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Why Video? Why Now?

The world is becoming flat.  Enterprises are optimizing the diverse talents and skills of employees and partners around the globe.  The challenge of globalization is to provide effective communication across distances and cultures. Enterprises must focus on improving collaboration. The use of video to communicate and collaborate, for information sharing or e-learning, is perhaps the closest alternative to actually being there, enterprises will be able to transcend physical location. For more information, Cisco conducted an interesting study, “The Psychology of Effective Business Communications in Geographically Dispersed Teams.

The cost of traveling represents a significant proportion of recurring operational expenses for many enterprises, so many of them are looking for ways to reduce travel costs. The key is to make travel more productive by reallocating travel time to videoconferencing for routine internal meetings, and using that travel budget to visit more customers. In addition to cost savings, enterprises are turning to video to show shareholders and customers that they are serious about reducing their carbon footprint and doing what they can to be a Green company.

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The medianet demo at NYC Interop 2010

Pervasive Video over the network is a topic that we’re hearing a lot about these days, with the recent Cisco launch, as well as stats being thrown around about the number of hexabites that video is consuming according to the Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI).  But where is the proof of this? And how do I deploy and maintain all this video?

Here is one way.  In case you missed last week’s Interop IT Conference and Expo in NY, on Oct. 20 and 21st, 2010, the Cisco Medianet team presented a very cool demonstration highlighting current medianet technologies: IP SLA Video Operation, and Auto Smartports were on exhibition. These technologies help organizations deploy rich media services to:
•    Accelerate and ease video application deployments
•    Assist in validation of rich media service quality
•    Diagnose video issues and reduce time to resolution of problems

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Borderless Networks: Meat to Go

Yesterday we took a look at some concrete examples of Borderless Networks in the enterprise and home office.

Today, while we have seen that there is plenty of meat in Borderless Networks in the office, Borderless Networks has plenty of meat on the road as well. Bob, our enterprise worker, travels a lot, doing tradeshows and customer visits and dispensing Kool-Aid of various types. When he knows he is going to have to do some heavy lifting with PowerPoint he is sure to take a laptop running AnyConnect, a secure VPN client that works with the Cisco ASA firewall back at HQ to give secure, encrypted remote access. Even if he is in a coffee shop using public Wi-Fi, he knows that his data is safe because everything is going back through that encrypted tunnel. But it is more than just connectivity that we are talking about here because traffic goes through a Cisco Ironport web security appliance, filtering spyware, trojans and the like. And, just like when he is in the office, TrustSec ensures that he has access to what he needs and can’t touch the things he doesn’t. Security is deeply integrated into the network itself, not just an afterthought or add-on appliance.

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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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