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A New Bundle to Help Enable Secure Data Center Innovation

As the demand for next-generation data center services increases, organizations have embraced virtualization and cloud-computing technologies that require security architectures to be more dynamic, automated, and services-oriented. Most network security technologies have not kept pace, they are static and fail to protect against modern threats. Additionally, siloed security technologies are a networking and data center team’s worst nightmare—they often require that the network be “dumbed” or retrofitted to accommodate security approaches.

This is why Cisco has embraced security as part of an end-to-end architecture. Cisco builds in security functions as part of the network fabric to help ensure an automated and resilient infrastructure. Our latest Secure DC bundle pairs the industry-leading router (Nexus 7000) and firewall (ASA 5585) to provide the backbone for a dynamic network with which to accelerate the adoption of newer and more capable applications and services. Various mix-and-match configuration options make this bundle ideal for data centers or any size industry.  Read More »

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A Quantum Leap Forward for Policy

Cisco validates new performance benchmarks: linear scale-out to 250K transactions-per-second with 75M concurrent sessions

Earlier this week Cisco introduced a number of new mobile internet innovations to help service providers deliver new and more personalized connected experiences. The mobile Internet is predicted to grow 13-fold between 2012 and 2017 with the addition of billions of connections between people, devices and objects. It is essential that service providers monetize these connections more effectively. To that end, Cisco unveiled a closed-loop strategy to show operators how to leverage their network as a business model enabler.

The first step in the strategy is to help operators unlock the data in their network – their entire portfolio of network infrastructure holds valuable information, or “data in motion.” The second step is to take that data in motion, analyze it and correlate it to extract meaning and insight. Once you have all this insight, you’ve got to do something with it. The third step in the loop is to link that intelligence to policy and business rules which can program the network to do what operators want it to do: deliver value through personalized connected experiences.

eantc-logo-1561x250An exciting part of this strategy is Cisco® Quantum™, the result of more than $1.5 billion in recent acquisitions and in-house innovation. Cisco Quantum delivers unparalleled mobile network intelligence and programmability to service providers through a suite of software solutions. One of these solutions, the Cisco® Quantum™ Policy Suite, is of particular note because it recently set new industry benchmarks for scale and performance as validated by independent test agency lab EANTC (European Advanced Networking Test Center). Read More »

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Announcing This Year’s BtoB Social Media Marketing Awards Winners!

February 22, 2013 at 10:19 am PST

aEvery year, BtoB’s Social Media Marketing Awards are rewarded to companies that exhibit excellence with an innovative social media marketing campaign or initiative for a number of different award categories including Best Use of Twitter, Best Use of Facebook, Best Use of Mobile and more. A few days ago, BtoB revealed the lucky winners and runners-up of this year’s awards.

I’m proud to announce that Cisco Systems was honored with a few different winning titles. The Cisco Global Mobile Events  App and the Social Media Training & Certification Program won within the “Best Use of Mobile” and “Best Closed Community” categories, respectively, while the Cisco Systems Facebook page was deemed runner-up for “Best Use of Facebook.”

Congratulations to all winners who will be recognized and presented with awards during BtoB’s Digital Edge Live conference to be held in San Francisco, CA on March 20, 2013. In the meantime, you can check out the complete list of 2013 BtoB Social Media Marketing Award winners for each of the various categories.

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Cisco UCS – Quintessential Fabric-based computing – Part 1

In the last fiscal quarter Cisco UCS reached another milestone with 20,000 (87% Y/Y growth) customers. The (no longer) new data center paradigm of fabric based computing must be resulting in unique customer benefits, and hence the market traction. Gartner defines Fabric based computing as follows:

Fabric-based computing (FBC) is a modular form of computing in which a system can be aggregated from separate (or disaggregated) building-block modules connected over a fabric or switched backplane. Fabric-based infrastructure (FBI) differs from FBC by enabling existing technology elements to be grouped and packaged in a fabric-enabled environment, while the technology elements of an FBC solution will be designed solely around the fabric implementation model.

In this video Gartner analyst Donna Scott and Cisco CTO Paul Perez discuss the adoption of Fabric-based computing and the benefits that customers experience with it.

I will dive deeper into why customers experience benefits with the Cisco Unified Computing System.  So lets start with the term “Fabric”.   A Lippis report helps us understand the data center fabric.  In this tech target article by Michael Brandenburg we get some more background.

Excerpts:

Legacy three-tiered data center architecture was designed to service the heavy north-south traffic of client-server applications, while enabling network administrators to manage the flow of traffic.  Engineers adopted spanning tree protocol (STP) in these architectures to optimize the path from the client to server and allow for link redundancy. STP worked well to support client-server applications and its traffic flows, but proved inefficient for server-to-server or east-west communications associated with distributed application architecture.

…Server virtualization compounds the problem with spanning tree and the three-tiered architecture.

… data center fabric, a network where traffic from any port can reach any other node with as few latency-inducing hops as possible.

This is eye opening for those of us who live in the server and application world. Bottom line – the data center fabric will result in fewer hops and lower latency for servers communicating with each other in the data center.

So how is this achieved within the Cisco Unified Computing System? This is done with the Fabric Interconnect, which is the I/O hub and the very soul of the system. The Fabric interconnect consolidates three separate networks: LANs, SANs, and high-performance computing networks.   The Fabric Interconnect provides consolidated access to both SAN storage and network attached storage (NAS) over the fabric. This means the Cisco Unified Computing System servers can access storage over Ethernet, Fibre Channel, Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE), and iSCSI. It also lowers costs by reducing the number of network adapters, switches, and cables.

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The Cisco UCS Manager, which is the embedded device manger software in the Fabric Interconnect, gives users the ability to slice and dice this big chunk of physical network capacity of the system into much smaller subunits, with the ability to do it flexibly and to change the decisions with software configuration. With Cisco UCS, IT organizations can now deliver dynamic network infrastructure or network services across all types of applications—from applications like Oracle, SAP, three tier J2EEE, and Microsoft to virtualized applications from VMware, Microsoft, and Citrix.

In his blog John McCool ,Cisco SVP and CTO, defines Fabric as “… a highly available, high performance shared infrastructure built with integrated, intelligent compute, storage and network nodes that can be rapidly and simply organized around the requirements of a given workload.” In part 2 of this blog I will detail the automation and management of the fabric-based compute nodes (upto 160) connected to a single pair of UCS Fabric Interconnects.

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Addressing Security Challenges and Campus Safety

Schools are facing increasing security challenges, ranging from campus violence to thefts, from vandalism to natural disasters. Abductions, Shootings, Bullying, Thefts, Vandalism, Visitor Management, Bomb threats, Fire, Earthquakes, Local Community Emergencies.

According to the respondents to the Campus Safety Magazines 2013 yearbook & survey, here are some  top challenges for schools in 2013:

  • 43%  more than 2 in 5 campuses lack a visitor management system
  • 39% have a video system not integrated with other systems
  • 33% have radio systems that can’t interoperate with first responder from other jurisdictions
  • 25% or 1 in 4  campuses do not feel prepared to respond to active shooter incidents

Higher Education and school districts often have sufficient network infrastructures to support everything they need in terms of unified collaborative safety and security applications on the network including video surveillance, electronic access controls and incident management.

Read More »

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