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VCE: Converging on a better data center

Cisco’s Unified Data Center strategy is rooted in the idea that customers shouldn’t be put in the position of DIY technology integration.  It’s just an unfair ask given everything that IT and LOB leaders contend with above and beyond the infrastructure.   As technology has evolved, the component parts of the data center are decreasingly the source of complexity.   It’s the connections between them, creating that sum of the parts that can actually run applications, that’s the hardest part.   Eliminating this complexity has been Cisco’s guiding star in the data center, building systems that help customers focus on what matters most to them:  applications and IT services, not infrastructure.

VCE, Cisco’s joint venture with EMC, VMware and Intel, is a critical expression of this vision for fabric based infrastructure and converged solutions.  Today marks a major milestone for VCE with the broadest solutions announcement since the launch of Vblock Systems, which has become widely recognized as the gold standard of converged infrastructure.

These new offerings extend the proven value of Vblock: converged, pre-engineered infrastructure that slashes deployment time and ongoing management burden, into a new set of market segments and key workloads.

The team at VCE have done a great job detailing this out; I see the key components being brought forward today as:

  • Taking Vblock Systems to new customer segments and use cases:  System 200 is designed for mid-size data centers and service provider-managed customer premise (CPE) scenarios.  System 100 extends to remote office/branch office environments.  Combining these new Vblocks with applications like  Microsoft Exchange & Sharepoint, VDI, and Cisco Unified Commuications will continue the push to eliminate DIY solution assembly for customers.
  • VCE Specialized Systems: a series of systems optimized for key workloads, starting with SAP HANA.  Certification for Vblock here is an exciting new opportunity for customers to quickly adopt this hot new analytic technology
  • VCE Vision Intelligent Operations which brings intelligent discovery and single lens management to VBlock Systems.  This takes a similar API driven approach found at the core of UCS to enable orchestration of the converged system.   This is a critical component for cloud builders.

VCE’s launch is a major milestone in their evolution, but the way each Vblock system is built, maintained and supported remains constant and predictable. Customers can continue to rely on the same comprehensive physical and logical build done in the factory, single point support and the IT agility and economic benefits these create.

Customers have spoken and this is being reflected in the results, with 1,000 Vblock Systems shipped, demand on a billion dollar run rate and recognition as the market leader in converged systems.

Congratulations to the VCE team as they continue to make it easier for customers to concentrate on the business and not on the infrastructure!

vblockvideo

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Cisco and Singlewire Bring New Paging Capabilities to Cisco Unified Communications Manager

February 21, 2013 at 9:02 am PST

Cisco is pleased to announce that with the release of Cisco Unified Communications Manager (CUCM) 9.1, we will include new paging functionality with all new CUCM orders.  This paging functionality will be provided by one of our long-standing development partners, Singlewire Software (formerly Berbee) and will help enhance the paging/notification capabilities available within CUCM.  We have received a number of requests for basic paging functionality and this offering allows our partner/customer base to meet customer paging requirements in an easy to deploy way.  Details are outlined in Singlewire's press release, which can be found here.

Singlewire has enjoyed a successful partnership with Cisco in the past and has more than 4,000 CUCM customers running InformaCast today in 50 countries.  We believe this tightly integrated model greatly strengthens Cisco’s Enterprise and Mid Market Unified Communications offerings. This complete bundled offering allows Cisco partners to close deals in verticals where Advanced Notification is required: for example, industries such as education, manufacturing, hospitality, or transit.  Partners can leverage these new paging and notification features to change the sales conversation, using the most comprehensive notification solution to meet customer needs with a single vendor/product solution for voice and emergency notification.

The advanced features provide great sales conversation starters to set your Cisco UC system apart from your competitors. Included with this are features like:

  • Pre-recorded/scheduled broadcasts, such as school bells or shift changes
  • Notification to Jabber IM users
  • Triggered notifications- M2M input/output (This includes notifications and alerts for panic buttons, door locks, and lights to name a few.)
  • Integration to existing overhead paging systems and IP Speakers
  • 911/emergency call monitoring, alerting and recording

With this announcement, we are able to offer the basic paging aspects of Singlewire’s well-known InformaCast offering at no cost to our CUCM customers. Read More »

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Lynn Wins Big with Cisco Technology – Successfully Hosts Presidential Debate

February 21, 2013 at 8:49 am PST

Lynn University is a 50-year old private, coeducational institution located in Boca Raton, Florida.  So how was this fairly small and quiet school selected to host the final 2012 presidential debate?  It’s booming with technological innovation.

The school has long held the belief that student collaboration and sharing of knowledge is vital to the learning process, but realized with time, they need to increase student support through technology.  To move to a 1-to-1 program entailed giving each student an iPad and overhauling its network environment. In late 2011, as this transformation was underway, Lynn discovered that they would also soon be the youngest school to ever host a presidential debate.

