Wednesday, August 15, 2012

WAAS Post Number Two! WAAS Express

Hi Guys!

Hopefully in my last blog post, plus my video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wHOw1E8Npmo) has convinced you that WAAS is great!

So you want to try WAAS yourself! But you don't have the WAE Appliances or the virtual image? You have two great options

1. If in Australia, Get in touch with me and I might be able to help!
2. Cisco WAAS Express

Cisco WAAS Express is a software based WAAS that you can enable on any 19XX, 29XX or 39XX series router!

There are some caveats that we will talk about, but for a quick and easy way to try out WAAS you can't look much further!

OK first of all let's talk about what you need.

You need the following Mandatory:
  •  A Cisco 19XX/29XX or 39XX at each end of a connection, with a recent IOS on it, check the feature navigator for exact version requirements.

The following is optional:

  • To support the best number of connections, you need as much RAM in your router as you can fit, if this is not possible, don't worry you can still run WAAS Express
  • A Cisco WAAS Central Manager would be nice too, but assuming your doing this for the first time, it really is not actually required
  • Let's say you have WAAS deployed at some locations in your network, you can have WAAS Express work with your WAE and this will give you the best possible performance, but again is not absolutely mandatory.
Ok! So now your ready to try out WAAS express, go to your router and find your WAN facing interface then issue this configuration:

testWAASEXPRESS(config)#int gi0/2
testWAASEXPRESS(config-if)#waas enable









you will be asked to accept a license, because this is a trial license, but afterwards you should see this message in your logs/console:

Aug 15 10:29:40.597: %WAAS-6-WAAS_ENABLED: WAAS is enabled on interface GigabitEthernet0/2


If you do this on both ends of the link.. WAAS express is enabled! Congratulations!

Is it really that easy? damn right it is, here is how to verify:

testWAASEXPRESS#show waas status

IOS Version: 15.1(4)M4
WAAS Express Version: 1.1.0

WAAS Enabled Interface        Policy Map                             
GigabitEthernet0/2            waas_global                            

WAAS Feature License
    License Type:                           Evaluation
    Evaluation total period:                8  weeks 4  days
    Evaluation period left:                 7  weeks 3  days

DRE Status                        : Enabled
LZ Status                         : Enabled + Entropy

Maximum Flows                     : 10Total Active connections          : 0
Total optimized connections       : 0

As you can see, WAAS is enabled and ready to go, you will notice i have highlighted a few sections, the WAAS enable command turns on the WAAS Temporary license for 8 weeks and 4 days. When your super happy with your WAAS express, all you need to do is purchase a permanent license and install it on the device.

I also highlighted another very important section, the maximum flows section, which on this platform is 10, this means that when WAAS express is enabled on this router, only 10 of the connections made through this router will be accelerated, the rest will simply be treated like normal (so it does NOT restrict you to only 10 flows through the router as a whole, just 10 connections ACCELERATED!)

The reason for this is this router has not been equipped with the maximum amount of memory as you increase the memory in the router, the maximum number of flows will increase. Here is a top gear top tip: Order the WAAS Express bundle when ordering your routers as the Memory is significantly cheaper that way rather than adding the memory in after!

Ok so now how do i actually prove this works? Easy Guys!

make a conenction between two hosts that will actually use TCP and will flow between each of the routers, then issue this command:

testWAASEXPRESS#show waas connection             
ConnID     Source IP:Port         Dest IP:Port           PeerID            Accel 

17         10.240.19.70   :1107   10.240.19.5    :445    442b.03d6.f270    TLD   
16         10.240.19.70   :1106   10.240.19.5    :524    0000.0000.0000    PROG  
19         10.240.19.70   :1109   10.240.19.5    :524    0000.0000.0000    PROG   



You can see that it is being accelerated!

Now, at this point it is worth mentioning that having two WAAS express routers connected and not a proper WAE appliance on at least one end does not offer all the three tech's used to make WAAS so good (That is, DRE LZ and TFO), infact only LZ and TFO are offered as per this very helpful Q&A for Cisco WAAS Express:

 
Q. Can I use another Cisco WAAS Express router as a headend?
A. No. A router enabled for Cisco WAAS Express cannot be used as a headend. However, two routers using Cisco WAAS Express can forward optimized traffic to each other. Traffic between two routers will be optimized using only TFO and Lempel-Ziv-Stac (LZS) compression.
 
