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VOIP Upgrading…Doesn’t suck as I bad as I thought…

I used to not like the TV show; The Office. I could appear more cultured and say something like, “Oh the US version was not as good as the British version…” but who I’m I kidding! I grow up in a trailer park in the beautiful hills of Tennessee. So truthfully, I thought they both blew. That is…until I started working for a Micheal Scott-like manager…then I got it big time! I ordered the blue ray boxed set to serve as an in-service training video. (I don’t work for that goober anymore…maybe the Futhark rune I purchased online actually worked! Plus it wasn’t at Cisco…every Manager here is super mega awesome and works for; “The Greater Good…The Greater Good”…”

Major upgrades of anything just flat out friggen major league suck. I’m not talking patches or minor mod maintenance updates…while those can be a pain, they are critical to keeping our network stable and secure. No I’m talking about those UPGRADES that add more features and change functionality. Those suck and will always suck. We are adding a larger more complex code base on older hardware. There’s gonna be problems, end of story.

I learned this in my dumb years (insert your joke here) by putting a 427 Chevy motor in a Camaro built for a 350 was not a good idea. While it, “worked” it put too much stress on the supporting parts and stuff like shocks, coil spring, tie rods, drive shift, cooling system…etc. Then one day driving home late at night the tie rods said; “Dude…I just can’t take any more…” I would have heard that but with .38 Special jamming thru my Craig 8-track with Audiovox Tri-axial speakers then filtering thru plush and lush mullet of glory, I just felt the car spin out of control when a mail box, parked F150 with no tail gate, a gun rack and hood antlers then finally a fence introduced themselves to my insurance agent, that looked nothing like Flo.

In the end, an upgrade is really only as good as the support for behind it. I’m not gonna say; “Wow! I agree! Cisco Voice Team, you convinced me! Everyone upgrade to 9.1!!” That would be a fake and phony as an infomercial for spray on hair for baldness.  Here’s the thing, the fact that the Cisco Voice folks went back and took a serious look at their internal processes then owned up to the fact that they were cumbersome, complex and just flat out prohibitive on customers takes a lot of moxie in my opinion.

For example, actually funding Level III engineers to be on standby and bypassing normal TAC processes exclusively for 9.1 upgrades: Awesome! On the licensing team they switched from an automated process to a manual process. Now that sounds backwards right? Here’s the thing though, licensing is so important and can be a real pain in the butt, they want to ensure folks get the right license and don’t over buy or under buy, heck we all got kids in college. Very cool!!! The Voice team really planned for this so much, that other than going on site and doing the upgrade for you physically, I honestly do not know what more they could do to help make this as seamless as possible. This is like Cray Research level support on a XC30. White glove daddy-o!

Now to be honest I was not too pleased with the video story. Adding more hardware is not a good thing to solve a problem to me, so I’m gonna dig my heels in a little bit. Mo’ hardware…Mo’ problems… After thinking about it, I like it and here’s why. It plays into my design philosophy of NOT being tied to a vendor. I know I work for Cisco and honestly we make some good stuff for “The Greater Good” (anyone else pumped to see Pegg-Frost team up again for World’s End?).  I’m an Engineer first and foremost. I recommend the best solutions per customer need. If we added some “video tunneling” feature thingy to an ASA then we would lock customers into a firewall position (or having to upgrade a firewall ALSO to take advantage of the 9.1 upgrade…) AND add more workload on an already busy bottleneck in the network. Having two Expressway products gives the Network Engineer more design options, the customer more flexibility and balances the load out to be more localized to specialized hardware. It also avoids involving the security team to manage video sessions, stats and troubleshooting. Hey security teams are great but speaking as a Sec-Team member, we can be like dealing with a group of Lawyers over a bill. Avoid if possible.

My hat’s off to the Voice folks. They really should be proud of their planning and processes they have accomplished. They really did a fantastic job getting ready to get the world to upgrade their CUCM’s to 9.1. Trust me; I do not endorse products lightly. I know that one day; I could be the engineer out supporting that product. Based on everything I tested, witnessed and the commitments from this team, I would absolutely recommend that CUCM folks take advantage of these resources and strongly consider an upgrade if it fits in your planning and budget.

Although, Laura’s goal about making me a “Voice Dude”…yeah that didn’t happen. One thing that did happen was I really developed a huge amount of respect for this team. Check out the TechWiseTV episode 132; “Unified Communications; I’m I Missing Something?” To see some good stuff on CUCM 9.1. Gotta run folks, Robb is calling my event in Flonggerton….

Jimmy Ray Purser

Trivia File Transfer Protocol

Jen Taylor, who has voiced Princess Peach and Toad in several Mario games is also Halo’s female lead, Cortana.

Don’t Forget! Register for Webinar: 802.11ac in Higher Education

Curious about how to use 802.11ac in Higher Education and other high density wireless environments?

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Tomorrow, July 24, we are hosting another 802.11ac webinar, this one focused on Higher Education. We will feature Mark Denny, Cisco Product Manager from the Enterprise Mobility Group, who will provide an overview of 802.11ac, discuss the benefits of 802.11ac and provide a summary of Cisco’s 802.11ac Solutions. We will then have Greg Sawyer, the Manager of Communication Services at the University of New South Wales in Sydney Australia, discuss his experience with 802.11ac, the reason why he is deploying 802.11ac and the benefits he expects from this emerging technology.

