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Cisco Live UK 2012 – Industrial Strength Solutions for Manufacturing, CPG,Transportation and Energy

As many of you know Cisco Live UK will soon be held at the end of this month – that’s from January 30th through Feb 3rd in London. Cisco Live is actually Cisco’s flagship event of the year for customers and partners and offers an unparalleled combination of education and training on the latest technologies and industry trends.

This year, we’re going to have a major presence with our very own Cisco Industrial Solutions Booth. Targeted at manufacturers in industries like Automotive, Food & Beverage and Consumer Packaged Goods,  as well as organizations in Transportation, Oil and Gas, and utilities like Water and Waste Water Treatment, the booth will showcase our capabilities in industrial networking, wireless networks, collaboration and more.

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Importance of the Network in Cloud Computing

On several recent occasions, in discussions with my customers, colleagues and industry peers, the importance of the network, as it relates to Cloud Computing and Data Centers, has been challenged. I am surprised that such a topic is even up for debate ! In my opinion, the underlying network infrastructure of any given Data Center is the architectural foundation for service and application strategy; be it Cloud Computing, Virtual Desktops, Video or even Hosting services.

If we look at a broader scale, no one can argue the complexity and at the same time, the intelligence the modern Internet brings to it’s consumers. How would enterprises and service providers alike, offer converged services like voice, video and data without any network intelligence ? Not to mention, security, application scaling and other managed services. Networks are no longer the traditional packet switching platforms, it’s the heart and soul of intelligence which integrates with other intelligent applications to differentiate the multitude of services that can be enabled over a common medium. As application requirements are increasingly becoming complex, the need for equally smarter transport is critical.

Virtualization is bringing a whole new perspective to this discussion. It’s true you can account for network, compute and storage virtualization within a given solution; virtual switch, virtual machine, virtual firewall, virtual load-balancer, etc.; but how far can we abstract the network ? One can absolutely argue, Cloud Computing is server/compute resource centric, however for most enterprises, when you combine this compute structure with application workload requirements from business, technology and operations perspectives, suddenly the foundation architecture plays a crucial role – i.e. the network and it’s interconnects.

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In Between the Numbers: Bring Your Own Device Do we know what that means?

I was at a technology conference in London late last year, and the topic was mobility – and, inevitably, BYOD: bring your own device.

The mobility evangelists (and they dominated the four-person panel) waxed poetic as to all the fabulous things that iPhone- and Android-armed employees could bring to the business. Rich content! Social networking! Collaboration! Meeting each other for lunch!

Then a grouchy American analyst walked to the podium, and growled two words: “Data Security.”

And silence fell like a thick blanket over the room.

BYOD is one of technology’s topics du jour, an issue that will create a few tons of PowerPoint and a fresh revenue line for consulting firms in the next 18-24 months.

Cynicism aside, it’s a very important issue – and not just for ICT shops. And, it’s an issue that will be easily misunderstood.

Yes, BYOD is about data security. Yes, there’s a need for hard and high corporate security walls. Clearly-stated rules. And devout attention to PCI.

But beyond that, let’s pause and reflect.

BYOD is not about the devices. The devices will continue to evolve at Moore’s Law speed, and the stuff the kids are bringing into the office today will be obsolete by the time your new policies reach the governance committee.

Truth be told, BYOD is about the big tech-driven generational change in expectations and behavior. It’s about the new normal of life with the Internet. Life in the Internet.

It’s about Millennials who use technology like I use a knife and fork. It’s about a tsunami wave flooding every phase of business life – from the headquarters office to the distribution center to the store.

And this tsunami will not just touch devices. It will drive change in the cloud content that employees will use. It will drive change in their willingness to sit in cubes (versus do the work at home or at Starbucks or wherever there’s a fast wireless pipe). It will drive change in their expectations for interaction and participation, for education and training.

It will even touch the glowing third rail of data security. (As this is the generation of Wiki-Leaks and unbridled transparency on Facebook.)

Agree? Disagree?

 Let me know what you think.

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Trouble in the Studio, Part 2

More trouble

Recently, Peter Granger discovered that making viral videos for Cisco Live UK isn’t always easy.  Unfortunately, Andrew has discovered this as well. While everyone at Cisco always conducts themselves with the utmost professionalism, sometimes, things don’t always go according to plan:

Cisco Live UK is only 2 weeks away and we invite you to join us Jan 30-Feb 3rd in London for our flagship technical training, networking and education event. Read More »

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Cooling a High-Density Compute Environment

Cisco’s data center in Allen, Texas (DC2), was designed to make best use of the high-density Cisco Unified Computing System and Nexus switches. Cisco’s business requirement for high-density computing, supporting up to five Unified Computing System chassis per rack, essentially quadrupled the per-rack power requirements at Texas DC2 compared to target load requirements at our other data centers.
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