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Cisco Intelligent WAN Delivers on SD-WAN Business Requirements

I was excited to attend the Open Networking User Group Conference last week at Columbia University in New York. The Open Networking User Group is a community of IT business leaders who exchange ideas and best practices for implementing Open Networking and Software-Defined Networking (SDN) designs. One of the ONUG working groups is the SD-WAN Working Group which was my main interest for attending this event. The SD-WAN working group has determined a set of 10 business requirements (based on user-developed use cases) that Enterprises should consider when evaluating SD-WAN solutions:

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Learn How to Easily Consume Cisco Solutions – Cisco ONE Software Webinar

We launched Cisco ONE Software to give our customers a more valuable and flexible way to purchase and consume Cisco infrastructure software.

Since the launch, more than 300 customers have switched to this more valuable and flexible model. If you’re not one of these customers – and you are still asking, “What is Cisco ONE Software?” or “What does it mean for me?” – don’t worry. On Tuesday, May 19 we’ll be holding a web event to get you up to speed. We’ll explain what Cisco ONE Software is and how you can use it to deploy solutions for the Local Access, WAN and Data Center domains.

You can register for the event here. Or, if you’d like to be entertained first, here’s a video you can watch – click on it to access the event registration page.

Be sure to also check out this informative white paper that has just been released by analyst firm IDC. We asked IDC to evaluate our overall software strategy, and Cisco ONE Software in particular. Read More »

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Secrets to Ensuring Application Performance at the Branch

Ensuring application experience at the branch is a daunting task. IT must look beyond traditional WAN challenges (like bandwidth, transport type, and speed) to applications experience. As time-to-market becomes a pillar of enterprise’s competitive advantages, application experience is key to ensuring fast service and high customer satisfaction.

In today’s connected world, users demand instant connectivity and seamless experience. As the business innovates, the burden on the WAN intensifies, yet three-fourth (75%) of today enterprises say their bandwidth budget will remain flat[1]. IT knows this, and they plan ahead. They evolve their network into a hybrid WAN (see Figure 1), utilize the latest technologies, but application performance still suffers. Why?

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Don’t be Bewitched by the Switch – What You Need to Know when You Evaluate Solutions

It’s undeniable that the biggest convergence happening in the access layer is Wired/Wireless. Today, we’re no longer forced to treat wired and wireless any differently when it comes to network visibility and management. However, the unification of Wired/Wireless doesn’t come without its own challenges and complexity.

As we’ve seen with the latest switching announcement at Interop 2015, there is a lot of noise in the marketplace and customers and partners increasingly need to cut through this to achieve their IT goals and meet today’s increasing demands on the network and the demands of tomorrow.

Earlier this week, HP made false claims about our Catalyst 4500E switch. To help you out, here is what you need to know about Cisco switching and, specifically, our Catalyst 4500E switch:

  • As the world becomes increasingly more digital, there is an elevated need for a flexible and scalable network to address rapid shifts in technology use and its associated traffic. We’ve seen tremendous demand for our modular switches that supply the best flexibility for this change. In fact, Cisco has the industry’s most widely deployed modular access switches with a modular PoE port share that just reached an all time high of 81.5 percent.
  • To tackle the biggest convergence in the access layer, Catalyst 4500E supports built-in wireless controller capabilities and delivers common intelligent services across wired and wireless for security and policy, application visibility and control, network resiliency, smart operations, and more.
  • Cisco’s Catalyst Multigigabit (mGig) technology available across the access portfolio including the Catalyst 4500E can prepare customers’ access switches for the next wave in wireless, 802.11ac wave 2 by delivering speeds beyond 1 Gigabit on existing Category 5e cables. This technology also supports PoE, PoE+, and Cisco Universal PoE (UPOE) so you don’t need to install new electrical circuits to power your access points.
  • Cisco’s modular access switch portfolio offers backward compatibility with up to three generation of line-cards providing unmatched investment protection – 2x in terms of number of years over other vendors.
  • A key operational consideration for IT is to maximize uptime and provide seamless code upgrades. In Service software upgrades (ISSU) have been available on Cisco’s 4500E portfolio for almost a decade
  • The Catalyst 4500E has unmatched scale to meet the needs of a customer’s network and future proof for an influx of new devices – 25X route entries, 16X multicast entries & 42X Security/QoS entries when compared to other vendors.
  • As IoT trends upward, more “things” connect to the access network and it is key that the network is able to scale to meet these needs – Cisco offers 33 percent more scale in terms of POE+ ports and 50 percent more POE+ scale for redundant power deployments to connect more users, devices and things. Additionally, Cisco supports UPOE, which future-proofs our customers for upcoming applications requiring more than 30W/port.
  • Security is a top of mind for our customers and Cisco offers a complete end-to-end solution with support for MacSec, Cisco TrustSec, Identity Services Engine and Flexible Netflow, providing the best in class network encryption, segmentation and networking sensing solutions.
  • The Catalyst 4500E is designed for supporting rich media services with its superior multicast scale and design. Cisco Catalyst 4500 is designed to support hardware accelerated multicast with deep buffers. The Cisco Catalyst 4500E accommodates up to nine times larger data bursts, delivered to otherwise loaded output ports, without loss.
  • Cisco Catalyst 4500E supports a multitude of capabilities that support IT simplicity and smart operations. Examples: Simplified provisioning with Plug and Play, Simplified configuration of switches & interfaces with AutoConfiguration and Interface templates and faster troubleshooting with embedded wireshark, a world-class protocol analyzer.

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Bringing Up a New Branch Site the Easy Way with Prime Infrastructure – Part 5

Last week, I concentrated on how to use Cisco Prime Infrastructure to do troubleshooting for your network. Today, as the 5th and final post of my 5-part blog series, I’ll look at how to maintain network health for your branch site users with Prime. As a quick recap, here’s my blog series on how to set up networking with Prime for a new branch site.

WAN deployment – blog 1
Converged wired and wireless  – blog 2
Application performance – blog 3
Troubleshooting – blog 4
Network health – blog 5 (this blog)
 steve song blog 5 pic 1

As designed, you have successfully brought up your new branch site and the network is now in production. And you are well prepared to troubleshoot if anything goes wrong. Before you declare “mission accomplished”, there is one more step you can take to achieve long-term success. Just like preventive healthcare can help a person to stay healthy, Prime gives you a number of tools to monitor and maintain your network health. By making full use of these tools, you are prepared to address potential issues before they impact your network.

With Prime, you can
– Keep track of network changes with network topology maps and Device 360
° Views;
– Maintain centralized visualization across multiple Prime instances with Operations Center ; and
– Stay engaged with Cisco support integration

One of the things that always excites network engineers and managers is an accurate network topology map. Prime Infrastructure can provide such a map for you, which includes all your branch sites and main campus site. If there are any changes, you’ll know right away. Or, if you want to know more details, you can drill down to each networking device with Prime Device 360° View. The chart below shows a portion of Cisco’s production network topology map. Read More »

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