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Towards A More Participatory Culture: Enterprise Q&A (Part 1)

In October of 2011, AIIM (the Association for Information & Imaging Management, a non-profit research, community and educational association), published a survey-based report that examined social business and Enterprise 2.0 (E2.0) trends. I had the good fortune to hear about the results first-hand when I co-presented with AIIM’s President, John Mancini, on a social networking panel at the Gilbane Conference held in Boston last November. John summarized the work and results of the study. One of the more interesting data points and trending analysis I found intriguing was a growing interest in a class of social application AIIM refers to as “Enterprise Q&A”.  Historically, when people ask what the common application use case scenarios are for E2.0, the most frequently cited examples have been: expertise location, online communities, and ideation (innovation).

Why the growing interest in Q&A applications? Perhaps because it’s a pain point all of us – from front-line worker to senior executive – can relate to in our everyday work experience. All of us can recall situations when we’ve had a question about something and have not been able to find an answer through the information and contacts at our disposal. We ask our colleagues. We send out e-mails. We might try discussion forums, knowledge-base applications, and of course – search engines.

“The question acts as a ‘social object’ that can mobilize networks, enable people to take on informal social roles, and help create social capital between participants in these answer networks.”

However, even if we are fortunate enough to find the content, the information may not be presented in a fashion that addresses our need. Sometimes the “question” is not easily resolved by locating content. Often, what people are asking for (indirectly) when they pose a question is to have a conversation with someone to “make sense” out of that issue (in addition to the content if it’s relevant). Read More »

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Free Free Free Cisco UCS Development Free Free Free

January 26, 2012 at 8:09 pm PST

The other day I was “making” breakfast for my daughter, as I poured the cereal from the box I noticed that the “toy” was the box. The box had a game board printed on it and you had to cut it out along with the game pieces and the die. The game instructions were printed inside the box, so I ended up with a whole bunch of cardboard snippets and the game.  She was so excited to play the game, so we played the game, it was an arduous journey but I stuck it out because that’s the kind of dad I am. When we finished playing, my daughter with her eight years of life experience remarked, “You just don’t get anything good for free anymore!”

Anymore?!! How many reference points could she have in her eight years?  Myself, being a little older, I have some more experience with “free”, and sadly I have to agree with her that the free you get today is not as good as the free you used to get, to the point where seeing the word free no longer excites me.

Well I have found some exceptions to that rule. As a developer for a couple decades now I have used many development tools and environments. Along the way either I or my employer had to pay for those tools, but now almost every development product I use is free and not cheesy cereal box game free but full featured with community support and add-ons to extend the capabilities of the product.  That’s the kind of free to get excited about.

Why get excited?  Well take for instance the Cisco UCS Manager; it has an XML API that is communicated with via XML documents in an HTTP post. Every tool I use to write applications that interface with the UCS Manager is free. That’s great you say, but you still need a UCS Manager and to get that you need a UCS Fabric Interconnect and you need chassis, blades, adaptors, memory, disks, etc. and you start to think things like “the UCS we just ordered isn’t here yet” or “the UCS systems we have are all production and we can’t test our scripts against them.”

Don’t despair because Cisco has released a UCS Emulator for the 1.4 and 2.0 versions of the UCS Manager firmware.  The UCS Platform Emulator (UCSPE) has significant capabilities to enable UCS Manager development, things like hardware configuration importing from a live system, exporting of a configuration and the ability to build an emulated UCS system like the one you just ordered. In addition to the emulation capabilities the UCSPE also includes the UCS Object Model documentation, example scripts, Visore (the object browser) and more. Don’t know what the Object Model is or concerned you need more information on the XML API, check out these docs.
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The Cisco SAP Business Warehouse Appliance is Here

Cisco IASBU has recently launched an update to their  In-Memory appliance offerings.  Cisco IASBU has certified  additional Cisco UCS based systems that now support an entry level SAP BWA appliance with SSDs for storage.  In addition, in order to broaden even more coverage, a 12 and 16  blade configuration for SAP BWA that uses NetApp storage.  However, what is really driving buzz is the inclusion of the Cisco Intelligent Automation (IA) for In-Memory as part of all the BWA offerings.   The same core technology  that drives the Cisco IA Cloud orchestration solution. This new automation content supports SAP BWA for Wave 2 customers  (non-traditional SAP  customers), SAP BusinessObjects (BOBJ)  and will serve as a foundation for SAP HANA 1.0 automation content.

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Celebrating a milestone: 10,000 UCS customers worldwide

This week we are celebrating a milestone by announcing that 10,000 customers worldwide have deployed our new Unified Computing System. In just over two years UCS has captured the attention of data center managers and CIOs alike, despite skepticism from industry observers that a new computing technology could take hold in this highly competitive market.

According to a recent Servers and Virtualization Study by TheInfoPro,™ Cisco took the lead among server vendors in vision, technical innovation, product performance, and sales force.

Many have asked “how did UCS become successful so rapidly?” The answer lies with our customers: they selected UCS because the architecture drove a transformation of their data centers, while delivering advantages for their business and lowering IT costs. And we see a growing number of these customers, including half the fortune 500 companies, using UCS as the foundational building block to move towards private and hybrid clouds.

Bottom Line
We hear from our customers on a daily basis that UCS is transforming their IT practice and significantly contributing to their business. Thanks to all our UCS customers– may you continue to grow your businesses in 2012!

Here’s a small sampling of the passionate testimonies we receive:

Steven Senecal, manager of Global Server Engineering for Travelport
“Although we were successfully meeting customer needs, the infrastructure needed to be much more scalable and resilient to handle the demand expected to occur in the next few years. For example, the Cisco Unified Computing System service profiles are a benefit to data center IT managers, allowing us to create and store a unique identity for every blade. Our team can query this information for asset management and it enables us to truly rip and replace a blade in minutes if necessary.”
Travelport, a global leader in transaction processing for the travel industry supporting transaction services in 160 countries and over 60,000 travel agencies, deployed UCS to increase business agility, scalability and efficiency for its primary data center.

Dan Hein, director, Global Shared Services, Columbia Sportswear
“The integration of compute, network, and storage into a single stack is transforming the way we, as IT professionals, view these environments.” We anticipate a significant reduction in the overhead required to manage the Vblock platform environment, because we’ve taken three separate disciplines and combined them into one. Because Vblock is preconfigured and pretested by VCE, we can move forward with our SAP deployment quickly and with confidence that the infrastructure will deliver the robust performance and availability we need out of the gate.”
Columbia Sportswear, a global leader in the manufacture and wholesaling of sports apparel and outdoor clothing with offices in 45 countries worldwide, selected VCE Vblock Infrastructure Platforms to support a new deployment of SAP to run its most critical business applications, including financial, product development, manufacturing, and shipping.

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Cloud, MPLS-TP Key Topics at Upcoming MPLS World Congress

As the industry leader in MPLS and Carrier Ethernet, Cisco will have a strong presence at MPLS and Ethernet World Congress in Paris, France from February 7-10, 2012.

With the spotlight in the industry around cloud services, this year’s conference will focus on how MPLS as a technology can help enable and deliver cloud Read More »

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