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The Network Dating Game and the Acquisition Myth

June 14, 2011 at 9:24 pm PST

When your customers are shopping around for the right network, it’s a bit like being on “The Dating Game.” For those who aren’t familiar with the TV show, it first aired in the 1960s and featured an eligible bachelor or bachelorette hidden behind a wall. Said bachelor or bachelorette got to interview three candidates to find out which one would be most appropriate and worthy of a date. The candidates could not see each other so had to rely on the person’s answers to determine the best fit.

Customers looking for the right network may feel like the eligible bachelorette or bachelor on “The Networking Game.” Is contestant number one trustworthy and able to meet both current and future needs? Does contestant two offer security and flexibility? What about three: is that one stable? Can one network meet really meet all of those needs?

There are quite a few variables to consider when customers are shopping for a network, especially when 20% of a typical enterprise IT network budget is spent acquiring hardware while a whopping 80% goes toward operating costs.

Yet some industry pundits and vendors look only at acquisition and maintenance costs when calculating TCO, ignoring functionality that may improve productivity or business opportunities that are lost when the network goes down. That’s a bit like choosing a date based on a single factor, like a voice, rather than looking at the entire package.

We continue our coverage of the “Good Enough Network” myth series with myth #6: Acquisition Cost. Read More »

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How Service Providers Can Capitalize on the Cloud

June 14, 2011 at 1:56 pm PST

Small and mid-sized Businesses (SMBs) make up more than 90% of all companies. They’re also the largest consumers of enterprise cloud services--a market that is expected to grow to $35.6B by 2015, according to consulting group Analysys Mason.

If you’re looking to capitalize on this growing market, join us for a live, interactive video broadcast and discussion on Tuesday, July 19 from 8:00-8:30am PT. We’ll focus on key opportunities in this market, offer insight and tips, and answer your questions live on the air.

Topics we’ll cover include:

  • The Service Provider Cloud Services landscape including security, availability, and business impact
  • Small and Mid-Sized customer needs driving interest in Cloud offerings
  • New business opportunities for Service Providers Read More »

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Identity Services Engine: Your Frequently Asked Questions – Answered!

June 13, 2011 at 9:21 am PST

Your Questions: Answered

This post is the first in a new series we’ll be featuring called Your Questions: Answered. In this series, we track down the answers to partners’ toughest technical questions. You can submit your questions here, post on the Cisco Channels Facebook page, or drop us a note on Twitter.

When Cisco recently introduced the Identity Services Engine (ISE), you likely started fielding questions, with many customers concerned about whether Cisco Network Admission Control (NAC) and Cisco Access Control System (ACS) will cease to be supported or become end-of-life. (Kind of like how I felt when the iPhone 4 came out and I was stuck with the iPhone 3G).

To help you address customer questions, I went out looking for answers on what’s up with ISE, NAC, and ACS. First up, a little about ISE: It has similar functionality to NAC and ACS, combining the functionality of those two existing products onto a new platform. Your customers can gather information from users, devices, infrastructure, and network services to enable organizations to enforce contextual-based business policies across the network, create and enforce consistent policy from the head office to the branch office, and combine authentication, authorization, and accounting (AAA), posture, profiling, and guest management with this single product. And that’s just the beginning--I’ll share details on how to find out more about ISE later in this blog.

Back to the issue at hand — I chatted with Brian Sak, Cisco’s Consulting Systems Engineer and expert on Borderless Networks Security products. He filled me in on the most frequently asked questions that he’s been getting from partners around ISE.

Are NAC and ACS being replaced by ISE?
No, both NAC and ACS have ongoing roadmaps, developments, and new releases planned. If ISE does not meet your customer’s current needs, your customers can still use NAC or ACS. Cisco will not stop innovations on NAC and ACS anytime in the near future.

Should I encourage my NAC and ACS customers to migrate to ISE now?
The answer varies based on your customers and their requirements. Check out this handy chart in the Partner Community Discussion Forum (log in required) to help you determine if ISE is the right fit, right now for your customers.

Read More »

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Social Media Spotlight: Top 10 Tips for Setting Up the Perfect Video




So, we’ve covered how to get started in social media. We’ve offered you blogging tips and a video walking you through how to craft a great blog entry. Now it’s time to help you put together polished, professional videos that you can feature prominently on your website to help amplify your company’s message and entice customers.

Our expert on this topic is Andrew Phillips, co-anchor of our Partner Update newscasts and our Cisco Channels go-to video guy. Andrew knows his way backward and forward in Final Cut Pro. And, he’s staged and filmed countless videos that we feature here on the Cisco Channels blog and elsewhere.

According to Andrew, nothing can ruin a video more than poor setup. If you invest some time and thought in lighting, staging, and audio, your video will come out so much better than if you just shoot in front of a window without regard to your light source, or if you film outside with loud cars driving by that drown out your audio.

Want to put Andrew’s tricks to use in your videos? Here are his Top 10 Tips for Setting Up the Perfect Video. Read More »

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Is Your Customers’ Network Covered by a “Good Enough” Warranty?

June 8, 2011 at 1:55 pm PST

When budgeting for equipment to run enterprise networks, buying equipment that requires the least amount of upfront capital may sound like cheapest in the long run, but what about the cost of repairs and tech support?

Settling for a “good enough” network means your customers get a “good enough” warranty to go with it. Next-generation networks offer more support staff, diagnostic tools to keep networks up and running, as well as more robust warranties.

In our continuing coverage of the Seven Myths of the Good-Enough Network, we delve into myth number five: The Basic Warranty Myth.

Most enterprise networking equipment includes limited support and maintenance. With vendors like HP, according to Michael Rau (myth dispeller and Vice President, CTO for the Borderless Network Architecture at Cisco), a warranty service call is limited to answering only the most basic questions. A support rep will typically ask, “Have you tried rebooting your switch?” If that’s not the issue, a replacement is sent with no effort made to troubleshoot the problem. If you want more in-depth support you have to purchase the extended support contract – which is not free.

Here are five things customers should consider when purchasing network equipment. Read More »

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