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The Mobile Business Case for IPv6

This week is the industry’s leading IPv6 event, the World IPv6 Congress in Paris, France. Cisco Fellow Mark Townsley delivered the keynote again, this time with a theme around the “Mobile Business Case for IPv6”. What’s exciting is that in the mere 18 months since the World IPv6 Launch we’re already seeing significant adoption of the larger scale address protocol. Mark in fact specifically cites how Verizon Wireless is already sending 30% of its traffic to search engine giant Google over IPv6. Other wireless operators are going straight to IPv6 for 4G and LTE deployments as well. Read More »

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Cisco TelePresence TX9000 Wins Prestigious Design Award

On the one-year anniTX9000 iF awardversary of its debut, the Cisco TelePresence TX9000 Series has been awarded the prestigious iF (International Forum) award for outstanding design, the same award that has been given to design stalwarts like Sony and BMW. With a brand new industrial design, the TX9000 was brought to market as the new benchmark for immersive telepresense, offering the state-of-the-art telepresence experience and high-intensity collaboration. The TX9000 has resonated well with our customers both in form and function, so we are even more pleased to learn that it has also been validated by one of the industry’s leading authorities on design.

The key design philosophy behind the TX9000 is its humanizing technology – in other words, to make this three-screen immersive telepresence system so natural, comfortable and easy to use that it just fades into the background to let the human interactions take center stage. Rounded corners, fluid lines, integrated facial lighting, intuitive touch screen user interface and ideal camera/screen placement make the TX9000 both pleasing to the eye and touch, while high-definition video and spatial audio creates an “in-person” experience that’s as close to being there as you can get. What this enables is a strong connection between people – for high-intensity collaboration — rather than a connection of technologies. By putting people at the center of our collaboration solutions we humanize every interaction and by delivering a consistent user experience across the entire Cisco TelePresence portfolio — from the software client to our three-screen immersive system — we make it easier for our users.

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Cisco Management to Make Your Data Center More Efficient

There is a lot of buzz in the market about Cisco Cloupia and how it is
positioned relative to other Cisco solutions such as Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud.   The term cloud is often used interchangeably for automated infrastructure provisioning as well as for true clouds, as mentioned in my previous blog.  To better understand where these solutions should play in your data center’s cloud journey, I offer the following explanation.

Historically, to keep pace with the growth of business applications and the data they generate, IT infrastructure resources were deployed in a silo-like configuration.   One set of resources was devoted to one particular computer technology, business application or line of business.    These resources were not always optimized and could not be reconfigured or shared to support varying workloads. Read More »

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Delivering the Madness: remember to thank your servers and the network

March 21, 2013 at 10:35 am PST

March Madness is here and in full effect.  If you’re reading this post you probably aren’t paying close enough attention to the results pouring in from the round of 64.   Today and tomorrow will make or break your bracket!  Take appropriate action.  As soon as I hit “publish” on this post I promise you that I will.

We have some fun things going on here during the tournament.  If you’re watching the games you may see some UCS ads (yes, server ads from Cisco on TV…believe it!)   We teamed up with CDW and Charles Barkley to celebrate the soothing hum of the data center in this spot, and there are a couple more that touch on Cisco Data Center more broadly.

Barkley

These ads come on the heels of a big push we’re making at Cisco to spread the good word about Unified Computing.  We have print and digital ads running across the big tech pubs that talk about the very real application performance and IT operations benefits the UCS brings.

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March (Network) Madness: an IT Manager’s Nightmare…or Slam Dunk?

In the U.S., the “March Madness” NCAA college basketball tournament is one of the most highly viewed online sporting events of the year, with 52 million visits across March Madness on Demand’s broadband and mobile platforms last year.  Even for casual viewers or non-fans who typically don’t pay attention to college basketball the rest of the season, March is the time of year when the eyes of the U.S. sporting world are fixed on the 64 team tournament. Will the Indiana Hoosiers win (as President Obama predicts) or will the Kentucky Wildcats go for their 9th National Championship win?

According to a study conducted by global outplacement firm, Challenger, Gray & Christmas, it is estimated that nearly one-third of all U.S. employees spend three hours or more watching March Madness hoops during the workday – you might even be one of them. Complete your brackets in time? Did you bet a few bucks toward the office pool? Ready to root for your favorite underdog team? Or trash talk with your friends on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter?

