Farm
Enables source NAT to a backup Server Farm multiple hops
away during the failure of a primary ServerFarm
ACE can apply dynamic NAT for both primary and backup Server
Farms, for multiple outgoing Server VLAN’s.
Adaptive Response
Predictor
Cisco ACE adds several new intelligent load-balancing
predictors.
Cisco ACE predictor selects a server based on its response time.
Response times are calculated over a user-configured number of
samples and supports the following three measurement options:
● SYN-to-SYN-ACK: Server response time between SYN sent
from ACE to SYN-ACK received from server
● SYN-to-Close: Server response time between SYN sent from
ACE to FIN/RST received from server.
Provides continuous
application availability even
during the Primary Server
Farm failure.
ACE switches applications
based on real-time
server/application
performance data measured
across a variety of userconfigured criteria.
Application Request to Response: Server response time between
HTTP request sent from ACE to HTTP response received from
server .
Least-Loaded Predictor
This ACE predictor selects the least-loaded server based on the
value of up to 8 SNMP MIB objects defined by the user. These
objects can be server resources like CPU utilization, memory
resources, disk drive availability, etc. Users can associate
weights with each of the measured objects for ultimate granular
control in application switching.
Least-Bandwidth
Predictor
This ACE predictor selects the server that processed the least
amount of application traffic between ACE and the real servers,
in both directions, over a user-configured sampling period and
number of samples.
Keepalive Appliance
Protocol (KAL-AP)
Keepalive-Appliance Protocol (KAL-AP) on the ACE application
switches allows communication with ACE Global Site Selector
(GSS), to report
Global server load-balancing
(GSLB) to provide business
continuity
VIP and real Servers availability
The above information is used by the Cisco ACE GSS for
intelligent global server load balancing (GSLB) across data
centers.
KAL-AP communication between the ACE GSS can be secured
using MD5 encryption.
Simple Network
Management Protocol
(SNMP) Probes
The main purpose of an SNMP message is to control (set) or
monitor (get) parameters on an SNMP agent, eg. web server.
SNMP uses an Object Identifier (OID) to specify the exact
parameter to set or get in an SNMP agent.
Intelligent server health
monitoring using customized
probes in an SNMP
environment
This SNMP-based server load probe allows the user to configure
a query consisting of up to eight SMNP object identifiers (OIDs)
to probe the server. In addition, the user can associate weights
with each of these OIDs.
The information retrieved by this probe from the servers is used
as input to the Least-loaded predictor described above.
Scripted Probes
In addition to existing flexibility to author specific Toolkit
Command Language (TCL) scripts unique to customer
environments for server health monitoring, ACE support is
extended to execute ACE CLI commands via TCL Scripts
Intelligent server health
monitoring using customized
TCL scripts
HTTP Return Code
Parsing
This feature enables configuration of a threshold value based on
the number of specific HTTP return codes seen in a specified
timeframe. When this threshold is reached, the Cisco ACE can
automatically remove a server from service.
Enhanced in-band server
health monitoring for
improved application
availability
HTTP return code parsing is invaluable in a scenario where it is
desirable to remove a server from service if, for example, a page
cannot be found (e.g. many HTTP 404 Not Found responses are
seen). In this case, traditional TCP-based HTTP server
availability probes would indicate the server is available and
responding, but would not provide information about whether or
the server is able to fulfill requests for content. HTTP return code
parsing is needed in this scenario to provide additional serverlevel information with which to determine server availability.
All contents are Copyright © 1992–2008 Cisco Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public Information.
Page 3 of 8
Product Bulletin
Available
Description
Benefit
New Protocol Support:
Session Initiation
Protocol (SIP)
SIP is a peer-to-peer protocol where end-devices (user agent)
initiate interactive communications such as Internet multimedia
conferences, Internet telephone calls, voice over IP, and
multimedia distribution sessions with SIP servers.
Intelligent switching,
scalability and high-availability
of SIP-based multimedia
applications
Cisco ACE supports SIP over TCP and UDP. Load-balancing
decision can be based on fields in the SIP header.
Session persistence is based on SIP Call ID.
