What comes to mind when you think of Borderless Networks? For many people, the idea of universal and seamless connectivity evokes images of always on smart phones, videoconference technology, and collaboration applications like WebEx. These technologies are certainly a big part of the Borderless Networks vision, but it’s also important to look past the immediately visible end points of interaction to all the stuff going on in the background. You’ll realize that this “stuff” is in fact the network, an underlying architecture that makes all of these transformational applications and end points possible.
Interop New York 2009 kicked off with a keynote by Marie Hattar, Cisco VP of Network Systems and Security, on “Business Transformation in a World Without Borders” This keynote was followed up with a lot of buzz on the show floor about what this world without borders means to IT and how Cisco’s Borderless Networks makes it a reality. So what is Borderless Networks and what does it really mean to IT professionals?
If you ask me (aka Cisco), I will tell you that it is Cisco’s next-generation architecture, that delivers the new workspace experience, connecting anyone, anywhere, using any device, to any resource — securely, reliably, seamlessly. What it means to me is that I can be more productive and work anytime from anywhere. As eloquent as that may sound, I am betting that you would like to hear what IT professionals have to say – right? Then check out this video with candid responses when we asked from the show floor “What is Borderless Networks and what does that mean to you?” Do you agree with these IT professionals or do you have a different view? If you are at Interop, please stop by the Cisco booth and tell us what you think. If you are not at Interop or if you prefer the virtual world, please respond to this blog.
What do you think Borderless Networks is and what does it mean to you?
Cisco’s Borderless Networks initiative comes at a time when network technology is more important than ever before in driving growth and ROI for businesses. Connecting anyone, at any time, anywhere in the world, and improving your ability to effectively deliver critical applications and services, requires a paradigm shift away from a “plumbing” view of the network. The network doesn’t just pump data from one place to another. In a time increasingly defined by video communication, wireless connectivity and cloud computing, having a strong network provides real strategic business value everyday. The same is true for the fundamental core of the network (i.e. routing and switching) as it is for newer extensions that the core supports, such as virtualization and video conferencing.
Industry standards and open systems deliver a wealth of advantages to all network operators — global enterprises, government agencies small and medium-sized businesses, service providers, and even homeowners. Holding technology vendors to a high standard (Pardon the pun.) with respect to developing, implementing, certifying, and delivering open and standardized solutions is a key success factor for network operators looking to maximize the flexibility and cost-effectiveness of their networks.
When examining the role of technology vendors within the standards process, it is important to understand that many levels of commitment and participation are possible. After all, most vendors will state they are firmly committed to industry standards and open systems. As proof of this commitment, every vendor will point to their respective product specifications for the always-present list of supported standards. While these lists provide a good starting point in determining how committed vendors are to delivering standardized solutions, they are just that, a start. In essence, these compliance specifications serve as the initial (and lowest) setting for the “open standards” bar. The true standards bearers are prepared and have proven to jump over a much higher bar.
So how does one judge the level of commitment of a vendor to industry standards and open systems?
A few weeks ago Cisco launched the ISR G2 and introduced the concept of “Borderless Networks.” Borderless Networks summarizes an architecture, or better yet – an implementation of the network that allows you to work the way you want anytime, anywhere, using any device, to connect to any resource. A Borderless Branch, for instance, would allow remote offices and workers to connect to the network without having to think about it, knowing all their transactions are secure and expecting a quality experience every time they connect.