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Better Together – The Inevitable Integration of Networks and Rich Media Applications – Part 1

December 10, 2010 at 10:31 am PST

Enterprises are beginning to take video seriously and its integration into every day business is starting to become commonplace. Rich media collaboration is no longer just about video conferencing, it now covers everything from Telepresence to desktop video with existing web conferencing solutions adopting video as part of the user experience. Added to this, we have digital signage in retail stores and sports stadiums and corporate TV solutions to get messages out to the troops. Even long standing solutions like surveillance are migrating from their closed circuit environments and migrating to IP based infrastructures to gain the benefits of cost reduction and a common physical security platform. The common denominator to these trends is the converged IP network. Just as it was for unified communications and the migration of TDM voice to IP voice, the same transition is occurring for rich media applications. But the question is how ready are today’s Enterprise networks to support these new demands and what will the industry need to do to deliver multiple concurrent rich media applications on the same infrastructure?

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Cisco’s Internet Router in Space

Brad Boston, Cisco Senior Vice President in the Global Government Solutions Group, discusses the recent milestones in Cisco’s Internet Router in Space program, including the first-ever software upgrade of an Internet Protocol router aboard a commercial satellite while in orbit, as well as completing the industry’s first VoIP call made without the use of any terrestrial infrastructure to route the call.

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International Borderless Young Thing

I’m going to date myself here, but when the Berlin Wall came down I was lucky enough to go over to Berlin and trade smokes through holes with the East German guards on the other side. I have a piece of the wall, a chunk of cement with paint on it, somewhere. CNN was disruptive new media, mobile phones cost $1400 and you could talk on them for $1/minute. The Internet was a curiosity for academic and government use; many mail servers were run as open relays and a good dialup modem would get you 14,000 bps. Networks were simpler too, for the most part you were either inside the building and on the network or you were not on the network. Work was both a place and a verb.

The British pop band Jesus Jones captured perfectly the zeitgeist of those days with the song “International Bright Young Thing” which I first heard in a friend’s apartment in Kyoto. The refrain “Right here, right now, there’s no other place I would rather be,” seemed so perfect, so right.

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Flexibility Does Not Equal Complexity

Recently, SearchNetworking posted an interesting article titled “NetFlow v9 is powerful, so why isn’t anyone using it?” Shamus discusses many of the benefits of NetFlow v9:  deeper visibility into application traffic flows and application performance, and the ability to use NetFlow to consolidate and enhance other network management functions.  However, he ends on a sour note:  “but the technology is more complex to learn than the good old reliable v5.  Still enterprises will eventually be forced to make the transition.”

In his article, Shamus points out that customers may feel intimidated by the complexity of NetFlow v9.  I’d like to address this concern with a response.   If you are of my generation, you will no doubt remember carbureted automobile engines.

Maybe you or your dad spent Saturday afternoons tinkering with one in the garage, or maybe you were just caught off-guard when one morning the car wouldn’t start.  Netflow v5 is a lot like a carbureted engine:  it is very common, anyone familiar with it knows how it works, and it is easy to set-up.  Now, let’s fast-forward to the current generation of technology.

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Cloud Ready WAN Optimization Solution with the New Cisco WAAS 4.3.1

Cisco WAAS Business Unit is excited to announce the general availability of WAAS 4.3.1 release!

The new Cisco WAAS 4.3.1 includes virtual WAAS (vWAAS) integrated with Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) and Cisco Nexus 1000V, provides uniform WAAS central management to the WAAS Express devices and improved optimizations for Cloud (SaaS) applications like Microsoft Office 365 (BPOS -- Business Productivity Online Standard Suite).

Cisco vWAAS enables the transition to public and private clouds and is a key proof point in the Cisco Unified Network Services (UNS) pillar, a central part of the Cisco Data Center Business Advantage architecture. UNS includes Virtual WAAS (vWAAS), Virtual Security Gateway (VSG) and future services integrated with Nexus 1000V and UCS that differentiates Cisco’s cloud architecture while enabling a gradual transition from physical to virtualized environments.

Cisco WAAS Express extends the WAAS portfolio by offering a cost-effective IOS-based Cisco WAN optimization in the next generation Integrated Service Router -- ISR G2 routers.  WAAS Express, WAAS on SRE (Service Ready Engine) on ISR G2, and WAAS appliances interoperate seamlessly as part of the Cisco Borderless Networks architecture.  Customers and/or Partners can take advantage of Year-End-Sprint offer as part of the router refresh program.

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