Based on the keep-alive response from the SIP servers, ACE
can rotate the server in or out of service, and make reliable loadbalancing decisions for SIP-based media applications.
New Protocol Support:
Real-Time Streaming
Protocol (RTSP)
RTSP protocol is used for streaming audio and video for
applications such as Cisco IP/TV, RealAudio, and RealNetworks.
Cisco ACE supports RTSP over TCP.
The load-balancing decision can be based on RTSP URL(rtsp://)
or fields in the RTSP header.
Intelligent switching,
scalability and high-availability
of RTSP-based streaming
audio and video
Session Persistence is done using RTSP Session headers.
Based on the keep-alive response from application servers
running Cisco IP/TV, Real Audio or Real Networks, etc. the ACE
can place the servers in or out of service, and make reliable loadbalancing decisions of RTSP media applications.
New Protocol Support:
Remote Authentication
Dial-In User Service
(RADIUS).
RADIUS is an authentication and accounting protocol. Cisco ACE Intelligent switching ,
scalability and high-availability
is RADIUS protocol aware and provides ability to load balance
across many Radius servers
and persist based on specific RADIUS protocol information.
New Protocol Support:
Microsoft Remote
Desktop Protocol (RDP)
Microsoft RDP provides users with remote display and input
capabilities over network connections for Windows-based
applications running on a terminal server.
ACE supports RDP load balancing for Windows–based
applications running on terminal servers.
Intelligent switching ,
scalability and high-availability
across many Microsoft
terminal servers
Cisco ACE makes the load-balancing decision based on the
routing token in the RDP header.
Table 2.
Fast
Description
Benefit
UDP Booster
UDP booster feature is used for switching applications that
requires very high UDP connection rates, like DNS loadblancing.
To achieve such high rates, ACE uses statistical load-balancing
instead of traditional algorithmic load-balancing.
Boost performance of UDPbased applications like DNS
load balancing to millions of
requests per second.
ACE can provide very high scalability in terms of number of
clients serviced for applications requiring a single response per
request
Highly scalable UDP
applications that require a
single response per request.
UDP Fast Aging
With UDP Fast Aging ACE closes the UDP connection
immediately after the server responds to the client.
ACE load balances all new requests to new real servers in the
server farm according to the predictor algorithm.
All retransmitted UDP requests from clients go to the same real
server.
All contents are Copyright © 1992–2008 Cisco Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public Information.
Page 4 of 8
Product Bulletin
Fast
Description
Benefit
Session ID Stickiness
Stickiness or persistence is the mechanism that allows the same
client to maintain multiple simultaneous or subsequent
connections with the same real server for the duration of a
session.
Secure session persistence
over SSL
When customers visit an e-commerce site and start to add items
to their shopping carts, it is important that all the requests from a
client get directed to the same server so that all the items are
contained in one shopping cart on one server. An instance of a
customer's shopping cart is typically local to a particular Web
server and is not duplicated across multiple servers.
E-commerce applications are not the only types of applications
that require stickiness. Any web application that maintains client
information and state may require stickiness, such as banking
applications or online trading.
ACE can stick a client to an appropriate server based on Source
and/or destination IP address, Cookies, Hypertext Transfer
Protocol (HTTP) header and SSL Session ID.
Secure Socket Layer (SSL) ensures the secure transmission of
data between a client and a server.
The client and server use the SSL handshake protocol to
establish an SSL session between the two devices. A new
session ID is created every time the client and the SSL server go
through a complete negotiation of session parameters, unique to
each session.
ACE can stick a client to an appropriate server based on SSL
Session ID.
Session ID Reuse
Secure Socket Layer (SSL) ensures the secure transmission of
data between a client and a server.
Accelerate SSL client
connection setup.
The client and server use the SSL handshake protocol to
establish an SSL session between the two devices.
In a standard SSL handshake, a new session ID is created every
time the client and the SSL server go through a complete
negotiation of session parameters, unique to each session.
ACE can accelerate subsequent SSL session setups between
the client and the ACE by reusing SSL IDs stored in its session
cache from previously negotiated session parameters.
Client Authentication
In a standard SSL implementation a server authenticates itself to
clients by sending an
Permits only legitimate clients
to access servers
X509 certificate (digital identification for authentication).
