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Embracing the Internet of Everything with Customer-centric Innovation

Customer-centric innovation is part of Cisco’s DNA. We are constantly seeking to anticipate and drive market transitions and help solve our customers’ business challenges in a fast-changing world. These challenges are driven by multiple factors such as volatile markets, new requirements to the workforce and eventually most important, the digital disruption happening in nearly every market segment, vertical and geography around the globe. A Chairman of the Board at a major global automotive company recently said: “The automotive industry will foresee more disruption in this decade, than it saw in the last century.” The key drivers are new technologies and the opportunity, which occurs once we are combining people, processes, data and things. A concept Cisco describes as the Internet of Everything.

The Internet of Everything (IoE) is without any doubt the most significant market transition of our time. It creates unprecedented opportunities for companies, governments, cities and people, delivering true outcome. At the same time, it changes how innovation is being done: companies open up their R&D labs, ideas emerge and get funded in the social space. Customers around the world reach out to us and ask for our support in innovating their business, responding to Digital Disruption and aligning their business model to ongoing changes.

To bring customer-centric innovation to life, it is crucial to bring together the right parties: industrial and IT partners for developing and rapid prototyping, startups and accelerators to identify trends and turn them into business ideas. Cooperation with governments, academia and research institutes complements the picture.

With the announcement of openBerlin, Cisco is making an important step in its strategy of open, customer-centric innovation. openBerlin is one of six new Cisco IoE Innovation Center locations around the globe and the only one focusing on transportation, manufacturing and logistics, leveraging on the strengths and future potential of Europe in all of these areas.  Part of the center is an R&D lab, dedicated to the development of industry solutions and solutions for specific customer requirements.

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Cisco CEO John Chambers Statement on Larry Ellison

September 18, 2014 at 2:33 pm PST

“Larry Ellison is one of the top technology CEOs of all time. The positive impact he has had on the industry is unquestioned. Safra Catz and Mark Hurd together are a powerful and world class team. I look forward to a continued strong partnership with Oracle.”

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Cisco Announces Intent to Acquire Memoir Systems

Today, I am pleased to announce Cisco’s intent to acquire privately held Memoir Systems, a company that develops semiconductor memory intellectual property (IP) and tools that enable ASIC vendors to build programmable network switches with increasing speeds. This acquisition will enable the proliferation of affordable, fast memory for existing Cisco switch ASICs and will help advance Cisco’s ASIC innovations necessary to meet next-generation IT requirements.

Currently in the data center switching market, denser infrastructure and data-intensive workloads are driving demand for higher port density (feeds) and greater bitrates (speeds). At the same time, the accelerating growth of scale-out (non-virtualized) Big Data applications like Hadoop are driving increasing East-West data traffic – furthering the need for greater data center network density. Unfortunately, the physical memory in typical ASIC switch chips cannot cope with the design requirements for these more intense needs and as a result, can become the bottleneck that limits the density and performance of future data center switches.

To help solve the ASIC memory issue, Memoir currently licenses soft-logic IP, which speeds up memory access by up to 10 times. It also reduces the overall footprint this memory takes up in typical switch ASICs.  As a result, this technology allows the development of switch and router ASICs with speeds, feeds, and costs typically not possible with traditional physical memory design techniques. This differentiation is critically important as port densities and port speeds move from 10G to 40/100G.

The acquisition of Memoir Systems is expected to close in the first quarter of Cisco’s fiscal year 2015. The Memoir team will report into Cisco’s Insieme Business Unit, under Senior Vice President, Mario Mazzola.

I look forward to seeing Memoir’s technology used across Cisco’s future ASIC projects. Memoir’s technology and strong team will allow Cisco to continue to innovate at the chip level and advance our ASIC and overall networking strategies.

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Cisco Announces Intent to Acquire Metacloud

Today, Cisco takes another important step towards realizing our plans to create the world’s largest global Intercloud – a worldwide network of interconnected clouds and cloud service providers.

Our intent to acquire Metacloud, an OpenStack-based private cloud-as-a-service company, advances our strategy and delivers value to customers—right now. Metacloud provides IT teams with another way to accelerate their journey to the cloud and to gain an on-ramp to the Intercloud. By catalyzing the creation of the Intercloud, Cisco can fundamentally transform how IT and cloud services are bought, sold, aggregated and consumed.

Cisco’s vision is for an OpenStack-based Intercloud that allows organizations and users to combine and move high-value workloads – including data and applications – across different public or private clouds as needed. Doing so easily and securely, while maintaining essential network and security policies as well as full compliance with local data sovereignty laws, is critical.

Metacloud deploys, operates and manages OpenStack-based production-ready private clouds in any customer data center. Together, Cisco and Metacloud will enable the creation of hybrid cloud environments that combine service provider public cloud deployments with remotely-managed OpenStack private clouds. Bottom line for customers: More agility for less money.

Our customers and partners see the value proposition clearly and have rallied around Cisco’s Intercloud vision and strategy over the last year. Many leading companies are working with us in the adoption of the Intercloud. Among them, key service providers and cloud providers, as well as important technology partners, including Dimension Data, Johnson Controls, NetApp, Red Hat, Sungard, Telstra, and VCE.

Metacloud will become a critical part of our Cloud Services portfolio under the leadership of Faiyaz Shahpurwala.

Stay tuned for more details in the weeks to come!

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Dynamic Cyber Attacks Call for Dynamic Controls

Last month’s earthquake in Napa Valley got me thinking. In earthquake-prone areas, new construction is being built to move dynamically to withstand shocks and tremors. Innovative materials and designs sway and bend to provide better protection. But older buildings based on traditional, static design concepts can suffer devastating damage in an earthquake and its aftershocks.

It’s similar to the journey we’re on in the security industry, which is scaling to better address the harsh realities we face as defenders. At Cisco, we track this journey through a scale of controls we refer to as  the Security Operations Maturity Model, which moves from static to human intervention to semi-automatic to dynamic and, ultimately, predictive controls. I will talk more about this scale in the coming weeks, but for now, let’s focus on the need for most organizations to shift to dynamic controls.

We all know that the security landscape is constantly evolving and attackers are innovating in lockstep with rapid changes in technology. In fact, as I talk with security professionals daily about the challenges they face, a few consistent points come up:

  • As new business models are built on innovations in mobility, cloud, the Internet of Things (IoT) and Everything (IoE), security solutions and processes must become more dynamic and more scalable to keep up with the change;
  • Further, as hacking has matured and become industrialized, the security models used to defend need to mature as well; and
  • Finally, there’s too much complexity, fragmentation, and cost in legacy security deployments.

A recent malicious advertising attack called “Kyle and Stan”, discovered by our Talos Security Intelligence and Research Group, demonstrates the challenges defenders are up against -- read their full post here. Posing as legitimate advertisers, cybercriminals contact the major advertisement networks to try to get them to display an ad with a malicious payload packed inside of legitimate software – spyware, adware, and browser hijacks, for example. They target popular websites and instruct the companies to run the ad for just a few minutes, leaving little or no time for the ad content to be inspected. In this case, malvertising victims were faced with an often-unprompted download of what appeared to be legitimate software with a hidden malicious payload. The malware droppers employ a range of clever techniques to continuously mutate in order to avoid detection by traditional, point-in-time systems.

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