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Now Available On-Demand, The Cisco Virtual Forum for Education Leaders

March 25, 2013 at 8:22 am PST

Edu-Virtual-Forum 540x420 Cisco Now v3The Cisco Virtual Forum for Education Leaders, 2013 opened on March 19th to rave reviews by attendees from schools, colleges and universities from around the world. Here's a sample of their feedback:

  • “Thanks to all the Cisco folks who put this together. It was informative, exciting and motivational!!!”
  • “Thank you so much for providing this virtual forum. What a GREAT way to share ideas and resources!”
  • “It was a pleasure speaking with everyone and hearing the marvelous presenters! Thank you Cisco!!!”
  • “Very informative. Good presenters. Fun and engaging.”
  • “I think you covered all the topics on technology and learning well.”
  • “I loved the “classroom of the future” presentation, is it available to share with other educators in my district?”

If you missed the opening day of the Virtual Forum, you're in luck. All the sessions and content are now available on-demand. Registration is free!

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“Your call is important but we’re not in right now – leave a message…”

This is the fifth in a series of blogs comparing and contrasting the Microsoft and Cisco approaches to providing enterprise collaboration in the post-PC world. The first blog discussed the differences between a purpose-built architecture and a desktop-centric approach that needs third party extensions to make a working enterprise-class system. The second blog discussed how the two companies are approaching the trend towards “Bring your own device” (BYOD) to work. The third  blog discussed how the two companies deliver voice and video. The fourth blog examined true cost to deploy. Today’s blog addresses enterprise class support.

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These days, workers at enterprise organizations depend on real-time collaboration solutions to get their jobs done.  The solutions need to work 24/7, and if something goes wrong, it’s imperative things get fixed fast. In a world where customers view 100% uptime as the only acceptable Service Level Agreement (SLA), solid customer support means everything. While we could all live without email for a day or two, few businesses could function without working telephones for that long, or would trust ‘crossed-fingers’ while the CEO meets with an important customer over a video link.

At Cisco, we feel that support for business critical solutions should not become a guessing game of “who you gonna call”.  In fact, we think the right way to handle support is to offer the option of ‘”one-stop” responsibility for the entire system -- from the software to the endpoints, switches, gateways, security and compute hardware, and other technologies as required.

After all, given the vast array of offerings today from a multitude of vendors, the chances are slim that the wide range of components used in collaboration will all have the same management interfaces, diagnostic, and testing routines to determine where an issue lies when a problem arises. We also know that even if you are able to track down the root cause of the problem, some third parties may have very limited specialist support staff and escalating issues can be incredibly challenging. We prefer that our customers spend their time driving their business, versus spending countless hours trying to resolve problems where finger pointing is the name of the game.

As my colleague Rowan Trollope blogged recently, we feel Microsoft’s approach is very different. First off, a Microsoft Lync enterprise deployment requires Read More »

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Cisco Announces Intent to Acquire SolveDirect

The network is emerging as the central nervous system for business in today’s hyper-connected world. As a result, it will be expected that people, things and sources of data are all connected and communicating with each other in real time. Today, I am pleased to announce Cisco’s intent to acquire SolveDirect, a privately held company headquartered in Vienna, Austria that provides innovative, cloud-delivered services management integration software and services.

The move towards multi-sourcing and cloud services is accelerating the development of large ecosystems of companies – from enterprise IT and manufacturing, to SaaS providers – that need to share data in a secure and scalable way. Most of the interactions between these service partners today require manual effort, growing cost and complexity for an organization as their number of service partners grows. SolveDirect’s cloud-based solutions offer enterprises and service providers a flexible way to integrate with service partners, and automate sharing of processes, data, and workflows in real-time by eliminating manual practices and bottlenecks, driving significant operational efficiencies. SolveDirect’s capabilities will enable Cisco to extend our portfolio of smart and connected IT services to our global ecosystem of customers, partners and resellers.

Acquisitions and investments are a key part of Cisco’s build, buy and partner innovation strategy. The SolveDirect acquisition aligns to Cisco’s goal of developing and delivering innovative solutions that streamline data and workflows across a unified network. The SolveDirect team will join the Cisco Services team, under the leadership of Mala Anand, senior vice president, Cisco Services Platforms Group. Under the terms of the agreement, Cisco will acquire all shares of SolveDirect. The acquisition is subject to various standard closing conditions and is expected to be complete in the fourth quarter of Cisco's fiscal year 2013.

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Social media login no longer required for comments

March 25, 2013 at 5:00 am PST

A number of you complained when blogs.cisco.com switched to requiring a social medial login to leave comments.

It turns out that you were not alone.

Industry-wide, it seems that many people do not want to associate their personal Facebook/Twitter/etc. logins with work-related social media (i.e., this effect was seen at more than just Cisco).  The social media gurus here at Cisco have therefore dropped the social media login requirement in order to leave comments on Cisco blogs.

You can now leave blog comments in the same way you used to -- just provide your name and email address.

Yay!

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Real world ROI results with UCS servers – a detailed study at Loughborough University

March 25, 2013 at 4:35 am PST

I recently worked with Loughborough University on a financial impact study of their initial deployment of Cisco UCS. The study documents their findings of a dramatic improvement in IT efficiency, bearing out the advantages that attracted them to the UCS solution. Loughborough’s Customer Case Study has been revised with the results of this TCO study as well new details on the next stage of their deployment of Cisco Virtual Experience Infrastructure (VXI) Smart Solution.

We examined Loughborough’s projected growth rates and compared the continuation of their previous rack server environment against a UCS solution combined with an expansion of their virtualized environment. Server consolidation and reduced administrator workload contributed to exceptional results: a total savings of US$878,789 (40% OpEx and 60% CapEx) with a 225% ROI and 22% IRR. Compared to the previous environment, Loughborough’s UCS deployment will drive down cost in several key areas over the coming five years:

  • server hardware – 38%
  • switching infrastructure and cabling – 80%
  • power and cooling – 49%
  • new server provisioning – 79%
  • virtualization software – 39%

“When we compared the legacy server and network with one based on Cisco UCS, TCO effectively halves over a five-year investment lifecycle.”

Dr. Phil Richards, Director of IT, Loughborough University.

As a result of Cisco’s Unified Fabric approach, the study shows that Loughborough will need only six switches (three redundant pairs) to support their end state vs. 30 in their legacy environment and a corresponding reduction in cables from 646 to just 44.

These results are typical to what other customers achieve when they switch to UCS. See my first blog post, Yes, Cisco UCS servers are that good.

Would you like to learn more about how Cisco UCS can help you? There are more than 250 published datacenter case studies on Cisco.com. Additionally, there is a TCO/ROI tool that will allow you to compare your existing environment to a new UCS Solution. For a more in-depth TCO/ROI analysis, contact your Cisco partner.

Loughborough University TCO Study Waterfall

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