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Is Networking Cool — Again? Yup!

I don’t think that anyone can deny that being in the IT industry at this time is exciting and interesting. It’s also exhausting. There is a ton of hyperbole floating about on Twitter and the Blogosphere concerning the need for network engineers to become programmers, and that ‘whatever’ technology du jour is only minutes away from capturing the market and being the de-facto standard. Oh by the way, all networking gear will be white box gear too — didn’t you hear? I’ve tried to NOT write a post that I fear will be read and dismissed as mere rhetoric, but here I am anyway.

As of late, I’ve had the awesome opportunity to work with some very cool customers who are Read More »

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Meet the Next Generation Fabric Extender – Cisco’s Nexus 2300 Series

More than 5 years ago, Cisco introduced its first Nexus 2000 Fabric Extender (FEX) into the market. This broad portfolio has enabled over 15,000 customers to seamlessly add network access port density across server racks without adding the inherent management complexity that comes with adding more boxes into your architecture to meet scaling requirements which ultimately translates into lower capex and opex for the business.

Today marks the next evolution for this portfolio as we introduce the Nexus 2300 platform -- the 3rd generation Fabric Extender family. Based on the extensive innovations you have come to know from the Nexus 2100 and 2200 platforms, Nexus 2300 Fabric Extenders expand on these capabilities with:

  • Larger buffers to absorb bursts of traffic for a wide variety of workloads such as multicast feeds, voice traffic, video traffic, and healthcare applications
  • Unified Ports support enabling a flexible LAN and SAN deployment through support for Ethernet, Fiber Channel and Fiber Channel over Ethernet connectivity
  • Support for Cisco’s 40G BiDi optics simplifying migration 10 to 40 Gigabit Ethernet speeds while reusing existing 10G cabling
  • Additional versatile TCAM which can be used for:
    • Advanced features such as ACL classifications and QOS
    • Hardware-capable local flow redirect for architectures that require intra-rack traffic to reduce bandwidth

Put all of these together with the single point of management, policy enforcement, zero-touch provisioning installation and automatic configuration that is available across all Nexus 2000 Fabric Extenders and you further benefit from a more simplified and flexible network design that helps you commission and decommission server racks faster, simplify operations, and support varying workload requirements.

Now let’s look at the first member of the Nexus 2300 platform, the Nexus 2348UPQ. Priced at $9500 (US List), almost the same price as current 1Gbps FEXs, the Nexus 2348UPQ supports 48 1/10 Gigabit Ethernet ports. You can add further 10 G ports when you split the 40G ports for up to 64 10G ports – perfect for data centers that are migrating their servers from 1 to 10G network connectivity. The 6 on-board 40Gbps ports support Cisco’s BiDi optics so that as you migrate from 10G to 40G as your uplink speed, you can reuse your existing 10G cabling – helping you save on the costs of re-cabling your network and get it upgraded faster! This new fabric extender can be deployed in conjunction with Nexus 5500, 5600, and 6000 parent switches and with the Nexus 7000 and 9000 Series in the future.

In summary, Cisco’s Fabric Extender portfolio has seen tremendous traction in the market as the many benefits of this architecture ultimately help create a cost-effective, flexible and simplified approach to building a data center network. The Nexus 2300 Series Fabric Extender, with the Nexus 2348UPQ, continues to deliver on these same principles and further expands on the promise of helping simplify network deployment and operations while ensuring the data center network is ready to support varying application needs. I invite you to learn more about the Nexus 2348UPQ and other Nexus 2000 Series Fabric Extenders at www.cisco.com/go/nexus2000.

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The Internet of Everything: New Job Roles, New Education Required

****This article has been updated to remove a factoid discussing IoE and manufacturing job growth.****

We have entered the world of the Internet of Everything (IoE)—a world that brings people, data, processes and things together into a vast web of connectivity. From wearable devices that monitor our vital statistics to household appliances that anticipate our needs to smart cars that detect traffic jams and automatically re-route our journeys, the IoE represents an increasingly digital and mobile world that promises to improve our lives.

