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Cutting the Cord on WANs

Rething your WANTraditional network design dictated that each branch was connected to headquarters or the datacenter where mission critical applications were hosted with dedicated and redundant connections. These Wide Area Network (WAN) connections were typically MPLS circuits that came with service level agreements that guaranteed quality.  Typically, there were two circuits to provide fail-over capabilities – the secondary line is commonly an underused or unused safety net. It worked well, it was expensive and it was the cost of doing business for companies dependent on a global reach or being closer to the customer.

With new applications, device proliferation and cloud destined traffic patterns, companies are being forced to rethink the efficiency of this old model.  In today’s use cases, branches are simply exceeding the capabilities of these traditional connections and new technology makes moot paying the premium for point-to-point dedicated lines.

In fact, Tech Target findings note that 80% percent of a company’s staff reside in a branch or satellite office environment.  This new paradigm completely upturns the traditional thinking of budgeting the majority of your traffic within a LAN and only reserving the WAN for incidental traffic.  Furthermore, backhauling cloud and guest traffic over expensive MPLS pipes, only to then send it to the Internet creates unnecessary expense and latency. And as traffic volumes explode with cloud, video and other apps, costs for dedicated MPLS lines skyrocket and the user experience suffers.   For many global companies, relying solely on MPLS lines has simply become an unsustainable model.

With the Internet’s significant evolution in terms of performance and reliability in the last 10 years, it now holds the potential for the most efficient and effective path for the oncoming flood of data. Read More »

Get Your Mobile Workspace Solution now – from Cisco and Citrix

Mobility and Strategy InitiativesHaving an enterprise-wide mobility strategy provides a competitive advantage as a recent IT survey from Cisco concluded.  Working with many customers over the last couple of years we have come to recognize that mobility is a multi-stage journey that every organization is taking at its own pace. While some of you might think of this journey as just getting your employees’ devices onto your network, there is significantly more to the journey – device-focused leads to application-focused, which then leads to experiences-focused.

Being a dad to my 5-month old son, I can relate our customers’ mobility journey to the 3 stages a child goes through in his first year as they learn to be mobile – roll, crawl, and walk!

Babies start off without the ability to move from one spot to the next– think of this as your enterprise 10 years ago before the popularization of smartphones.  Then babies learn to roll.  Suddenly, the world opens up to them.  This is the first stage of the mobility journey – similar to a device focused BYOD strategy.  The focus here is to provide a secure onboarding experience for your users while having the right policies in place to enable context-aware secure access control. The Cisco Unified Access solution – with ISE for policy, Prime Infrastructure for management, and converged wired and wireless network – provides the foundation for enable this BYOD solution.  However, would you really want to stop at the rolling stage of development?

The next step for kids is learning to crawl. This is often the most exciting stage as kids can now move with intent. Crawling provides true mobility to the kid as he can explore the fascinating world around him and get access to all his toys. This is the application-focused strategy in your mobility journey. Now that you have enabled secure access for your workforce, you can decide on the right set of applications to enable your workforce to be productive – on the go. This is where Cisco has been working with our ecosystem partners to provide a complete mobile workspace solution.

One of these ecosystem partners is Citrix and in this blog, I’d like to highlight a first-of-its-kind solution for employee mobility, that Cisco & Citrix have developed in close collaboration.

This new Cisco Mobile Workspace Solution with Citrixbuilt on the Citrix Workspace Suiteprovides the complete hardware and software technology stack for delivering all the applications, content, and tools workers need on any device. This new Workspace Solution is excellent for companies moving into the second stage of their mobility journey – where their focus is on providing all the applications, content and services their employees need on their devices.

This solution can help your employees, partners, and consultants work and collaborate on their mobile and desk devices, from pretty much anywhere. Read More »

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The Value of Certifications – A Top Five List

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I’m new to the blog writing world but have been in the networking industry for several years now.  When I got started back in 2007, I was working my first job after graduating college and was recruited into a communications role, fresh out of the help desk, which I had landed the year prior. Cisco’s career certifications program literally picked up where schooling left off and helped me find my career passion and carve a path.  So here following, I’m going to give my top five reasons for certifying and continuing to climb Everest.

  1. As the saying goes, “You don’t know what you don’t know”. When you learn on the job, it’s one thing to get something implemented but it’s another to truly understand how it works. Certification forces you to go back and fill in the knowledge gaps. Read More »

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IWAN Wed: The Case for Direct Internet Breakout at Branch and IWAN

Simplify Branch Security with ISRCloud services and SaaS applications is enabling customers to accelerate their business processes and improve employee productivity while lowering their total IT spending. The Cisco IWAN solution is helping organizations adopt cloud applications with an improved user experience by enabling local internet breakout from the branch environment, thus helping eliminate the need to backhaul internet-bound traffic across the WAN link. This helps provide the user improved experience through lower latency for not only internet applications, but also free up bandwidth for application on the WAN link. The reduced WAN link usage also means lower IT spending those links.

However, a study commissioned by Cisco during Jan’14 from 641 customers from US and Europe on their MPLS usage and adoption of local internet breakout found that 68% of the customers responded that enabling direct internet access was an organizational focus for them.  However, 54% of the total respondents reported that lack of sufficient security at the branch environment hindered them from enabling local internet breakout at the branch. This was ranked as the #1 reason to not enable Direct Internet Access at branch sites.

Read More »

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Mo’ Traffic, Mo’ Problems: How to Turbo Charge Business Growth across the WAN

Today’s successful business leaders recognize that mobile apps, immersive web content and high definition video are all essential to elevating customer engagement and empowering employees – not to mention growing revenue and increasing productivity.

But as the Internet of Everything becomes a reality, and introduces seemingly endless opportunities to connect more people, more devices, and more content across a highly distributed network – global Internet traffic is expected to triple by 2017 (Cisco VNI, 2013), and frankly, today’s WAN architecture is beginning to show its age. Ultimately, our customers will need to rethink their current network to accommodate the increase in traffic.

Those deployments will be critical for in-branch revenue growth in verticals like retail – where a connected digital experience for customers and employees can deliver superior performance for a host of cloud applications including eCatalogs, Omni-channel engagement, in store mobile apps, guest Wi-Fi and product demos. This trend also extends to other verticals: Read More »

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