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Process and memory affinity: why do you care?

January 31, 2013 at 5:00 am PST

I’ve written about NUMA effects and process affinity on this blog lots of times in the past.  It’s a complex topic that has a lot of real-world affects on your MPI and HPC applications.  If you’re not using processor and memory affinity, you’re likely experiencing performance degradation without even realizing it.

In short:

  1. If you’re not booting your Linux kernel in NUMA mode, you should be.
  2. If you’re not using processor affinity with your MPI/HPC applications, you should be.

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Cisco Partner Inveneo on Huffington Post: How Internet Connectivity Expands Economic and Community Development

January 31, 2013 at 3:24 am PST

Kristin Peterson, CEO of Inveneo, a key Cisco CSR partner, is a guest blogger on Cisco’s Impact X section on the Huffington Post.

In her post, Kristin talks about how Internet connectivity can impact economic and social advancement in developing communities. She describes the remote Kenyan island of Mfangano, where Internet access has dramatically increased participation in HIV/AIDS-related testing and social service programs.

Cisco has supported Inveneo’s efforts to design and deliver information and communications technology (ICT) to the most remote and underserved areas of the world with more than $US3 million in cash and product grants since 2007. For example, Cisco supported expansion of Inveneo’s Certified ICT Partner Program in Africa, and worked with Inveneo to establish Community Knowledge Centers in sub-Saharan Africa as part of Cisco’s Clinton Global Initiative commitment.

Read Kristin’s full post on the HuffongtonPost ImpactX.

Cisco Netriders Global Champions Tour Company Headquarters

January 30, 2013 at 2:21 pm PST

This week Cisco is proud to host 17 NetRider Champions from 13 countries around the globe at Cisco headquarters in San Jose, California. These tech wizards are students from the Cisco Networking Academy program who competed against more than 10,000 applicants in 85 countries. They range in age from 20 to 37.

The annual Networking Academy NetRiders competition is an interactive networking skills contest. It utilizes Cisco’s Web 2.0 technologies to challenge students to achieve high standards of competence, enhance classroom learning, and motivate them to further pursue technology education and training.

NetRiders_2013_web_1 Cisco Networking Academy NetRiders winners are visiting the Cisco San Jose, California campus from 13 countries.

Cisco believes in educating people with new skills for life, as well as in providing aid to those in need. Networking Academy is Cisco’s largest and longest-running corporate social responsibility (CSR) program; it was established in 1997 to teach IT based skills to people around the world, helping them get good jobs and encouraging long-term, sustainable economic growth in communities by providing highly skilled network professionals to support local industries. The 10,000 Cisco Academies around the world teach more than 1 million students in over 165 countries each year!

Brian Forward, the NetRider Champion from Canada, was particularly attracted to the interactive element of the competition. “Participating means that I have had the chance to compete with the countries’ and continents’ finest, while showcasing my talents and skills, and enhancing them while representing my home Newfoundland,” he said. “On a forward-looking note, it has created confidence within me that propels my learning.”

The contest is such a good way to motivate students that Tracy Granlund from the Networking Academy Student Advocacy Team says, “We hope to see the competition grow to 50,000 student participants.” The winners are in California to meet with Cisco staff and tour our offices, labs and data center; the Stanford University campus; Intel Museum; coastal Redwoods and beaches at Santa Cruz; and attractions in nearby San Francisco.

We’ll keep you posted about what the NetRiders are up to throughout the week.

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Video Calling: The Case for Interoperability – Part 3

January 30, 2013 at 2:00 pm PST

Video calling is changing the world we live in.  Healthcare is using video conferencing to provide services by doctors to patients in rural areas or those too ill to travel.  Schools use video calling to enable their students to interact with experts and professionals across the country without having to leave the classroom.  And courts are increasingly using video communications for specialized skills, such as language interpretation.