The only problem is, your IT department might not be ready to handle the increased traffic. Welcome to March (Network) Madness.

With 32 games taking place over a 36-hour period, the first two days of the NCAA tournament are the busiest. And with all but eight games starting before 5:00 p.m. Pacific time, expect quite a few office workers streaming games through the corporate network. Regardless of the size of your company, this can be taxing on the network.

According to Brian Christiansen, head of Cisco’s IT networking services team, on a typical day, Cisco sees 35% of network traffic as video and 25% of traffic as outbound to the Internet. However, during the first two days of March Madness, that number is expected to spike exponentially by as much at five times, as employees will be watching games, checking brackets and sharing commentary on social sites.

This continues an upward trend in the growth of video on the network. According to the Cisco Visual Networking Index, or VNI Study, by 2017, mobile video will represent 66 percent of all mobile traffic, and global mobile traffic will reach 11.2 exabytes per month.

Kip Compton, Cisco CTO of video and collaboration, was interviewed by Dan Simon of CNN and equated this problem to the roads during a traffic jam following a sporting event. “The road is built to carry a certain number of cars, but (because of March Madness video streaming) there may be more cars than the roads are designed to handle.” Compton goes on to describe how work is likely to be disrupted by people watching video of March Madness, causing network slowdowns, but “at Cisco, we allow people to do these things, and they’re accountable for their productivity, but we allow them to access these types of content.”

This CNN interview can be viewed (yes, via streaming video) here.

Also in the news, Brian Christiansen was interviewed by Sean Michael Kerner of Internetnews.com.  In this article, Christiansen addresses the cultural impact of Milennials and the expectations they have when it comes to use of technology and mobile devices in the workplace. “We have a competitive environment for talent in Silicon Valley and we need to support the millennials,” Christensen said. “I view it as critical that we allow the flexibility for people to watch and work…The new generation workforce is not watching things on TV anymore, they are watching streaming video on tablets and other devices. You should expect that will continue to grow.” Kerner continues, “Aside for the workday related impact that March Madness has, there is also the physical impact on the network. Christensen expects that March Madness will increase his network bandwidth demand by as much as 3x over a typical workday.”

Sean Michael Kerner’s interview of Christiansen, “Is Your Network Ready for March Madness?” can be read here.

It’s no secret that IT departments are already feeling the strain on their networks caused by the influx of employee devices, used to access both work applications and entertainment such as the NCAA tournament. Network management from an IT perspective becomes increasingly important, and proactive education and messaging around large consumer trends is key to avoiding problems. Cisco’s Sheila Jordan recently offered a few tips on how to address this device deluge from a network management in the face of the BYOD trend.

When you take into account the expectations of Millennial employees, who expect to have access to HD video streaming (as reported by the 2013 Cisco Connected World Technology Report), you have even greater network complexity due to HD video that wasn’t there a few years ago. Fortunately, according to Christiansen, workers can still be effective if employers create the right policies and environment and give employees the tools they need in order to work productively, even with “distractions.”

Fortunately there are new technologies – embedded at the network level – that can add inherent intelligence to address traffic spikes without the network going down, here are a few recommendations:

1)      Insure you have visibility to your network traffic to set appropriate policies to optimize your environment. Leverage Cisco technologies such as Cisco Application Visibility and Control (AVC) and Cisco Prime Infrastructure to know what applications are using your bandwidth and set policies that are appropriate to your organization.

2)      Protect your users from Internet-based security threats that can be as simple as clicking a URL on a social media site or an advertisement that re-directs users to another site that can hold malware. Ensure you use web security solutions, including either on-premise with Cisco Web Security Appliance and in the cloud with Cisco Cloud Web Security.

3)      Distribute your enterprise Internet Points of Presence (iPoPs) closer to your end users to optimize their Internet experience. As you distribute your iPoPs, use Cisco solutions as part of our Cloud Connected Solutions to easily provide local direct access to the Internet with ability to add security and application optimization solutions.

4)      Leverage burstable circuits for your Internet access, in that way you can insure your Network operators can enjoy March Madness and not March “Network” Madness.