However, there is no similar assurance that the client is who it
claims to be.
Client authentication feature on ACE, acting as an SSL server,
addresses this problem by requiring the client to provide X509
certificate.
ACE (server) verifies the following information on the certificate:
● A recognized CA issued the certificate.
● The valid period of the certificate is still in effect.
● The certificate signature is valid and not tampered.
● The CA has not revoked the certificate.
Table 3.
Secure
Description
Benefit
Rate Limiting
ACE software release 2.1 adds new rate limiting capabilities:
● Connection rate: The number of connections per second
received by the ACE destined to a real server
● Bandwidth rate: The number of bytes per second applied to
the network traffic exchanged between the ACE and a real
server, in both directions
Protects Server resources
Rate-limiting based traffic policing is supported at the per virtual
server level.
Rate- limiting based load-balancing is supported at the per
real/rserver level.
This features also provides feedback to load-balancing decision;
it takes real servers exceeding rate limits out of load-balancing
and puts them back into load-balancing when the rate is below
the limits.
The rate limit parameters can be applied to a set of real servers,
virtual servers or both.
All contents are Copyright © 1992–2008 Cisco Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public Information.
Page 5 of 8
Product Bulletin
Secure
Description
Benefit
Access Control List
(ACL) with Object
Groups
ACLs are used to restrict network access based on a set of filters Streamlines configuration of
multiple ACL entries.
defined as access-list entries (ACE). An ACL is applied to an
interface or globally to all interfaces.
ACLs are used to filter interesting traffic and instruct the ACE to
either permit or deny the traffic based on the criteria defined in
the filter.
The filters can be based on criteria such as source address,
destination address, protocol, protocol-specific parameters such
as ports (for TCP or UDP), etc.
ACLs permit/deny access from a client to a server for a specific
service. In large configurations there can be multiple
combinations of client, server and services resulting in large
number of ACL entries. Managing this large number of ACLs can
become very challenging.
Object-Grouping provides the capability to group client
addresses, server addresses and services together in a single
ACL entry.
TCP SYN Cookie—
Denial-of-Service (DoS)
Protection
A successful TCP three-way handshake (SYN, SYN-ACK, ACK)
is required for a client to connect to the server.
Occasionally the three-way handshake may not complete. Such
occurrences are normal if the frequency is low, however a high
volume of such occurrences could signal a hacker trying to
attack the server.
ACE protects itself and
servers in the applications
from DOS attacks
A TCP SYN cookie is an initial sequence number calculated by
the server to a SYN request from a client and inserted in the
SYN-ACK response.
A TCP SYN flood attack is characterized by large number of
SYN requests sent to a server from one or more clients with
source IP addresses that are invalid and unreachable, the goal
being to overwhelm the target server, consume its resources,
and cause it to deny service to legitimate connection requests.
SYN Cookie feature on ACE provides a mechanism to
authenticate a client thereby preventing SYN floods from a rogue
client.
Multimedia and Voice
over IP (VoIP): SIP, and
Skinny Client Control
Protocol (SCCP)
In addition to existing support for hardware-accelerated
application inspection for HTTP, FTP, DNS, ICMP and RTSP
protocols.
Database and OS
Services: Internet
Locator Services and
Lightweight Directory
Access Protocol
(ILS/LDAP)
Application protocol inspection helps verify the protocol behavior
and identify unwanted or malicious traffic attempting to pass
through the ACE.
Table 4.
Secures multimedia and VOIP
applications and services
ACE extends this capability to SIP, SCCP and ILS/LDAP.
Cisco Catalyst 6500 and Cisco 7600 Series System Requirements
Requirement
Details
Chassis
All Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series and Cisco 7600 Series chassis
Supervisor Engines
● Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series Supervisor Engine 720 and Supervisor Engine 720-10GE
● Cisco 7600 Series Supervisor Engine 720 and Route Switch Processor 720
Chassis OS
● Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series running Cisco IOS® Software Release 12.2(18)SXF4 or later for
Supervisor Engine 720, and 12.2(33)SXH or later for Supervisor Engine 720-10GE
● Cisco 7600 Series running Cisco IOS Software Release 12.2(18)SXF4 or later and
12.2(33)SRB or later for Supervisor Engine 720, and 12.2(33)SRC or later for Route Switch
Processor 720
Chassis Connectivity
Functions as a fabric-enabled line card
Chassis Slots Required
Occupies 1 slot in the chassis
Ordering Information
Table 5.
