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Fast IT Workshop #1: Beyond SDN _ Expanding the Conversation

As business leaders navigate an increasingly complex world of connections, they need IT to dynamically respond to their needs. This four-part blog series explores how responsive and programmable infrastructure helps IT leaders succeed. Today’s post highlights how Fast IT, a new model of IT, encompasses a broader focus of next-generation infrastructure and how it can drive business value.

To read the second post in this series by Jim Grubb which discusses a roadmap to adopt a Fast IT model, click here. To read the third post in this series by Doug Webster which highlights how service providers specifically stand to benefit from Fast IT, click here. To read the fourth and final post in this series by Jeff Reed which explores how a Fast IT model can mitigate infrastructure challenges, click here.

Lately, there has been a lot of chatter around what software-defined networking (SDN) really is. Initially, SDN was a term used to explain the concept of splitting the forwarding plane from the control plane with the added benefit of automation and orchestration. However, recently SDN has become a “buzzword” attached to products that vendors are trying to sell as explained by Network Computing’s Tom Hollingsworth.

Critics of SDN say that it means too many things to too many different people, making what was once network architecture into a philosophy. This was affirmed by Colin Bannon, Chief Architect and CTO, British Telecom, as heard in this recording of the “Business Implications of Software-Defined Networking” panel discussion at Cisco Live Milan in January. During the panel, he suggested SDN means one of three things:

  1. Centralized control which is especially popular with data center,
  2. Centralized control but with lots of distributed intelligence, or
  3. A software programmability into existing infrastructure, meaning more of an orchestration set.

Tim Zimmerman, Research Vice President, Gartner, echoed this sentiment at this same SDN panel: “SDN tends to have a meaning for everybody. It’s not always the same meaning for each person who asks the question.” He added, “We have to worry a little about using it to mean everything. I encourage people to ask the additional questions to ensure they’re getting the right answers when we explore what SDN means to them.”

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At Cisco, we know that the old way of doing things won’t work anymore and SDN seems to solve many issues organizations face today with programmability. However, we want to expand the conversation beyond just SDN to include application-centricity, automation, virtualization, and orchestration. We’ve labeled these types of capabilities Fast IT. Fast IT is a new model for IT with a drive for less complexity, more agility, and comprehensive security. With the majority of IT budgets tied up in manual processes, IT struggles to free up resources needed to deliver innovative technology services to the business. IT must deliver value faster, and be more agile and less complex in responding to changing business needs. IT must enable the business to innovate and achieve business outcomes faster through a simple, smart and secure IT model.

So, what do IT leaders need to do?

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Cisco Announces Intent to Acquire ThreatGRID

For cyber attackers, and those who defend against them, the stakes could not be higher than they are right now.  There’s no question that security is a top priority for organizations and the threat landscape is more dynamic than ever. Given the explosion in the amount of information being created and exchanged, driven by mobility, cloud computing, and the Internet of Everything (IoE), the number of cyber attacks will continue to increase—and with greater speed and complexity. Companies need threat-centric security solutions to address the full attack continuum – before, during, and after an attack.

Today, I am pleased to announce Cisco’s intent to acquire ThreatGRID, headquartered in New York, NY. ThreatGRID offers dynamic malware analysis and threat intelligence technology, both on-premise and in the cloud. This helps organizations and security teams defend proactively against and quickly respond to advanced cyber attacks and malware outbreaks.

The acquisition of ThreatGRID and its team of security innovators strengthen Cisco’s security strategy to deliver intelligent and comprehensive cybersecurity for the real world. ThreatGRID’s technology enhances Cisco’s Advanced Malware Protection (AMP) portfolio, originally developed by Sourcefire, acquired in 2013. ThreatGRID’s on-premise products also expand our ability to help protect customers with in-house data retention requirements. AMP addresses our customers’ security needs from network to endpoint and delivers comprehensive malware-defeating capabilities, including detection and blocking, continuous analysis and retrospective remediation of advanced threats. The combination of Cisco and ThreatGRID will enhance our already strong capabilities to aggregate and correlate data to identify advanced and evasive cyber threats and provide intelligent cybersecurity solutions for the real world.

Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) and investments are a key part of our innovation strategy that includes build, buy, partner, and integrate. This acquisition further supports Cisco’s priority to deliver innovative security offerings and to be the number one IT company, and security partner, to our customers. The acquisition is expected to close in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2014. We are very excited to welcome ThreatGRID’s outstanding team and technology to Cisco.

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Cisco is Moving Fast with our Partners to deliver on the Promise of an Intercloud

It’s hard to believe it was only eight weeks ago that I announced Cisco’s $1B investment in a bold Intercloud strategy to 10,000 partners and colleagues in Las Vegas..

Today, Cisco announced additional Intercloud partners and offerings, and on the main stage at our 25th anniversary Cisco Live! event in San Francisco this morning, I’ll demonstrate how fast we’ve been able to move by driving a partner-centric Cloud strategy.

FYI: You can watch my keynote on the Cisco Live web site.

Our customers have been asking Cisco to expand beyond our hosted collaboration and SaaS offerings (such as WebEx, Meraki and Cisco Cloud Web Security) with a richer set of cloud services. Today, in San Francisco, we are announcing a substantial expansion of those services with new infrastructure-as-a-service offerings and cloud disaster recovery applications that leverage the cloud platforms of new Intercloud partners Dimension Data and Sungard Availability Services. They join Telstra as our first Intercloud partners.

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Cisco Live Kicks Off and the “IoE Machine” Comes Alive!

Billboard[2]Cisco Live kicked off this morning with more than 20,000 attendees storming the streets of San Francisco and the Moscone Convention Center. I am so excited to be hosting Cisco Live again this year – especially because it’s the 25th Anniversary of this event, and this year we’re back in the city that inspired our company’s name and logo.

As attendees are getting settled in for an action-packed week, I want to highlight two dynamic experiences not to be missed at this year’s conference:  our  Internet of Everything (IoE) Machine – a 20-by-20 foot interactive installation – and five Connected City interactive bus shelters. Both experiences simulate a journey through a connected city, showing how Cisco technology helps cities run like clockwork by connecting people, process, data and things.

Every day, in every city, an event takes place.  It could be a baseball game, a music concert or even an innovative conference like Cisco Live. No matter what it is, this event puts pressure on the host city around traffic, energy usage, etc.   But the Internet of Everything takes the stress off cities by making airports, roads, power grids, recycling cans, parking lots – you name it -- all smarter so that events can go off without a hitch.

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Answering Your Top Tech Trend Questions at Cisco Live #CLUS

Our customers join us at Cisco Live conferences around the world to hear how we can help you tackle the most important technology trends. Cloud, security, mobility and programmable networks are all driving different business models and compelling opportunities.

The top questions we hear from you are:

  • What is Cisco’s approach to SDN?
  • How will Cisco help me deliver hybrid cloud services?
  • Can I really deploy applications in hours instead of weeks?
  • Can I get great — but affordable — collaboration technology into every room, on every desk, every pocket?
  • How can IT lead in securing company assets and data?
  • Do I have the right foundation to deliver better mobile experiences to my employees and customers?
  • Which of Cisco’s customers are having success with these technologies?
  • How is Cisco IT grappling with all these challenges?

At Cisco Live, you not only get the practical, hands-on knowledge that can advance your career. You also get compelling insight and Cisco roadmaps into the ideas, concepts, and emerging trends that are setting the stage for a more connected and collaborative future.

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