All of these rapid advancements will make a greater impact if our technologies work together. In a recent Cisco study, two-thirds of respondents believe that innovation is what keeps companies growing, that innovation is fostered through interoperable devices, and that it’s better if companies agree to common standards without government intervention. As new technologies are formed, these innovations are the fuel for economic growth and community well-being.  It’s important to understand the role that interoperability plays in forming our technological foundation.

Interoperability infographic

 

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Centralization and Consolidation: Bigger and Better

January 30, 2013 at 1:19 pm PST

It’s been more than 10 years since we introduced IP Telephony to the contact center market with Cisco Unified Contact Center Enterprise (CCE).  We may have lacked some features in our early product but we did one thing that no other vendor could easily deliver in 2001:  When a customer had three sites with 50 agents per site and they wanted an enterprise-class contact center platform, we were the only solution that could offer them a “single ACD”.  That was the initial advantage of IP-ACD.  The benefits of that consolidation were pretty clear in the Erlang calculators and that type of multi-site business case launched us into the contact center market.  Today we continue to see  momentum around centralization and consolidation but the projects are getting much bigger and we’re focused on making our solution even better at addressing the challenges associated with this type of initiative.

map

In 2013, many contact center customers are faced with a decision to move to a new platform for ACD and IVR.  Information Technology has continued to evolve and we see projects like “Data Center Consolidation” lining up with these new contact center purchase decisions.  Our IT-focused buyers want to deploy contact center as a service in their data center to simplify operations and consolidate on a single-platform for ACD/IVR/CTI to reduce cost.  Our business-focused buyers also see “Centralization” as one of their top business priorities.  A centralized contact center system can reduce labor costs, improve speed of answer, and also deliver the best possible customer experience by connecting customers with the right resource anywhere in the enterprise.  A centralized system can also provide a platform for implementing new revenue generating strategies like cross-selling.

I’ve been working on consolidation projects with our contact center customers for many years.  I vividly remember some very tough conversations with one of our early customers that was putting a system in place to merge their two contact center locations into a single team/queue (while operating across two locations).  The site managers were adamant about their need for a “service level by site” since this peer to peer site competition was so ingrained in their operation.  I was shoulder to shoulder with the IT staff trying to explain the mathematical benefits of a single queue and how their new system would have one shared queue and therefore it would result in one shared service level.  That wasn’t an easy conversation.  It took many hours of discussion and alignment with the top level business management to help reset their plan on how they would operate as one team.

What I’ve learned from our customers over the years is that there are organizational dynamics around sites and in line of business groups that sometimes conflict with the output of the Erlang calculator.  There is a need in some deployments to compromise efficiency in order to map more easily to varying departmental priorities.  It is a small set of enterprises that can jump all-in to a uniform operation/service and therefore more often than not there is some compromise between consolidation and segmentation.

In the Cisco contact center development team we see the expansion of the departmental features as an area of innovation.  We are looking to offer reasonable choices in how our customers can deliver a single platform that continues to support choices around distributed administration.  The requirements are more complex then secured access control.  In some cases our customers are asking for tiered hierarchies or hybrid access models with some combination of shared responsibility and access to data.  We want to offer this flexibility without complexity and that requires continuous focus on how these features impact the supervisor and administrator user experience.

One of our key technology partners in this area is Exony   We’ve had a deep technology relationship with Exony for nearly 10 years.  They first came to us with a “Service Provider grade” security model for access control and we’ve incorporated parts of their technology into our core CCE platform.  We believe the Exony VIM solution offers best in class contact center platform administration and control capability for our largest enterprise customers who operate multiple lines of business.  The upcoming release of Exony VIM will be leveraging some new CCE access control functionality and we’re looking to expand this capability to support customers of all sizes and deployment models with future versions of CCE.

This is a key investment area for us so I’m very interested feedback on this direction so please share your thoughts here on our collaboration blog or in our Collaboration Community.  This is also the time of year to set plans to attend this summer’s Cisco Live in Orlando so hopefully I’ll see many of you there.

Tod