Cisco Stirs Up AXP Interest With Dev Contest

Cisco Systems announced on Tuesday the extension of its Application Extension Platform (AXP) as well as a contest for developers to provide new applications.

The Cisco AXP is an open, Linux-based hardware module for the Cisco Integrated Services Router. Its Linux-based integration environment comes with a downloadable software development kit (SDK).

Cisco also announced two new AXP solution partners. Tiani-Spirit has developed AXP imaging formats for the healthcare industry to replace proprietary imaging formats for patient diagnosis and treatment. Global Protocols has developed Skipware on AXP for optimized satellite wireless communications.

Tuesday’s announcement follows Cisco’s introduction in April of the AXP. It’s enabled Cisco to open its Integrated Services Router (ISR) and Cisco Wide Area Application Services (WAAS) platforms to customers and third-party application developers. AXP enhances the capabilities of the Cisco ISR by enabling a tighter integration between the branch network, IT and application infrastructure.

The Cisco AXP provides an open platform to develop and host custom and third party applications directly on the Cisco ISR. The use of ISR, WAAS and Cisco’s AXP forms the basis of Cisco’s concept of Network as a Platform.

Contest Announced

Cisco also announced its Think Inside the Box Developer Contest. The open invitation to all software developers over the age of 18 encourages proposals for applications on the Cisco Application Extension Platform (AXP).

Cisco will award a first prize (US$50,000), a second prize ($30,000) and a third prize ($20,000) to innovators or teams of innovators for the most creative and compelling entries. Developers have 90 days to submit their AXP applications.

Details can be found here. The contest will end in eight months.

Boxed In

“We wanted to bring together a tie-in with the network administrator and the router. This is the first time we are opening up a global contest. We wanted to reach out to universities worldwide for the top engineering talent there,” Shashi Kiran, senior manager for Cisco Systems, told LinuxInsider.

Thinking inside the box takes the idea for creativity that occurs “outside” the box and focuses on creativity within the router, he explained.

New Developments

Cisco also introduced the new Cisco AXP Network Module 502, which provides additional performance for the 2800 and 3800 Series ISRs. The units cost $4,500.

In addition, Cisco released its new AXP-VM Developer Version, which allows developers to build applications easily using VMware. The apps can then be run on Cisco AXP modules.

Another use for the AXP was developed by The Cardiovascular Group in Virginia.

The problem The Cardiovascular Group faced was how to overcome delaysin faxing from 250 employees at nine locations, which generated between3,000 and 6,000 faxes per month.

It deployed Sagem-Interstar’s XMediusFAX FoIP (fax over Internet protocol) solution on the Cisco AXP for increased employee productivity. The application satisfies regulatory requirements for a robust, fast and reliable HIPAA-compliant healthcare communication solution, said Kiran.

The Cisco AXP-based XMediusFAX server reduced by 50 percent the time it took to process medical records with secure digitized faxes that meet HIPAA standards.

What AXP Does

Since moving ahead on the concept of the Network as a Platform six monthsago, Cisco is now attempting to grow the AXP.

“We want to further eliminate the pain point and help IT consolidate network performance,” said Kiran.

The Cisco AXP offers tighter integration between the network and business applications to help branch office customers achieve greater business efficiencies and innovation, he explained.

The Cisco AXP is delivered via network modules and Advanced Integration Modules (AIMs) on the Cisco ISR. Multiple applications can be supported on a single AXP module concurrently, optimizing the footprint in branch offices.

“The big benefit of this is for the coders. We can access the API (application programming interface) inside the router and can extract more information than was previously possible. The AXP platform emulates the API model to allow me to write code as needed to develop applications,” Jimmy Ray Purser, an engineer for TechWiseTV and the contest’s cohost, told LinuxInsider.

For example, this process allows him to design applications his way on his laptop because he has the API with him, he explained.

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