This meant the school had less than a year to undergo a complete technical refresh, so Lynn turned to Cisco for help. University CIO Chris Boniforti summed up his decision to select Cisco by saying “All of our diverse technical requirements, for both the debate and the university, could be done under one umbrella, with one vendor, and that was Cisco.”

This umbrella of technology included Cisco wireless solutions, Cisco Unified Computing System and Cisco security, voice and IP communications. Cisco joined forces with longtime partner Modcomp to deliver a solution the university could use well beyond the presidential debate.  The result:  A successful implementation that resulted in a “technically smooth” debate.

It’s important to note this project didn’t shut down once the debate was over.  Today, the school is committed to providing a mobile platform for its entire faculty and students by the time the newest crop of freshmen arrive in fall later this year.  The addition of the new business school will include lecture capture and resources-sharing tools, including video.  Now embedded in the teaching environment, this benefit would not have been possible without Lynn’s new Cisco network.

I’m personally impressed with the university’s commitment to technology.  They are a great example for other small schools looking for cost-effective innovation. What do you think?  Is your school ready for this kind of transformation?

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SoftBank Breaks the Backhaul Bottleneck

As shown in the most recent Cisco Visual Networking Index, Japan is one of the fastest growing countries when it comes to mobile data traffic.

Like many service providers, SoftBank, one of Japan’s leading mobile operators, has wrestled with how to manage this vast amount of traffic in an efficient and effective manner.

To address the challenge, SoftBank recently Read More »

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Cisco and VMware Teaming-Up to Accelerate VDI Uptake in 2013 – Join us at VMware Partner Exchange to Find Out More

Are you a Cisco/VMware partner going to VMware Partner Exchange (PEX)?  In Vegas!  Next week!  If so, and you’re focused on growing your VDI practice, there’s some great content for you to take in while there.  Before I get into PEX, let me remind you about our on-going blog series, "VDI -  The Questions You Didn't Ask (But Really Should)".  We're up to Question 4 (coming soon), and if you're looking for some great insights into the mystique of processor selection and impact on VDI performance/density/etc, this is the series for you!  Now onto PEX...

Improving the ROI of VDI within small and medium-sized organizations

Next week, we’ll be updating our VMware partner community on new solutions that offer an accelerated path to growing their VDI practice, especially for smaller deployments, as found in small and medium sized businesses (or pilot / proof-of-concept environments), where the up-front CAPEX hurdle is often too much of a barrier to make VDI cost effective.

New Ecosystem Solutions Portfolio

In tandem with VMware, we’ll be announcing a new portfolio of solutions built with ecosystem partners helping to deliver better VDI price-to-performance ratios, greater operational simplicity, and uncompromised user experience, built on Cisco UCS with VMware Horizon View.

Delivering the Tools to Make Our Channel Partners Successful in 2013

Next week we have good news for Cisco/VMware channel partners who want to grow their VDI practice, and deliver unprecedented value for their customers.  Join us at PEX to learn about how Cisco and VMware are accelerating our partners’ path to success in 2013

So Are You Ready for PEX?  Here are some key activities you don’t want to miss:

Cisco Partner Bootcamp (#SPO2400)

Monday, February 25, 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.

The Cisco Boot Camp is dedicated to educating and enabling partners to sell and deploy Cisco solutions successfully. Here’s the best part J VDI is up first at 8:30am!  I’m pretty sure we’ll have food and non-alcoholic beverages (c’mon you’re in Vegas, I really don’t think that will pose a problem) to make it worth your while.  You will:

  • Expand your technical depth and understanding of key Cisco solutions for VDI, Cloud, Branch/Remote-Office IT, Unified Management and more
  • Gain insights to identify your customer needs effectively and acquire new ones
  • Find out how to expand business by cross-selling Cisco solutions and services
  • Network with other partners, Cisco experts, and executives
  • Come away with go-to-market selling strategies that enable you to accelerate your business

Cisco's Breakout Session (#SPO2421): Cisco Unified Data Center - From Server to Network
Wednesday, February 27, 12:30-1:30 p.m.
Presenter: Satinder Sethi, VP, Server Product Management and Data Center Solutions, Cisco

Attend the Cisco breakout to understand why today's data center architecture must support a highly mobile workforce, proliferation of devices, and data-driven business models and be capable of transparently incorporating cloud applications and services. Satinder Sethi will present these diverse requirements and discuss how the Cisco Unified Data Center platform addresses these challenges.

You will learn about the Cisco Unified Data Center architecture, which combines compute, storage, network, and management into a platform designed to automate IT as a service across physical and virtual environments, resulting in increased budget efficiency, more agile business responsiveness, and simplified IT operations.

Demo’s!  Stop By Booth #1015

Eight solid demos await you at our PEX booth this year, including VDI with VMware Horizon View and our UCS Storage Accelerator (using Fusion-io), Unified Computing System (UCS), Cisco Office in a Box with UCS-Express, Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud, Cisco Cloupia, and Cisco Nexus 1000v to name a few.  Experts on hand will answer any/all questions!

It will be a busy week – mark your calendars with the activities above, and see you there!

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