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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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Looking Beyond Cost Savings with SDN and NFV

Cisco SDN and NFVA few weeks ago when we announced the Cisco APIC Enterprise Module, in response to a post by Cisco VP Jeff Reed, David had quite a lengthy comment to which I’d like to respond.  His specific question (within the full comment) was:

Do you see an upside for more value-added offerings — beyond the current anticipated cost-savings debate about the promise of SDN/NFV technologies?

First, thank you David for your questions.  In short, Yes.  At Cisco we see a lot of value in offering services to our Enterprise customers and also to our partners who offer managed services to their customers. Let me expand on this.

Cisco is fully aware of the emerging market segments with the still nascent SDN technology adoption. As you say, larger telcos and cloud service providers are looking at SDN/NFV with open hardware assessments and are more interested in scaling their deployments of multi-tenancy architectures. Whereas small and medium sized enterprises are evaluating SDN with a more application-centric approach. The main concern, given their modest investment infrastructure, (compared to the telcos and cloud service providers) is about having agile IT that can respond quickly to their business needs. Read More »

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Cisco Enterprise Networking News – Friday Roundup

I wanted to share a few fun things that happened / I learned this week and note what’s coming next.

Apologies to Hyperbole & a Half
Image via MemeMaker

1. In the last few days we had a not one but two webinars this week, but you can FIND ALL THE WEBINARS if you want.

2.  We’ve had a few great guest posts recently, too:

3. A funny video on the importance of planing your 802.11ac: Read More »

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IWAN Wed: How Glue Networks Improves the IWAN Experience with PfR

Network optimization is a touchy subject for many in the IT world, and a particularly thorny issue for the Wide Area Network (WAN). The idea that the network architecture as designed cannot meet the needs of tomorrow is the cause of much discussion, anxiety and in some cases, gnashing of teeth. However, the reality is that the rate of change of applications and ways the WAN is utilized is accelerating, and the methods of designing, testing, implementing and troubleshooting of today are not keeping pace. In addition, traditional services offered throughout the WAN only offer a partial view of the capabilities of what may be available.

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