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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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Common Core Mobile Technology Uplifts School Performance

Studies show the importance of quality education when it comes to the development of a country. The education system of the 21st century is very different from a few years prior due to the technological advances. There is a massive change in the way information is accessed today.

We can no longer limit students to books for knowledge because of the plethora of information that students can access on the internet through the various devices. The Common Core Standards introduced in the United States aim to prepare students for the future in the 21st century. Read More »

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Delivering Application Optimization for Office 365

We in IT are faced with many challenges from our end users.  From IT costs to application performance, while always keeping an eye on our network security posture.  This reminds me of a sign on the wall of my auto mechanic’s shop: Good, Fast, Low-cost. I was always told I am allowed to pick only two.  I would of course question him, “why cant I have something with high quality, on time, and within budget?”  This always made him smile, but he still told me I could only pick two.

So back to our IT challenges: Cost, Performance, and Security. Application performance is something we can all see, feel and touch. When thinking about performance, we need to also consider where these applications are coming from.  Looking at applications like Microsoft’s Office 365, we are seeing mission critical applications from outside our data centers being delivered as Software as a Service (SaaS) solution. Does this matter to our end users?  They sit at their PC’s, Tablets, Mac’s, etc. and know when something is not going fast enough.  Their expectations are growing; they always expect the best performance. If they don’t feel their Outlook e-mail is opening fast enough or that the saving of their PowerPoint file is taking too long, they do not hesitate to let us know.  And oddly enough, everyone just assumes it is the network.  So not only do we need to think about our networks, but the Internet performance as well.

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IWAN Wed: Get 2X Bandwidth with PfR

AN33345As part of our IWAN series, I wanted to provide a deeper dive into PfR. Why PfR? It is a fundamental feature that helps customers protect critical apps while increasing bandwidth utilization. I think it is fair to say, every organization can benefit tremendously from this powerful capability.

PfR or Performance Routing is a feature that complements traditional IP routing protocols by adding application intelligence when making routing decisions. Why do we need application intelligence? Routers forward data packets based on their routing tables which are built using dynamic routing protocols such as RIP and OSPF to calculate the shortest path to the destination for the data packets. RIP and OSPF do not look into data packets to determine the type of application they belong to when making routing decisions. As a result if the application is time sensitive like voice over IP (VOIP) or bandwidth intensive like a file backup data packets are treated with the same priority and will be sent over the same route until they reach their destination. This can create problems if you have a single WAN link since a file backup could consume all bandwidth preventing voice packets from passing in a timely manner and impacting the quality of the voice call. QoS or Quality of Service can help to prioritize data on a single link but you may ultimately need more bandwidth.

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