Cisco Blogs


Cisco Blog > Enterprise Networks

On The Edge: Managing Exponential Change – Remotely

“…at today’s rate of change, we will achieve an amount of progress equivalent to that of the whole 20th century in 14 years ….” - Ray Kurzweil

Evidence and theories on the increasing rate of change are everywhere. From Moore’s Law to Haitz’s Law to Metcalfe’s Law, most experts agree that the speed, and therefore the value of networks, is increasing exponentially, as is our dependence on them.

With more business, culture and innovative value riding on our networks than ever before, I.T. managers everywhere are feeling increasing pressure and responsibility to keep things running smoothly, and yet they’re geographically more challenged as organizations expand globally.

Fortunately, cloud technologies are addressing some of the I.T. challenges associated with provisioning new applications remotely. For example, you can now deploy and run the most common Microsoft Window services such as file and print sharing, DHCP, and DNS, as well as many third party applications, on a blade integrated into the router itself. But I.T. needs more than virtualized services – they also need remote visibility and performance management to ensure that everyone on the network – particularly branch employees and customers – are getting maximum value and responsiveness from cloud-based applications.

Read More »

Tags: , , ,

Ready for World IPv6 Day – June 8? Get ready on 6/6 with #IPv6Chat and @CiscoGeeks

In case you’ve been living under a rock, World IPv6 Day is June 8.  Many companies will participate, including Cisco. In fact, we’ve got a full day of festivities planned. From the Running of the IT Admins to the Fire Walking Of Threat Researchers, it should be a fun day.

To answer any last-minute questions and assuage your completely founded anxieties, we’re having an IPv6 TweetChat on June 6. Think of it as a nice way to ease into your morning if you’re on the west coast or a random amusement if you’re elsewhere.

TwitLatin With Bullhorns

What’s a TweetChat? Very simple. If you’re on Twitter, you ask and answer questions and add a hashtag somewhere in your tweet to identify it as part of the conversation. You can keep an eye out for others using this hashtag (via search) and see the flow of the conversation. For this chat use #IPv6Chat.

On the day of the event (June 6 – Monday! At 9-10am PDT), you can follow the conversation with hashtag #IPv6Chat on any of your favorite Twitter clients or directly on Twitter. <http://twitter.com/#!/search/%23IPv6Chat>  We will also be giving away 25 t-shirts to customers who ask questions.  Read the full terms and agreements.

More IPv6

If you’re too excited about IPv6 to wait till June 6, you can check out Cisco’s very own IPv6 page, or review some of the blogs written by my very talented colleagues.

Tags: , , ,

Nothing for World IPv6 Day

After months of anticipation, World IPv6 Day is nearly upon us.  Network equipment vendors, network service providers and networked enterprises have all diligently prepared and for twenty-four hours on June 8th we will all get to experience the fruits of that labor when more than three hundred websites offer their content using IPv6 in addition to IPv4.  If everyone has done their job right, what do we expect to happen?

Nothing.

That’s right.  The best outcome of World IPv6 Day would be a completely unchanged end-user experience, regardless of the fact that they now can use a new underlying network protocol.

Get Ready for Nothing

In order to best ensure that nothing happens, IT professionals should seek out latent IPv6 problems that may suddenly manifest themselves when so much IPv6 traffic appears.  What steps should you take to ensure that you experience nothing?

Until June 9th, the Cisco Technical Support Website will display a banner which tests the most common failure mode expected on World IPv6 Day.  Using some Javascript magic, the banner predicts the readiness of the host from which a visitor connects.  Ideally, the visitor will see teal text and a check mark icon indicating success, but a visitor who sees red text and an X icon may have a potential connectivity problem.

Even if the visitor can achieve the coveted check mark on that banner, it would not hurt to conduct a few more tests.

Read More »

Tags: ,

On Moving, Home Renovations and other Natural Disasters

Last week I was without Internet.

Compared to the people who have been without a home over the past several months through floods, earthquakes, tsunamis and tornados, it sounds rather trivial. I was only dealing with some renovations which involved moving my home office and waiting for the cable guy.

Still, to my 7 and 9 year old, not being able to connect to Moshi Monsters and Club Penguin was a big deal. As for me, I managed to get by, tethering to my iPhone and physically going into the office more than usual.

But it got me thinking about our reliance on the physical and what that means in the context of the cloud.

Following the floods up in Queensland, Australia, I heard a story about a cloud-based managed service provider. As the floodwaters receded, they hired a bunch of sales folks who went around to every small office and retailer in the region and told them to call before they spent their insurance money buying new computers.  Why buy a bunch of servers to run MYOB or Quicken and risk floods, fire and theft, when you can run everything including your POS out of the cloud?

But when you don’t have an Internet connection, the cloud is of little use.

Google is facing this exact dilemma with its upcoming Chromebook release, and is providing offline support for Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Docs—something they apparently have been running internally for the past several months. Interestingly though, based on both the Cr-48 pilot release and earlier internal conversations, it would seem that there is a view within Google that begins with the assumption of always-on connectivity to the cloud.  “When people use our Google Docs, there are no more files. You just start editing in the cloud, and there’s never a file.” And so offline support becomes the exception, instead of the rule.

Of course, when you hit that exception, knowing exactly how your business will continue to run is crucial.

Clearly, there are trade-offs to be made. Without an Internet connection, I can’t access my cloud based applications and data, but neither can I send and receive email or verify credit card transactions. What do I need to be able to do even in an offline state, and what applications are useless to me unless I’m online?

What are the options for WAN redundancy? When I learned about the Japanese earthquakes and tsunamis, I knew my friend was safe was from his Facebook postings. While he didn’t have power, his phone still worked. For individuals, perhaps tethering is the right solution; for a small branch, 3G backhaul as a failover option in the router may be more cost effective.

Ultimately, the answer will be that there is no single answer.  Not only is every business different, but each application and its use will be different. It’s only when you take stock of those applications that you understand where your own requirements lie.

I needed to stay connected to do my job while the renovation work was being done. But my kids… they read a book instead.

Stay mobile. Stay secure.

—Mark

Tags: , , , , , ,

Cisco Has a Cool New Network Management Solution – Really?

I recently staffed the Cisco booth at Interop, Las Vegas where we introduced Cisco Prime for Enterprise, a new network management strategy and product portfolio.  I had buttons made that said “Ask Me About Cisco Prime for Enterprise” to help facilitate questions and because I’m a tech marketing geek who likes to wear buttons.

Interop was my first tradeshow since I transitioned to Cisco network management from the Cisco wireless/mobility team where I recently led WLAN management marketing.  I’ve always believed in the value of network management – especially when it’s done right.  As I talked with Interop attendees, two questions kept repeating:

  • What is Cisco Prime for Enterprise?
  • Are you sure Cisco has an innovative network management solution – Really?  As of when?

Read More »

Tags: ,