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Partner Alert: Customers Put Relationships First

March 9, 2012 at 8:08 am PST

When it came time to build a 370,000-square-foot, 72-bed healthcare facility featuring state-of-the-art services, the Chickasaw Nation had a number of important decisions to make. Among those were how to deliver excellence in medicine, tranquility, and healing to Chickasaws and other Native Americans.

Also important, according to Chuck Dougherty, CIO for the Chickasaw Nation, was providing reliable, seamless, and secure communications across its healthcare community. But technology wasn’t at the center of his decision.

In the video below, Dougherty explains how selecting to work with Presidio—a Cisco Master Security and UC Specialized Partner based in Greenbelt, Maryland—was less about technology and more about relationship building.

So what can you learn from Presidio about its commitment to customers? Read More »

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Is Network Technology a Key Enabler for Smart Eco-City Development?

Earlier this week, the US-China Green Energy Council convened an impressive seminar on “Smart Eco-City Development Progress: Connecting People in Unique, Innovative and Regenerative Communities.”

Participants came to the discussion from many angles — infrastructure, engineering, architecture, urban design, planning, technology development, energy, to name just a few. That diversity of perspective certainly added a layer of richness to the debate, especially when skeptical voices worried about the longer-term  impacts of the global recession. Clearly, there was a lot of ground to discover in one short event.

Three panelists, including myself, shared our background, experience,  and views,  and  the floor was opened for what turned out to be a vigorous discussion. Our moderator was James T. Caldwell Ph.D., Director of UCGEC and the Chair of UCGEC’s Green Building and Ecocities Task Force. He also serves as a consultant to Heller Manus Architects, based in San Francisco, which is undertaking massive projects in China for their clients.

I laid out the story behind Cisco’s ‘Smart+Connected Communities’ initiative, which is improving the delivery of urban services while strengthening economic development in cities of varying sizes and types. I also explained some of S+CC’s current areas of focus, and presented some of the work now underway in Asia, Europe and North America. For more about IBSG’s perspective on this work be sure to take a look at the blog post, “Innovation in the 21st Century,” written by Nicola Villa, global director of IBSG’s Urban Innovations team.  And for a deeper dive, you may want to review Nic’s white paper, “Connecting Cities: Achieving Sustainability Through Innovation,” which he  co- authored with Shane Mitchell, IBSG Public Sector.

Joining me was Eric Lundquist, an architect, and Managing Director of Heller Manus Architects. Eric’s firm has clients with a total of 7,500 acres of development in California, Arizona, Texas, Florida, Russia, Mexico, and China, and he said that “we must recognize that each project has a unique geography, culture and its own strategic imperatives for sustainable, healthy and attractive communities.” Eric described “how diverse goals and ecological imperatives are integrated through architectural planning in partnership with key stakeholders.”

Ed Cazalet, Ph.D., and  President and CEO of TeMix, Inc., also weighed in. With  forty years of electric industry experience as a founder and CEO of several companies and as a Board member of the California ISO, Dr. Cazalet described TeMix’s “Smart Transactive Energy Services” as “useful for eco-city smart grids.”  He explained that his company’s technology will “optimally coordinate renewable energy production, storage, grid demand, and traffic among all components and players on the grid.” He included in his presentation a review of renewable energy micro-grids, including one proposed by OSISoft for Hainan Island in China.

As we wrapped up for the day, I found myself reflecting on the initial statement the organizers released about the seminar’s focus:  “The key to human survival and healthy fulfillment is strengthening economic, intellectual and social growth in ways that maintain healthy, resilient eco-systems (global, regional and local). Since all these variables change, we survive and thrive by designing, measuring, connecting and managing our built environments interactively. We adapt, innovate and change in full view of the unique and charming qualities of each city and ecosystem. In smart eco-city development, we connect its diverse natural environments, diverse communities and creative people with flexible, connected built environments. We interactively encourage, preserve and balance the special qualities and contributions of each city, species, community, individual and ecosystem. We cannot measure and manage every variable. This approach optimizes self-management, creative innovation and it minimizes unforeseen consequences.”

A spirited and robust conversation has begun; I look forward to its continuation.

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Open MPI v1.5 processor affinity options

March 9, 2012 at 5:00 am PST

Today we feature a deep-dive guest post from Ralph Castain, Senior Architecture in the Advanced R&D group at Greenplum, an EMC company.

Jeff is lazy this week, so he asked that I provide some notes on the process binding options available in the Open MPI (OMPI) v1.5 release series.

First, though, a caveat. The binding options in the v1.5 series are pretty much the same as in the prior v1.4 series. However, future releases (beginning with the v1.7 series) will have significantly different options providing a broader array of controls. I won’t address those here, but will do so in a later post.

Read More »

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Lifetime learning and how to get social

No one has to go it alone these days in learning social media as after all, social media is so social.  Especially as we get older, it’s often easier to pick up something new if we have some hand holding and inspiration.

Tim Ferriss, the famous author of “The 4-Hour Workweek”, just came out with a new book called “The 4-Hour Chef.”   His message in the book is how to use cooking to learn new skills.  He says once you learn cooking, apply that to inspire you to learn a new language, learn jujitsu.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerbeg sets out a personal challenge for himself every year. Last year, it was eating meat only from animals he personally killed.  The year before that, it was learning Chinese. This year, it’s great time management skills (now that he’ll be CEO). Read More »

Johns Manville Improves Operations with ACE Application Control Engine Modules

March 8, 2012 at 3:34 pm PST
ACE 30 Module

Cisco ACE 30 Module for Catalyst 6500 Series switch

Application performance and reliability are critical issues for data center applications. Cisco just recently released a case study on Denver-based Johns Manville, a leading manufacturer of quality building products and how Cisco helps maximize availability and performance of their SAP inventory control system.

Johns Manville relies on an SAP business system in its manufacturing plants and warehouses for inventory management. Plant floor employees, such as forklift drivers and shipping agents, continuously enter data into the inventory management system through an SAP portal as orders are entered, packed, and shipped, and as inventory is moved. Forklift vehicles are equipped with PCs and scanners that connect to the SAP portal through wireless connections. The SAP portal also provides access to the plant intranet and other applications.

Johns Manville deployed two Cisco ACE modules in its Cisco Catalyst® 6500 Series core switches to load-balance incoming SAP inventory control traffic to the least-busy servers. The module uses best-in-class application-switching algorithms and highly available system software and hardware to increase application availability. A single module can manage up to 16 Gbps of application traffic, and up to 64 Gbps with four modules in a single Catalyst 6500 Series switch chassis.  Read More »

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