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The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: Smart Connections

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), the largest economy in the Middle East, is universally recognized as the world’s largest producer and exporter of petroleum. In recent years, however, it has emerged as a visionary leader in leveraging networked technology, especially in developing a number of Smart City projects to attract business while controlling sprawl and congestion.

Cisco Consulting Services estimates that KSA alone can gain about $84 billion of total economic value from the Internet of Everything, which is the connection of people, processes, data and things. Nearly $16 billion of this is in the public sector, with profitability, cost savings and enhanced experiences coming from urban services such as smart street lighting, smart traffic management, mobile collaboration, chronic disease control, connected learning and healthcare, to name a few.

Globally, Cisco sees a total $19 trillion opportunity for both the public and private sectors. 

Last week, I revisited Saudi Arabia for the 16th time in five years and saw first-hand its progress in developing Smart Cities, or what we at Cisco call, Smart + Connected Communities. I had the honor of participating in the Cityquest KAEC Forum, jointly organized by the King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) and New Cities Foundation, which assembled global thought leaders in some of the most advanced Smart City projects.

I had the pleasure of participating in an enthusiastic panel discussion on local and global urban innovations made possible by “Connecting Through Technology,” moderated by Andrew Sewer, journalist and former managing editor of Fortune Magazine.

As reported in The Arab News, Abdullatif A. Al-Othman, governor of the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA), kicked off the conference by emphasizing that public sector investments to diversify the economy are “… the most promising and significant in terms of job creation, technology transfer and exports development,” pointing to KAEC as a prime example.

“Digital native” cities such as KAEC have the benefit of starting from the ground up to incorporate Information and Communication Technology (ICT) into the master planning process. Here, it is recognized that technology is the fourth essential infrastructure for cities, along with water, gas and electricity.

I had the opportunity to see first-hand the amazing progress KAEC has made since it was announced in the summer of 2008 with Cisco’s partnership as the ICT master planner. In addition to its urban planning foresight, KAEC represents a global model of how government, its people and investors worldwide can create a smarter and more sustainable community.

I also visited Riyadh, Saudi Arabia’s capital and largest city, where a tremendous transformation is under way to build one of the largest rapid transit projects in the region, Riyadh Metro. Built on the strong vision of Riyadh Governor Prince Turki bin Abdullah, in combination with the strategic plan of Arriyadh Development Authority as well as all the hard work being done by Riyadh Municipality, Riyadh Metro is expected to be the beginning of a modern 21st century digital city.

My take-away is that public and private sector leaders throughout the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia recognize the power and potential of the Internet of Everything. They are diversifying their petroleum-based economy by embracing the digital era, focusing intently now on Smart City projects.


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Cisco UCS Delivers the highest TPC-H result for non-clustered systems at the 1000-GB scale factor with Microsoft SQL Server

The Cisco UCS® C460 M4 Rack Server continues its tradition of Industry leadership with the new announcement of the best non-clustered TPC-H benchmark result at the 1000GB scale factor, in concert with Microsoft SQL Server 2014 Enterprise Edition.

The Cisco UCS® C460 M4 Rack Server captured the number-one spot on the TPC-H benchmark at the 1000GB scale factor with a price/performance ratio of $0.97 USD per QphH@1000GBand demonstrated 588,831 queries per hour (QphH@1000GB), beating results from Dell, Fujitsu, and IBM.

The TPC-H benchmark evaluates a composite performance metric (QphH@size) and a price-to-performance metric ($/ QphH@size) that measure the performance of various decision-support systems by running sets of queries against a standard database under controlled conditions. For the benchmark, the server was equipped with 1.5 TB of memory and four 2.8-GHz Intel Xeon processor E7-4890 v2 CPUs. The system ran Microsoft SQL Server 2014 Enterprise Edition and Windows. Check out the Performance Brief for additional information on the benchmark configuration. The detailed official benchmark disclosure report is available at the TPC Results Highlights Website.

Some of the key highlights of Cisco’s TPC-H Benchmark results are:

  • The Cisco UCS® C460 M4 Rack Server delivered the highest TPC-H result ever reported for non-clustered systems at the1000-GB scale factor.
  • High Performance for Microsoft SQL Server 2014: Cisco’s result is the fastest server at the 1000-GB scale factor running Microsoft SQL Server.
  • As illustrated in the graph below, the Cisco performance result beats Fujitsu, Dell, and IBM top results for the 1000-GB scale factor by 80, 31, and 13 percent respectively. Cisco’s price/performance ratio is 29 percent less than the IBM result


C460 TPC-H Results
It is interesting to note that although all vendors have access to same Intel processors, only Cisco UCS unleashes their power to deliver high performance to applications through the power of unification. The unique, fabric-centric architecture of Cisco UCS integrates the Intel Xeon processors into a system with a better balance of resources that brings processor power to life. For additional information on Cisco UCS and Cisco UCS Integrated Infrastructure solutions please visit Cisco Unified Computing & Servers web page.


The Transaction Processing Performance Council (TPC) is a nonprofit corporation founded to define transaction processing and database benchmarks, and to disseminate objective and verifiable performance data to the industry. TPC membership includes major hardware and software companies. TPC-H, QphH, and $/QphH are trademarks of the Transaction Processing Performance Council (TPC). The performance results described in this document are derived from detailed benchmark results available as of December 15, 2014, at

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Protecting Innovation: Cisco Seeks Injunctive Relief at ITC

I blogged in an earlier posting about steps we are taking against Arista’s widespread and intentional use of Cisco’s cutting-edge and differentiating technology in their products. I want to provide an update about steps we’ve taken, as promised when we filed the initial action, to expedite what can be a long drawn out process.