Twenty-five billion devices will be connected by next year, and that number will grow to 50 billion by 2020. All of this new data that the IoE generates will change the job landscape forever.  These are exciting developments with unprecedented potential, but the rapidly expanding IoE requires specialized skill sets that don’t yet exist, resulting in a critical talent gap. Read More »

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Security Compliance is Necessary for Real-Time Mobile Data Access

August 21, 2014 at 9:00 am PST

As a business or technical leader, you know you need to protect your company in a rapidly evolving mobile ecosystem. However, threats are not always obvious. As malware and attacks become more sophisticated over time, business decision makers must work with technical decision makers to navigate security threats in a mobile world.

This blog series, authored by Kathy Trahan, explores the topic of enterprise mobility security from a situational level and provides insight into what leaders can do now to mitigate risk. To read the first post focused on securing device freedom, click here. The second post, available here, focused on the risks that come with mobile connections. Kathy’s third post explored how to secure mobile data. – Bret Hartman, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) for Cisco’s Security Technology Group

In today’s mobile and cloud-centric landscape, the ability for employees to access data, account information, real-time statistics, and other pertinent information on their personal devices is what it takes to remain competitive in the business marketplace.

And while the rush has been on to empower employees to be able to connect from anywhere, security concerns are topping the “must address” list of enterprises everywhere.

One key concern is the increasing use of mobile devices to access relevant business information. In fact, according to the Cisco Connected World International Mobile Security survey, 63% of users downloaded sensitive data on such devices.

So, in a scenario where a team of sales representatives are updating account profiles by accessing data on their personal devices, IT and business leaders must ask: How secure is the network the team is using to access sensitive company information? Is it possible malware on their mobile devices can gain entry from a public or private cloud to compromise or steal data? Should mobile security policies prohibit certain employees from downloading certain information when they are off-site?

These questions must be answered. Especially since over the next four years, there will be nearly 21 billion networked devices and connections globally. Business Decision Makers (BDMs) and Technical Decision Makers (TDMs), must team up and determine the best mobile security policies that balance productivity and security of sensitive data, notably understanding security threats and establishing access requirements.
Read More »

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Partners, Distributors and Cisco fundamentally have the same goals: Generate more revenue, expand expertise and gain new customers.

Cisco Distributors grow when their partners grow; simple as that.

There are more than 170 Cisco distributors worldwide that do more than just pick, pack and ship. Each distributor offers an abundance of services and expertise – from technical support, to certification training, to marketing services. Many have solution demo centers, financing options and extensive training on Cisco products and services.

All of these services are designed to grow partner revenue and profit. That isn’t just talk. A distributor is only as healthy and as profitable as its partners. Distributors have a vested interest in the growth and success of their partner customers.

In fact, Julie Hens, VP of Worldwide Distribution Sales says, “Our worldwide distribution partners represent a strategic route to market for Cisco and we focus diligently on fostering a business model that creates positive forces on the distributor’s economics.  In turn, our distributors benefit our partners’ success and profitability by providing services and programs, and serving as a trusted business advisor.  It really is a win-win-win scenario.”

So what does this mean for you as a partner organization? How can you get engaged with Cisco distributors and quickly gain the training and expertise needed to sell Cisco data center, collaboration, networking and other solutions you may not have had access to in the past? What does it mean in terms of your growth prospects in both revenue and margin?

Using very prescriptive methods, Cisco distributors create programs for partners that are designed to accelerate sales and technical knowledge. These proven methodologies help expand and grow your Cisco business practice, which lead to new routes to revenue and profit. These programs offer partners access to resources to help take advantage of a rapidly changing environment in the marketplace and new opportunities that come with it.  Avnet Propel, Comstor EDGE, Ingram Fly Higher and Tech Data Momentum are examples of success in this area: Read More »

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