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Follow-up Q&A on ACI Methodology and the Pursuit of an Application-Aware Architecture

November 15, 2013 at 7:00 am PST

We’ve been getting a lot of great questions about ACI since our launch as people try and better understand the value of an application-oriented approach. I got the following questions on my blog post about the Application Virtual Switch that probed on some of the thinking behind an application-aware architecture, and why now was the right time to release it (after all, John Chambers called it the most disruptive Cisco innovation in a decade!). Anyway, on to the Q&A:

I’d like to know more about the path that Cisco pursued to evolve towards an “application aware” architecture. This back-story (how Cisco arrived at this juncture) would be very helpful to industry analysts, customers and institutional investors. Here’s some of the key questions on my mind.

- What were the primary roadblocks that inhibited the adoption of this innovative approach in the past?

I would say that the Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) was a combination of a Eureka! moment, that people just never thought of it before, and that it was also an insightful evolution from early SDN technology. So, it might be fair to say that SDN had to come along, and then we realized, here might be a better way to program the network (with an application-oriented model, rather than a network-centric model).

That might be another way of saying that the lack of SDN as a precursor to ACI was a roadblock. But I think of it as networks were just built on hardware that were optimized to pass packets and other very specific tasks. And the limitations of historical networking protocols and traditional network designs, coupled with very limited ways in which you could manage a network and tell it what to do, all served as roadblocks to implementing anything like ACI. So the roadblocks that had to be cleared included the ability to program switches through software interfaces, and to centrally manage the software applications or controllers to orchestrate the broader network, not an individual device. Those are some of the things SDN brought along.

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If Time is Money, Then it’s Time to Rethink BYOD

Ken Trombetta Cisco blog - 10 31 13When Benjamin Franklin coined the famous phrase, “time is money,” I am sure the advances of mobile technology were not on his mind. However, the adage is more relevant now than ever before as organizations evaluate their mobility and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) strategies.

BYOD is Here to Stay

Earlier this year we announced the results of the Cisco IBSG BYOD Financial Impact study. The global research revealed interesting statistics about the financial impact of BYOD including:

  • Mobile users are willing to invest in BYOD. Mobile employees who BYOD (“BYOD-ers”) spend on average $965 on their devices, and use 1.7 personal devices for work. They spend an additional $734 per year on voice and data plans for their BYOD devices.
  • BYOD is delivering productivity gains around the world. Even with a broad mix of BYOD implementation levels, the typical company is, on average, saving money and its employees are more productive.
  • Comprehensive BYOD pays for itself in hard cost savings. Apart from productivity gains, the major cost savings are in three areas: hardware, support and telecommunications costs. Read More »

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Automation Fair 2013: Industrial IP Advantage

As I blog today from the show floor at Automation Fair in the George Brown Convention Center in Houston, the second day of one of the largest industrial automation events is underway. We have had a lot of traffic and interest in the Industrial IP Advantage booth (#1223).

In fact, many booth visitors are asking us, “I get OT (or the reverse, ‘I get IT’)- how can we work together?”  As my Cisco colleague Dave Cronberger mentions in the video below, the relationship has now evolved and certainly both sides see the merit of working together.    Our Industrial IP Advantage community can certainly add to the conversation and give guidance on next steps in getting the most out of IT/OT convergence in order to move towards an IP-centric industrial network.

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Day 1 Wrap-up from Automation Fair

cisco-automation-fair

Cisco has a significant presence at Automation Fair  in Houston this week.  This event is not only the largest gathering of Rockwell Automation users, it is also one of the most well-attended conferences for controls and industrial automation. Cisco-auto-fairThe day was busy both in the exhibit floor and throughout the sessions, industry forums and demonstration areas.

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Imagine a World With True Any to Any Collaboration

True any to any collaboration means you can collaborate via rich media in real time no matter where you are and who you want to collaborate with.  You can use the device you want and collaborate the way you want with voice, video, messaging, or content sharing -- imagine never again hearing the phrase “I will take care of that when I get back into the office.”

Cisco is striving to make this vision a reality and has made significant progress.  For example, Cisco recently announced capabilities for:

  • Mobile and teleworkers:  Making voice, video, messaging and content available outside the corporate network to mobile Jabber users and teleworkers without needing a VPN.   Best of all, our customers can realize these benefits with no additional costs.*
  • Intercompany and consumer collaboration:  Enabling real-time voice, video, and data-sharing capabilities for businesses to collaborate with consumers and business partners using Jabber Guest.  Customers or partners simply click a URL, website link, or mobile application to start the interaction. Organizations can build these capabilities into their website or mobile application with the included SDKs.

These capabilities are made possible by the Cisco Collaboration Edge Architecture and an important component of this architecture, the newly released Cisco Expressway – they enable bridging of collaboration islands to enable any to any collaboration.

The diagram below shows the use cases that the architecture delivers. Read More »

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