Today, we have formally asked the US International Trade Commission for an injunction (in ITC parlance, an “exclusion order”) blocking Arista from importing and selling products that use Cisco’s patented technologies in the United States. The ITC is an independent agency with broad investigative responsibilities to protect innovators against importation of infringing products. As is typically the case with ITC actions, a consultative process with the ITC preceded these filings, a process we initiated when we filed our legal actions two weeks ago. Our ITC actions cover the same twelve patents we asserted in one of our district court cases. Our ITC actions are consistent with our commitment to do everything possible to expedite review of Arista’s illicit copying. The ITC generally acts more quickly than typically occurs in district court cases, which will help us in our efforts to obtain orders to stop Arista’s unlawful actions as quickly as possible.

One important point in both of these actions (the District Court filing, and now the ITC): our suit is only against Arista and not against any customer. Any suggestion that we will put our customers in the middle of this is not true. Arista’s customers are the victims of Arista’s infringement and copying.

We have no interest in making this a long, drawn out affair. We will move expeditiously to vindicate the principle that to succeed in technology, you need to innovate, not copy. That is why we filed our actions today in the ITC.


(Editor’s note: you can read complaint #1 here; complaint #2 is here)

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Cisco Partner Weekly Rewind – December 19, 2014

December 19, 2014 at 7:30 am PST

Partner-Weekly-Rewind-v2Each week, we’ll highlight the most important Cisco Partner Ecosystem news and stories, as well as point you to important, Cisco-related partner content you may have missed along the way. Here’s what you might have missed this week:

Off the Top

Sherri Liebo posted this week on the Cisco Partner Plus program. Following up on her post about midmarket last month, Sherri provided expanded information on Partner Plus and how partners can take advantage of its three tier system to grow and expand in midmarket.

If you’re interested in learning more about just how this fits into The Cisco Partner Ecosystem, be sure to check out Sherri’s blog, and let us know what you think! Read More »

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Making New Connections In Russia: First-Ever Mobile CCIE Lab Opens in Kazan

The Internet of Everything (IoE) continues to drive network demands and, parallel to this, international needs for skilled networking professionals are on the rise. World Bank Studies estimate that over the next ten years there will be two million unfilled ICT-related jobs globally. To connect the unconnected, it is estimated that 220,000 new engineers are required every year between 2014 and 2022. To meet these growing requirements, Learning@Cisco is constantly on the lookout for ways to partner with higher education institutions and governments worldwide to provide training and certification for in-demand skills. Our CCIE Mobile Labs are one facet of this strategy.

Learning@Cisco recently opened a Mobile CCIE Lab in Kazan, capital of the Republic of Tatarstan (one of Russia’s dozens of regions.) This represents the first CCIE Mobile Lab to ever be offered outside of Cisco premises. It marks the first time the mobile labs have reached Russia’s regions, outside previous operations in Moscow and select locations across the globe.CCIE certifications are of the highest level of achievement for network professionals, which will help Russian IT pros further their careers while also providing Russia with a workforce of highly skilled networking professionals who have the capabilities to help usher in IoE.

The launch and operation of the CCIE Lab will support the additional objective of transforming Kazan into a “smart and safe city.” The President of Tatarstan, Rustam Minnikhanov, is moving rapidly toward his goal of making Kazan the smartest city in Russia and one of the five smartest cities in the world. His strategy is to create a city platform to enhance the interaction between government and citizens by sourcing local solutions by citizens, for citizens. Cisco has partnered with President Minnikhanov, the Mayor of Kazan and the Kazan Federal University in recently opening an Innovation Hub at the University to turn this goal into a reality.

Certification exams will be offered in Kazan for CCIE Routing and Switching, CCIE Security, CCIE Service Provider, CCIE Collaboration and CCIE Data Center (recently added). These one-day exams offered for five days on a quarterly basis provide students greater access to lab testing than they would otherwise have. The fully equipped, eight-hour lab exam provides CCIE students with greater access to lab equipment while also testing their ability to configure actual equipment and get the network running in a timed-test scenario.

In the first mobile lab, held at the beginning of September, we were able to test 12 IT specialists from Moscow, St. Petersburg, the Republic of Tatarstan, and Uzbekistan. The successful launch of the testing lab lends great momentum to the global expansion of our CCIE program and to our focus on improving access to Mobile CCIE Labs. These labs provide a convenient and cost-effective method for students to test for CCIE Routing and Switching, CCIE Security, CCIE Service Provider and CCIE Data Center in areas that do not have permanent lab locations. The Mobile CCIE Lab reduces the need for costly travel; hotel, passport and visa fees; and the need to leave the country to take the CCIE Lab exam. As a result of the successful launch, we will be testing in the mobile lab regularly.

In further support of these initiatives, Wim Elfrink, Cisco’s Executive Vice President, Industry Solutions & Chief Globalization Officer, recently kicked off the University’s first Hackathon in which, after 48 hours of non-stop effort, the nine teams involved created innovative solutions for the city, ranging from Smart Lighting to Smart Bicycle alarm systems to Smart Shop queues. He also addressed 300 eager undergraduates at the Kazan Federal University in Tatarstan on the IoE.

These popular events demonstrated again great interest by the local youth in Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) and IoE. That’s good news, because Russia will need a skilled workforce in order to take advantage of IoE’s opportunities. Our studies show that IoE can drive $273 billion of economic benefit over the next decade in Russia. The depth of engineering talent in Russia places them, as a country, in a very strong position to capitalize on this value – and quickly. If other countries want to enjoy their share of IoE’s potential, they would do well to follow Russia’s proactive, right-now example of reskilling current workers and preparing future workers for our interconnected world.