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Where’s the Beef? Putting some Meat into Borderless Networks

Last week, Cisco sponsored Gartner ITxpo in Orlando. By all accounts the event was a success, with around 7000 attendees, over 1000 of whom were CIOs. In John Chambers’ keynote session, Gartner’s Ken Dulaney said that he liked Borderless Networks and it set Cisco on a good course. However some customers felt that it lacked “meat.”  A few other analysts, reporters and industry writers have also indicated that they had trouble “getting it.”

I think that part of the problem is that many people understand things better when provided with concrete examples than when presented with high level statements such as “Connect anyone, anywhere, on any device.”  With that in mind, let’s look at some customer stories.

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A Journey to Reach Your Cloud, Securely

October 21, 2010 at 11:00 am PST

Clouds are popular. It’s not just because of cloud computing, you know. I was amazed to see people in St. Cloud, Minnesota talk about how much they enjoyed a new kind of cloud beds. In the computing world, businesses and organizations are fully embracing virtualization.  Customer deployments show that you can easily install ten (10) or more virtual machines (VMs) on a physical host. For example, Drilling Info, Inc, a fast growing company in Texas, is currently running about 70 VMs on 3 Cisco UCS blades. Such dramatic footprint reduction plus business agility and additional energy, administration and networking savings are powerful reasons to drive IT data center consolidation. The City and County of San Francisco, for instance, has a distributed infrastructure consisting of 40 data centers and server rooms. They are currently in a process to consolidate into a fully virtualized data center.

Since virtualization is widely considered to be a precursor to private cloud computing, does the success so far mean that the road to cloud computing is free and clear?
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Show me the Money? Not so fast…

If you had the chance to take a job offer for more money, but not have the ability to work outside the office or accept a lower pay package and have the flexibility to work anytime, from anywhere  so you could realize a work life balance – what would you do?

The Connected World Report, released yesterday, confirms that two out of three or 66 percent of the employees surveyed around the world said they would choose the lower-paying job with more flexibility.  What is even more significant about this response is it comes during a time of great economic global uncertainty.

This research is further evidence that going to a borderless network is becoming more important as the changing dynamics of businesses and employee expectations as the global workforce becomes increasingly mobile and distributed.  Employee lifestyles, inside and outside the office, are making access to corporate and personal applications and information on any device a requirement.

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One Plus One Equals What?

I was fascinated with genetics when I was young, and still to this day, I somewhat regret that I didn’t choose Life Sciences as my major. I was amazed in 2000 to see that a group of scientists under the Human Genome Project has completely sequenced genome -- a full five years before the expected date of completion. This project was considered a mega project because the human genome has billions of base-pairs, and was carried out by geneticists in many countries.

How did they do it? I’d attribute the success to collaborative efforts and the power of AND, or one plus one is greater than two. It may be hard for me to explain the laws of math behind this equation to my second grader, but this is the power that drove the success of the Human Genome Project. Today, I want to share with you another great example of this power in-force: the Cisco EnergyWise Ecosystem Partnership.

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What’s more important—time or money? What if you didn’t have to choose?

I was chatting with a colleague recently who was recounting her experience as a first-year engineer just out of school. It was a role that required designing and troubleshooting complicated networks—MPLS or ATM with intricate VPI/VCIs. Not being a technical person, the acronyms alone seemed daunting to me. But what became painfully obvious was the time and resource drain that is inherent when supporting a vast number of customers with needs that change on an ongoing basis. Without a standardized reference or blueprint, they were forced each time to create—and re-create—the wheel, over and over. It was clearly a problem in need of a solution—and an architectural one at that.

At Cisco, we’ve been talking about how Borderless Networks can transform your business—from the IT management side of things, and from the end-user experience perspective. But what helps make that a reality is the underlying architectural blueprint.

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