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Force the Competition to Reevaluate Their Game Plan

It goes without saying that to stay relevant in today’s global and ever-increasingly competitive economy, every company and organization needs to bring on their A-game. This means having a solid business strategy, the drive to beat the competition, real differentiation, a team that is willing to go the extra mile, as well as an innovative IT strategy with technologies that enable positive business outcomes.

Find out who is rising to star status—and why—in the newest edition of Unleashing IT, a Cisco and Intel® thought-leadership resource that keeps you to up to date on IT strategies and technologies that enable business transformation.

The Fall 2013 edition showcases game changing innovations achieved by companies such as Capital One, Red Door Spa, and Alegent Creighton Health—including how they did it.

If you’re new to Unleashing IT, get in the game by subscribing now. If you’ve already subscribed, log in online and get up to date on the latest customer success stories, resources, and upcoming events.

Redefine the sport of business outcomes through IT thought-leadership, and force the competition to reevaluate their own game plan.

STEM Education Must be a Hands-on Approach

Science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields are critical to innovation and the continued development of the U.S. economy. However, trends are showing that while there are and will continue to be plenty of jobs in these fields, many students are unprepared or lack the desire necessary for employers of the future to fill these jobs effectively.

In order to get more students interested in STEM, it is imperative that they learn through hands-on training, mentoring and demonstrations early in their education. In her latest blog, Amanda Williams, Community Relations Manager at Cisco, describes the importance of getting students physically involved in STEM to spark an interest for the future. Through the launch of the Cisco US2020 STEM mentoring initiative, Cisco employees are able work with students from various schools around the U.S. The students participate in activities such as robot building, engineering demos of circuit building, 3D printing, and pedal-a-watt to make a phone ring. Through this program, we are able to get students excited about the opportunities to learn more about STEM fields.us2020

While we still have a long road ahead of us when it comes to preparing and inspiring a future generation of STEM innovators, it’s encouraging to see students enjoying the learning process this new initiative provides. Read More »

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Cisco IT Streamlines Big Data Operations with Cisco Tidal Enterprise Scheduler

Like many IT organizations, Cisco’s internal IT department is deploying Big Data solutions to mine the ever-increasing data in-flow from a wide range of sources – and thus gain competitive advantage and insights.

The typical environment includes an ecosystem of different tools and data sources that looks something like this (image courtesy of @TorstenVolk):

HDE

Source: EMA Research

Cisco IT realized that as the demand for analysis of this data increased, the demands on their infrastructure and Day 2 operations management would likely grow exponentially. So they knew that they needed an enterprise-grade workload automation solution that could manage processes involving Hadoop, MapR, Cloudera, Informatica, Teradata, SAP HANA, BusinessObjects, Tableau as well as other analytics applications, data feeds and repositories.

Fortunately, we have a workload automation software solution – Cisco Tidal Enterprise Scheduler – that meets those requirements and more:

TES2

 

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Security: Front and Center at Cisco Live Cancun 2013

November 12, 2013 at 5:00 am PST

This year I was honored to be able to present and participate at Cisco Live Cancun, which took place last week. Many attendees from North, Central and South America and the Caribbean came to discover innovative ways that networking technologies can help them reach new markets and understand which solutions are right for their specific challenges.

Security was a hot topic this year!

Customers were able to connect with numerous experts for guidance and advice on security IT challenges that their company may be facing. Maintaining an appropriate security posture in “Bring Your Own Device” (BOYD) environments can be a challenge. This year I delivered a presentation about BYOD Security and Cisco’s TrustSec in an 8 ½ hour session titled “Bring Your Own Device – Architectures, Design and Operation” (TECRST-2020). Implementing BYOD requires a comprehensive solution that ensures the security and reliability of the network while enhancing user experience and productivity. The exponential growth of consumer devices and the need to maintain continuous connectivity to corporate and Internet resources has brought new challenges to corporate networks. Network managers struggle to provide adequate connectivity to employees while protecting corporate data. This session focused on the architecture and framework required to deploy the proper network infrastructure, security components and device management to support different endpoints, each with unique permissions into the network. A combination of lectures and live demos provided the information needed for customers to build an effective BYOD solution. The latest Cisco Validated Design guide (CVD) 2.5 for BYOD was covered highlighting different BYOD use cases, including TrustSec, converged access and the integration with Mobile Device Managers (MDM) to receive device posture information. Read More »

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Close Peek at Cisco ACI : Network Abstraction, VXLAN, Programmability

Last week was a memorable one for me in more ways than one. First, the unveiling of Cisco’s Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) specifics by John Chambers and his Executive Management team via a public webcast on Nov 6. The announcement was a big success and received broad endorsement and support from a big eco-system of Partners, customers, Press and Analysts.

Second, personally it is special to me, as I became part of the ACI Marketing team two weeks ago, to join life in fast lane. In this blog I want to share my excitement with you, and focus on nuances of ACI that do not overlap with blogs already posted by Shashi Kiran and Harry Petty.

The excitement started with an ACI boot-camp, I attended last week. In 2 days, I got a good overview on the architectural advantages of Cisco ACI and the Datacenter pain-points it addresses. By now, many of you would have learnt that ACI is all about Datacenter agility and automation. Sounds easy, but you may be wondering how to attain this goal. I will give examples from my career as a software engineer in the 90’s, when I worked for Sun Microsystems. Those days, I wrote code for 2 –tier and three-tier enterprise software applications that required global deployment and access by users on the company-wide WAN.

My problem started as I went from the Application Development phase to Test/QA phase. I had to run from pillar to post coordinating my application deployment needs with security, network and database/storage admins to identify the best rollout strategy. There was no collaboration between Dev and Ops teams. The alpha and beta test phases required testing on multiple subnets, across geographies, via multiple protocols like to establish proper SLA/functioning of the application. If my application had to open say, a firewall port to allow a particular traffic type (non http) it was next to impossible to get security ops to agree. Opening non-http ports were considered a security risk. In addition, tight coupling of network constructs like subnets, VLAN, security, network services, IP addresses etc with one another, further impacted the network flexibility and application deployment process. (Refer to Figure-1 below for details)

abstraction

With ACI architecture, tight coupling between network constructs can be eliminated. Figure-1 above, illustrates this approach via Abstraction.

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