Awesome Technologies Logo

Awesome Technologies Inc, 740 Rowlee Road, Fulton, N.Y. 13069 

office (315) 491-9629
fax (315) 297-4040
toll-free (877) 411-6905

The Cisco CSS / CSM:

(Content Services Switch / Module)

What is it!?!?

The simple description is this... Picture that you have a data center in NYC, NY.  In this data center resides 3 web servers that are sporadically overloaded with customer (internal or external) traffic.  They frequently lockup or outright go down... Normally, this means, buy another web server, at a huge cost and try to get some of your users / customers to migrate to the new web server.  Let me say...  Good Luck With That.  If you were to really investigate the situation, 99% of the time you would find that 2 of your 3 web servers are actually under utilized and your 3rd is being beat to death with traffic and requests!

The answer is the Cisco CSS, Cisco CSM (if you have an existing C6509 switch), or the new Cisco ACE product line.  The Cisco load balancing solution, using these products works simply by binding all three (3) web servers to a single IP address.  Meaning that they share the customer load across all 3 servers.  Thus making sure that all resources are utilized to their full potential.  We have found that instead of buying a new server, after this type of implementation, the customer actually could remove one of the 3 servers for use as a cold spare.  Talk about cost savings and value to the business bottom line!

And Cisco says this, "The Cisco CSS 11500, 11501, 11504, 11506 Series Content Services Switch is a market-leading compact platform, delivering the richest Layer 4 to 7 Application Delivery services in the data center.

The Cisco CSS 11500, with the award-winning Cisco Web Network Services (WebNS) Software, is specifically designed to provide robust application delivery (Layer 4 to 7) services for Internet and intranet data centers in six key areas:

• It introduces an intelligent, distributed architecture to help organizations meet the real-world scaling requirements of today's application infrastructure.

• It improves application and site availability and transaction integrity by introducing Adaptive Session Redundancy (ASR), an industry standard in stateful failover.

• It delivers the greatest flexibility of any content switch in its class for customizing combinations of ports, performance, and services.

• It scales secured application transaction performance through support of an integrated, high-capacity Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) module. Off-loading SSL onto the network improves the overall performance of the web and application server enabling better application performance.

• It provides an integrated high-capacity web application (Hypertext Transfer Protocol, HTTP) compression module. Web application (HTTP) compression improves application response time by 20 to 50%, off-load the compression from the server, which reduces server workload, and decreases the traffic traversing wide area networks (WANs), which reduces bandwidth requirements and improves overall application response times; improving productivity.

• The Cisco CSS modular design protects investments by enabling upgrades of performance, ports, and services to meet your current and future application demands."

Why a Cisco CSS / CSM Load-balancer?  With or without SSL Offloading...

The Cisco CSS 11500 Series Content Services Switch enables businesses to simultaneously reduce costs by optimizing, scaling and securing data center, network, and application resources, which improves productivity of those resources, therefore offering a superior experience for customers, business partners, and employees. Through content fast switching and forwarding, the Cisco CSS 11500, 11501, 11504, 11506 Series improves utilization, responsiveness, availability, scalability, and security of Websites, server farms, cache clusters, firewall systems and many others application infrastructure components.

Can I configure this myself or do I need help?

The answer again, is yes and no, of course. No new technology is simple and we recommend an expert to at least bounce your design off of, to validate your implementation and save costly implementation project changes and design errors.

When you create a load−balancing configuration, the two most important CSS−specific configuration elements to understand are content rules and services.

Content rules are where the CSS's load−balancing features are customized, virtual IP address are defined, and where the actual servers (called services) are bound to that virtual IP address. Content rules allow you to specify load−balancing types, sticky methods, port specific Virtual IP addresses, and a host of other features.

Once a request hits a circuit VLAN on the CSS, that request is interrogated against all its content rules for a match. Once a match has been made between particular elements of the request and a content rule, the CSS load balances that request to all the services bound to that content rule. Each content rule must be configured under an owner.

Services are the actual individual servers that the CSS load balances. Services are configured individually and can be customized with a variety of keep-alive types, Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP) by default. A group of services can also be referred to as a 'server farm.'

Call us to discuss your most complex needs... We are the experts in this field and are referred by Cisco themselves to implement these devices because of the lack of expertise in the industry!!! 

Email us at for a free consultation or call 315-491-9629 to speak to a qualified salesperson.

Award winning customer support that quickly can add value to your businesses bottom line...

Unheard of for 90% of corporate Americas Information Technology Departments.  Call to discuss how!