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Cisco Networking: Service-Oriented Network Architecture (SONA)

The Service-Oriented Network Architecture (SONA) is one of the central models of Cisco network design and management. The SONA network architecture contains three basic layers:

  • Network infrastructure layer: Contains the enterprise network architecture, which includes switches, routers, communication links, and so on. This layer has redundancy built into it and contains network layer security to enforce business policies as needed.

  • Integrated service layer: Virtualizes services (or unties them from specific pieces of hardware) to allow them to be provided over a dispersed or centralized network environment. The following services are provided at this layer:

    • Identity: Authentication services for user or device credentials, which can play a role for network or application access.

    • Mobility: Allowing access to network resources from any location. This may rely on wireless technologies or a Virtual Private Network (VPN).

    • Storage: Storage of important network data and replication or duplication of that data, over the network, to remote locations for disaster recovery.

    • Computing or processing: Servers represent the main element of this component, while virtual servers allow for scaling and betting utilization of server processing power.

    • Security: Security for your business is crucial, and the security level makes use of security features at the network level, such as intrusion detection and prevention systems (IDS and IPS).

    • Voice and collaboration: Voice services now run over the main corporate data network, and have allowed for more options for users to communicate. These communication methods include the traditional telephone, but also include instant messaging and collaboration through websites, such as Microsoft’s SharePoint.

  • Application layer: Carries the responsibility for providing the applications that users rely on. These applications include the following product areas:

    • Customer relationship management (CRM): Communication with clients, as well as all of their pertinent data, can be found in CRM applications.

    • Enterprise resource planning (ERP): Business data for your organization is found in your ERP system. This is everything that would have been in a traditional accounting system, plus information on business processes and business logic, thereby allowing you to derive more planning and statistical information from the accounting system.

    • Procurement: Purchasing can sometimes be tracked as part of the overall corporate ERP system, or can be a standalone system to manage purchasing from the request for a quote through to the deployment of the purchased product to the end user.

    • Supply chain management (SCM): Procurement systems can purchase items, but SCM systems tell procurement what parts need to be purchased and when. In manufacturing and service organizations, good SCM systems will provide you with “just in time” inventory items right before you need those items.

    • Instant messaging (IM): Instant messaging has come into businesses who now expect to be able to instantly communicate within their network infrastructure. This assists in users on your network in their collaboration goals.

    • Unified messaging (UM): Unified messaging talks all of the forms in which users can communicate and ties them together, allowing for unique situations, such as where an e-mail can be relayed to office voicemail, and then forwarded to a cell phone as a text message. Unified messaging takes control and integrates all communication and messaging formats within an organization, either partially or completely.

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