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The Technology Behind Borderless Networks: From ISR G2 to CleanAir

CleanAir’s Best of Interop 2010 Award evokes the Borderless Networks architecture once again. The concept of Borderless Networks is simple enough when you think about it from the perspective of the user – it’s about the need for access and connectivity anywhere, at any time, on any device. But how can technology practically deliver this vision of the network?

I’m reminded of a quote attributed to one of the greatest innovators of all time — Leonardo DaVinci. He said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” Within the Borderless Networks Architecture, there is indeed much sophisticated technology working to meet this “simple” user ideal.

A series of technology innovations starting with the ISR G2 continuing through CleanAir have contributed to concrete progress towards fulfilling the promise of  Borderless Networks. Let’s take a look back at this series of advancements to better understand where we are today.

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Ding, Ding–that’s the end of round one!

We’ve successfully wrapped up the first round of our second I-Prize competition! Successful semi-finalists are being notified that they’re moving on to the next round, where they’ll be getting Flip cameras and coaching from Cisco’s Emerging Technology Group as they refine their ideas and prepare to present them for a chance to move in to the finals. The I-Prize community can cast their vote to help select the winner!

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Assuring service delivery with NetScout and Cisco

Being in the networking industry for a decade and a half, I’ve seen many problems come and go. The problem of management though, has frequently vexed the best of vendors. Whether it be device, network, or application management, customers appreciate better management tools and processes that can help reduce operational complexity, give them better visibility through proactive monitoring and ultimately make their assets more productive.

The management scenario in the branch office is no different. As the number of branch offices continue to grow, it is vital to ensure a seamless work experience. Data center consolidation and cloud computing are driving the concept of “lean” branch offices. However, as rich-media services and new applications pervade these distributed offices, bringing cost-effective network and application performance visibility can provide service assurance.

Cisco’s premier solution for branch offices is the Integrated Services Router Generation 2 (ISR G2). Recently, we announced the availability of the NetScout nGenius probe on the router, both in the Application Extension Platform (AXP) NME and Services Ready Engine (SRE) form factors.

The virtualized probes of NetScout’s nGenius Integrated Agent on the ISR G2 provide the same functionality as the nGenius hardware probes including packet-flow visibility, key performance indicators and short-term, on-demand packet capture.

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Four Cisco Innovations tagged as Finalists for “Best of Interop 2010″ award

It is Interop week at Las Vegas – a veritable Internetworking hotbed and dubbed the IT event of the year. Amidst the jugglers, showgirls, freebies and gizmos (I’m talking about the exhibition floor here :-)), the amount of innovation on display can be quite staggering. While a majority of topics in the conference this year are trending towards virtualization and cloud computing, it is clear that the entire Enterprise network is evolving significantly, as businesses add video, mobility and Web 2.0 to their networks.   

Speeds and feeds are still important. But also important is being able to deliver compelling business value. Can a new innovation continue to deliver on performance, while increasing uptime, saving energy, providing better manageability and in the process save cost, reduce TCO and increase productivity? Mapping a technical capability or technology advancement to business impact is important, and it is what our customers are looking for.

In fact, the Best of Interop award epitomizes this by recognizing exhibitors with innovations that have the most significant technical impact on their segment and are helping to move business technology forward.

Rendering of Cisco exhibit at Interop

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What Do Volcanoes and Security Software Have in Common?

They both demonstrate how business risks can strike in unexpected manners! A Wall Street Journal report showed that the well publicized Iceland volcano eruption was causing airlines “at least $200 million a day”. And the report continued to say that “Harder to quantify is the value of the work lost because of people being stranded”. Unrelated but in a similar outcome, many corporate employees were interrupted from their work this past week due to a security software glitch – the very software designed to protect them.

Together, these examples show that business and IT risks can come from not only terrorist attacks, cyberspace hackers, abusive internal users, but also Mother Nature and human errors.

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