The webinar is tomorrow, Wednesday, July 24th @ 3PM PDT. Here is the registration link. If you miss it, we will have it available on demand here shortly after. Also, if you missed last week’s 802.11ac Webinar for Healthcare, it is available in the dropdown on demand here.

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Girl Scouts Wowed by Cisco Technology

Members of my Global Delivery Center (GDC) Public Sector Team at Cisco’s campus in North Carolina recently spent an evening with more than 60 Girl Scouts, who all have a passion in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics).

Girl Scouts, North Carolina Coastal Pines (GS-NCCP) serves girls and adults in 41 counties in central and eastern North Carolina. Through this program, girls develop leadership skills while learning the important of personal responsibility, the value of goal setting, the spirit of teamwork, and the thrill of accomplishment.

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The girls visited Cisco on July 18, when 15 Cisco employees and college interns gave them a tour of Cisco’s lab, TelePresence technology, and Security Operations. The Public Sector team led the TelePresence portion of the night, during which Cisco’s TelePresence technology was shown off to the girls with an exciting game of charades and Pictionary.

RTP_GS_2At the end of the game, we shared with the girls how the TelePresence technology is used during our day-to-day lives at Cisco. They were amazed to hear that we were able to meet with people in other states and countries all over the world with such ease.

Cisco’s Chief Technology and Strategy Officer, Padmasree Warrior, recently wrote “Girls at a young age must have something that sparks their interest in technology or science.” As the Girl Scouts entered the conference room to see another group of Girl Scouts in another building on three large screens, they shouted out beyond disbelief, “Oh! They can hear us?” By the end of the night, with quotes like “I want one of these at my house!” it was easy to see that Cisco definitely sparked every Girl Scouts’ interest in technology.

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Cisco Bolsters Security Strategy with Agreement to Acquire Sourcefire

Today’s threat landscape is more dynamic than ever before. Rapid changes in the world around us, driven by cloud, mobility and the Internet of Everything, are considerably affecting traditional security approaches. The notion of the “perimeter” no longer exists and threats are able to circumvent traditional, disparate security products.

The marketplace needs a pervasive, continuous security architecture that addresses each phase of the attack lifecycle. Today, we are excited to announce the acquisition of Sourcefire (NASDAQ: FIRE), which directly supports Cisco’s strategy to constantly defend, discover and remediate threats – with the ultimate goal of covering our customers before, during and after an attack.

Sourcefire, based in Columbia, MD, is a leader in intelligent cybersecurity solutions. Sourcefire delivers effective, highly automated security through continuous threat research, detection and protection across its portfolio of next-generation intrusion prevention systems (IPS), next-generation firewall, and advanced malware protection solutions.

Sourcefire couples its technology with automated, real-time visibility across the extended network that includes virtual, mobile and endpoints. These solutions work not only at a point-in-time, but also provide continuous threat protection and retrospective remediation across the network.

Having led security innovation for more than 12 years, Sourcefire has assembled a world-class team with deep security DNA that will help drive Cisco’s execution of its security strategy. Sourcefire was founded by Marty Roesch, who pioneered their success through open source, creating a community of security technologists working together to build an industry leading intrusion prevention system. Sourcefire also is home to the Vulnerability Research Team, a group of elite security experts who work around the clock to proactively discover, assess, and respond to the latest trends in hacking activities, intrusion attempts, malware and vulnerabilities.

Sourcefire’s open source model is expected to strengthen and accelerate Cisco’s ability to build a strong ecosystem of security partners who can bring real time threat intelligence and innovations to customers through integration with our technologies and platforms.

Security is a critical component to Cisco’s overall strategy to be the No. 1 IT company.  Earlier this year, we acquired Cognitive Security, a security software company that applies artificial intelligence techniques to detect advanced cyber threats. Cognitive Security and Sourcefire are expected to help Cisco achieve our goal as we offer more best-in-class security services; more intelligence sources for continuous protection; and an open platform to enable a threat-aware network.

We believe that Cisco and Sourcefire customers will benefit from the combination of world-class products and technologies to provide continuous and pervasive advanced threat protection across the entire attack continuum and from any device to any cloud.

I am delighted to welcome the entire Sourcefire team to the Cisco family, and look forward to a prosperous future together.

In closing, I would simply like to remind you that this blog contains forward-looking statements which are subject to risks and uncertainties, including the risk factors discussed in Cisco’s most recent reports on Form 10-K and Form 10-Q filed with the SEC on September 12, 2012 and May 21, 2013, respectively, and in the press release announcing this transaction.  Such risks could cause actual results to differ from those contained in the forward-looking statements.  For further information, please consult such Form 10-K, Form 10-Q, and Cisco’s Form 8-K covering such press release, each available free of charge at the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov or by going to Cisco’s Investor Relations website at http://www.cisco.com/go/investors.

 

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Short message latency and NUMA effects

July 23, 2013 at 5:00 am PST

I’ve previously written a bunch about the effects of location, Location, LOCATION! on MPI applications.

Here’s another subtle NUMA effect that a well-tuned MPI implementation can hide from you: intelligently distributing traffic between multiple network interfaces.

Yeah, yeah, most MPI implementations have had so-called “multi-rail” support for a long time (i.e., using multiple network interfaces for MPI traffic).  But there’s more to it than that.

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