Ordering Information
Part Number
Product Description
WS-C6509E-ACE20-K9**
Cisco ACE20 6509 Bundle with 8 Gbps Throughput License
All contents are Copyright © 1992–2008 Cisco Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public Information.
Page 6 of 8
Product Bulletin
WS-C6504E-ACE20-K9**
Cisco ACE20 6504 Bundle with 4 Gbps Throughput License
WS-C6509-E-ACE-K9**
Cisco ACE10 6509 Bundle with 8 Gbps Throughput License
WS-C6504-E-ACE-K9**
Cisco ACE10 6504 Bundle with 4 Gbps Throughput License
ACE20-MOD-K9
Cisco ACE20 Service Module for Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series and Cisco 7600 Series: Includes
1000 SSL TPS and 5 Virtual Devices
ACE20-MOD-K9=
Cisco ACE20 Service Module for Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series and Cisco 7600 Series: Includes
1000 SSL TPS and 5 Virtual Devices (spare)
ACE10-6500-K9
Cisco ACE10 Service Module for Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series and Cisco 7600 Series, Includes
1000 SSL TPS and 5 Virtual Devices
ACE10-6500-K9=
Cisco ACE10 Service Module for Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series and Cisco 7600 Series, Includes
1000 SSL TPS and 5 Virtual Devices (spare)
ACE-16G-LIC
16Gbps Throughput License for Cisco ACE20
ACE-08G-LIC
8-Gbps Throughput License for Cisco ACE 10 and Cisco ACE20
ACE-04G-LIC
4-Gbps Throughput License for Cisco ACE10 and Cisco ACE20
ACE-UPG2-LIC=
Upgrade License from 8 Gbps to 16 Gbps for Cisco ACE20
ACE-UPG1-LIC=
Upgrade License from 4 Gbps to 8 Gbps for Cisco ACE10 and Cisco ACE20
ACE-SSL-15K-K9
15,000 SSL Transactions per Second License for Cisco ACE10 and Cisco ACE20
ACE-SSL-10K-K9
10,000 SSL Transactions per Second License for Cisco ACE10 and Cisco ACE20
ACE-SSL-05K-K9
5,000 SSL Transactions per Second License for Cisco ACE10 and Cisco ACE20
ACE-SSL-UP2-K9=
Upgrade license from 10,000 to 15,000 SSL Transactions per Second License for Cisco ACE10
and Cisco ACE20
ACE-SSL-UP1-K9=
Upgrade license from 5,000 to 10,000 SSL Transactions per Second License for Cisco ACE10
and Cisco ACE20
ACE-VIRT-250
250 Virtual Contexts License for Cisco ACE10 and Cisco ACE20
ACE-VIRT-100
100 Virtual Contexts License for Cisco ACE10 and Cisco ACE20
ACE-VIRT-050
50 Virtual Contexts License for Cisco ACE10 and Cisco ACE20
ACE-VIRT-020
20 Virtual Contexts License for Cisco ACE10 and Cisco ACE20
ACE-VIRT-UP3
Upgrade License from 100 to 250 Virtual Contexts for Cisco ACE10 and Cisco ACE20
ACE-VIRT-UP2
Upgrade License from 50 to 100 Virtual Contexts for Cisco ACE10 and Cisco ACE20
ACE-VIRT-UP1
Upgrade License from 20 to 50 Virtual Contexts for Cisco ACE10 and Cisco ACE20
** Cisco ACE Bundles do not include I/O modules so that customer can order I/O modules of their choice.
For More Information
For more information about the Cisco ACE, visit http://www.cisco.com/go/ace or contact your local
Cisco account representative.
All contents are Copyright © 1992–2008 Cisco Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public Information.
Page 7 of 8
Product Bulletin
Printed in USA
All contents are Copyright © 1992–2008 Cisco Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public Information.
C25-458841-00 03/08
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