Let's get a bit more detail shall we, and also see what a diffirence it makes:


Two WAAS Express Routers:

testWAASEXPRESS#show waas connection detailed

connection  ID:                         83
Peer Id:                                442b.03d6.f270
Connection Type:                        External
Start Time:                             10:58:30 UTC Aug 15 2012
Source IP Address:                      10.240.19.70
Source Port Number:                     1205
Destination IP Address:                 10.240.19.5
Destination Port Number:                59748
Application Name:                       waas-default
Classifier Name:                        waas-default
Peer Policy:                            TFO, LZ, DRE
Configured Policy:                      TFO, LZ, DRE
Negotiated Policy:                      TFO, LZ, DRE
Accelerators:                           TFO ONLY
Bytes Read Orig:                        0                  
Bytes Written Orig:                     1865693            
Bytes Read Opt:                         847612             
Bytes Written Opt:                      29325              
Auto-discovery information:
    Orig-St                             E
    Term-St                             EO
TFO information:
    TFO Frames Read:                    762                
    TFO Frames Written:                 0                  
LZ section
    Encode stats
        Bytes in                      0                  
        Bytes out                     0                  
        Bypass bytes                  0                  
        Compression gain              0%
        Avg Latency in Cef            0 usec    
        Avg Latency in Proc           0 usec    

    Decode stats
        Bytes in                      358911             
        Bytes out                     1387697            
        Bypass bytes                  481081             
        Compression gain              74%        Avg Latency in Cef            24 usec    
        Avg Latency in Proc           75 usec    
DRE section
    Encode stats
        Bytes in                      0                  
        Bytes out                     0                  
        Bypass bytes                  0                  
        Compression gain              0%
        Avg latency                   0 usec    

    Decode stats
        Bytes in                      0                  
        Bytes out                     0                  
        Bypass bytes                  1865693            
        Compression gain              0%        Avg latency                   147 usec    
Connection Status:
    WAN-LAN Status:                    
        Pending Data Read  : 0
        Last read notification (105) received 1136 ms ago
        Last write attempted 1136 ms ago
        Last window notification received 5536 ms ago
        Last attempted len : 4992
        Last error         : 0
        Last bytes accepted: 4992
    LAN-WAN Status:                    
        Pending Data Read  : 0
        Last read notification (0) received 612125932 ms ago
        Last write attempted 1136 ms ago
        Last window notification received 1304 ms ago
        Last attempted len : 51
        Last error         : 0
        Last bytes accepted: 51

 You can see from the above that WAAS express has not had any gains from DRE because DRE is not enabled (Compression gain under the DRE Section) but LZ has done it's bit (LZ Compression section)

Here is what the same troubleshooting command looks like with a proper WAE appliance at one end, and a WAAS express at the other:

 

testWAASEXPRESS#show waas connection detailed

connection  ID:                         97
Peer Id:                                5057.a865.7e41
Connection Type:                        External
Start Time:                             11:14:12 UTC Aug 15 2012
Source IP Address:                      10.240.19.70
Source Port Number:                     1240
Destination IP Address:                 10.240.19.5
Destination Port Number:                61023
Application Name:                       waas-default
Classifier Name:                        waas-default
Peer Policy:                            TFO, LZ, DRE
Configured Policy:                      TFO, LZ, DRE
Negotiated Policy:                      TFO, LZ, DRE
Accelerators:                           TFO ONLY
Bytes Read Orig:                        0                 
Bytes Written Orig:                     4816896           
Bytes Read Opt:                         159715            
Bytes Written Opt:                      4231              
Auto-discovery information:
    Orig-St                             E
    Term-St                             EO
TFO information:
    TFO Frames Read:                    78                
    TFO Frames Written:                 0                 
LZ section

    Encode stats
        Bytes in                      0                 
        Bytes out                     0                 
        Bypass bytes                  0                 
        Compression gain              0%
        Avg Latency in Cef            0 usec   
        Avg Latency in Proc           0 usec   

    Decode stats
        Bytes in                      22055             
        Bytes out                     21886             
        Bypass bytes                  136880            
        Compression gain              0%
        Avg Latency in Cef            1 usec   
        Avg Latency in Proc           2 usec   
DRE section
    Encode stats
        Bytes in                      0                 
        Bytes out                     0                 
        Bypass bytes                  0                 
        Compression gain              0%
        Avg latency                   0 usec   

    Decode stats
        Bytes in                      94138             
        Bytes out                     4816896           
        Bypass bytes                  0                 
        Compression gain              98%        Avg latency                   2222 usec   
Connection Status:
    WAN-LAN Status:                   
        Pending Data Read  : 0
        WAN frame completion pending (64628)
        Last read notification (1248) received 0 ms ago
        Last write attempted 16 ms ago
        Last window notification received 16 ms ago
        Last attempted len : 716
        Last error         : 0
        Last bytes accepted: 716
    LAN-WAN Status:                   
        Pending Data Read  : 0
        Last read notification (0) received 613053168 ms ago
        Last write attempted 24 ms ago
        Last window notification received 612 ms ago
        Last attempted len : 51
        Last error         : 0
        Last bytes accepted: 51
testWAASEXPRESS#



 As you can see from the highlighted section, much more of an improvement!


So my advice to anyone wanting to try WAAS express out is: go ahead and enable WAAS express between two routers if that is all you have, but it is only 10 percent of what WAAS can do for you, to really see the benefit you need a WAE appliance at one end, don't forget there IS a virtual WAAS engine available! So speak to Cisco or contact me (if within Australia) and I may be able to organise a demo through the company I work for.

If you would like to learn more about WAAS, Please check out the following great book on the topic:


IMPORTANT NOTE: the views in this blog post, and all past, present and future blog posts do NOT in any way reflect the opinions of my employer.


 I hope this helps someone out there!

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