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Shining a New Light on Shadow IT

More people than ever are talking about “shadow IT” nowadays.  As the name implies, it’s mysterious, perhaps even malevolent by some people’s standards.  From a traditional IT vantage point, this negative view may be somewhat justified given the risks it creates around security, compliance, productivity, and technology investment.

But let’s look at it from another perspective. Shadow IT is on the rise because more people outside of IT are gaining awareness and access to technology, and harnessing it as a business differentiator. More importantly, many of these people are business leaders with growing budgets that align to their priorities. Here’s how much technology budget growth business leaders expect in the next year:

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Over the next year how will your group’s technology budget change 

Source: Cisco Business and IT Priority Survey results Read More »

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High-Tech Hotel Receives Cisco Upgrade and “Powers Up” Guest Experience

Traveling can be stressful – for business or leisure – and hoteliers do their best to make sure that the hotel in which you choose to stay during your time away from home provides the best worry-free conveniences available.  High-tech hotels are taking steps in the right direction by offering in-room automation, loyalty perks, mobile check-ins and more to enhance the guest experience.

But even luxury, high-tech hotels need upgrades sometimes.  To validate this point, we look back at Boston in March 2012 at an event referred to as the ‘Back Bay blackout.” Unfortunately, an electrical fire in Boston left thousands without power. I imagine the scene was a little chaotic without lights, phones and Internet. The Mandarin Oriental, Boston and its guests were also left without access to phones or Internet during this power outage. Read More »

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IWAN Wednesday: (Webinar) Enhance your branch with UCS E-Series

For the last 3 weeks, my colleagues have written on the topic of IWAN and its various components.  Ido wrote about the basics (and more) about IWAN, Kiran on how to get twice the bandwidth with PfR, and Hector on how Glue Networks improves the IWAN experience for IT.   As the name suggests, the ‘WAN’ in Intelligent WAN is a very important element but we can’t forget why we need an intelligent WAN – the branch or store that sits on the other side.  It’s the place where 80% of employees of enterprises reside and where content explosion is happening with cloud applications, video training, and other business applications need to be delivered to.  So it would be an understatement to say the branch architecture and how applications are delivered and hosted is important.

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Enabling the Business Value of Cloud Through Intelligent Infrastructure

IWAN ImageThe advent of the many clouds has now become a reality. Enterprises of all sizes and segments are embracing cloud solutions, whether private internal cloud, Virtual Private Cloud, Public Cloud, or some Hybrid. The number of workloads as well as cloud traffic  are expected to grow exponentially in the next 5 years.

The shift to the many clouds has significant impact on the role of IT.  IT has to reinvent itself to be able to keep control as applications are increasingly moving to cloud infrastructures.

In particular, there are two very strong trends that will require IT to increasingly position itself as a Broker of Services, and evolve from a more traditional role of being an infrastructure provider.
First, line of businesses intend to address some of their IT needs directly by purchasing cloud-based IT services. Read More »

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IWAN Wed: What is Intelligent WAN?

Imagine that you have several branch offices that are using WAN demanding applications like Salesforce.com, Office 365, Virtual Desktops, Video Teleconferencing and more.  You are using those expensive MPLS/VPN WAN connections as you don’t want to risk it and probably because when you started to work there it was already there and … why mess around with something that is working, right?  Normally I would agree with that but when IT budgets are shrinking and the network needs to step up and support those business critical apps, there is no other way but to innovate.

At any given time your network carries information from LAN to WAN and vice versa, some is important and some is less important. In many cases as a network admin you don’t have the visibility to distinguish between them, so what do you do when those critical apps are starting to act up? Usually the answer will be to buy more WAN bandwidth and that will give the apps and the user experience behind them some breathing space. But all you’re doing is buying time.  Buying time never solves the problem because you will need to treat the symptoms again in a few weeks or months.

However, you can solve the problem and not just treat the symptoms using Cisco Intelligent WAN or IWAN for short.

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