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Vote Early, Vote Often for Cisco and ASR 9000

B-to-B Social Media AwardsAnd the winner is…the Cisco ASR 9000 Test Drive! B-to-B Magazine awarded Cisco the “Best Use of Viral Video in a Marketing Campaign.” But wait, there’s more.  The Cisco ASR 9000 Test Drive is also one of three finalists for B-to-B Magazine’s “People’s Choice” Award.  So, please see for yourself and VOTE for Cisco (we’re second on the list and you can watch the video below).

What matters most, however, is that customers have loved this demo. You can be told that the Cisco ASR 9000 has been architected and optimized to deliver non-stop video content. But until you see the difference for yourself, you may remain a skeptic.  So, we took the saying “seeing is believing” to heart and enabled anyone to take the Cisco ASR 9000 on a test drive and see just how this aggregation router delivers video packets flawlessly.  With a push of a button, you can control a robot to remove the route switch processor card from the Cisco ASR 9000 and watch as video is delivered uninterrupted.

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Speed Limit 100Gbps – Cisco CRS-3 and Altibox Powers World’s Fastest Computer Party

Norway's The Gathering and Cisco 100GWhat do you get when you combine 5000+ gamers, a 100GE uplink to the Internet, a lot of espresso machines, and no parents to tell them to shut down the noise or go to bed early? A whole lot of fun!

The Gathering (“TG”), is Norway’s largest computer party and kicked off today for its 20th time since 1992. It’s grown so large now that it is held at one of the venues used for the 1994 Winter Olympics. TG continues to attract growing interest to the gaming, computer, and entertainment event, both nationally and internationally and is organized by the non-profit organization KANDU (Kreativ Aktiv Norsk DataUngdom/Creative Active Norwegian Computer Youth). This year it’s powered at record speed by a Cisco CRS-3 router connected to The Gathering’s Internet provider, Altibox at 100 Gbps, along with technical support provided by several of Cisco Norway’s engineers, Merete Asak and Bjornar Forthun.

This isn’t the first time the CRS has played a key role in a Scandinavian gaming conference. The Swedes used our 40G technology in 2007 at their Dreamhack event as we discussed (and video here), but now this has raised the performance bar.

Although they probably won’t be playing Cisco’s award winning myPlanNet game, they’ll still enjoy others such as StarCraft, Quake, and Heroes of Newerth. Participants also participate in creative competitions in programming, graphics, and music.

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NAB 2011 in Review

If I had to sum up how the 2011 NAB Show will be remembered in years hence, I’d say this: Proliferation pandemonium. The year of the explosion of video content types, formats, and profiles – most of which require processing, storage, and distribution.

It’s a matrix of complexity that’s expanding at a pace both exhilarating and exhausting.

It was also the year of an unusual level of consensus amongst the various constituents of the video eco-system, many of them competitors. From content owners to technology providers to service providers, there’s one general acknowledgement about managing and scaling all these different platforms for content delivery: This is hard!

The TweetChat we hosted about hot topics at NAB showed that people are focused on streaming TV-like experiences to multiple screens. That, and transcoding, preparing video files in different formats, and adaptive bit rate techniques, to manage the consumer experience when network conditions aren’t ideal. (See “proliferation pandemonium”)

My crystal ball is no clearer than anyone else’s, but it was gratifying to see such a high level of interest in Cisco’s offerings for content distribution focused on secondary distribution, which we call Videoscape, and in our IP video contribution solutions. Likewise for booth activity and interest around the virtualization of video and IT functions, onto a common compute and storage architecture.

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Cisco – Focusing on the Service Providers’ Success

The Cloud market is certainly heating up.  Last Thursday’s announcement from Dell of a $1B (US) investment in 2011 to enter the Cloud hosting market had me reflecting on their new direction. Dell is beginning a two-year build-out of ten data centers around the world to serve enterprises’ public and private Cloud needs. Earlier this year in a similar move, HP announced a set of new Cloud services they are offering ranging from consultancy, Cloud services, and equipment. These options included an “Enterprise Cloud Services-Compute” which will deliver private Cloud services directly from HP’s data centers to end-customers.

There’s a striking difference between Cisco’s strategy and those of HP and Dell.  HP and Dell’s strategies will be challenging for some of their customers, especially service providers.  Cisco’s strategy is to enable our customers to provide cloud services, whether service provider, public sector, or enterprise.

On one hand, HP and Dell are providing data center packages to enable SP Cloud delivery. On the other hand, both are investing to deliver Cloud services directly to end-users and bypass the service providers. While this is likely to further stimulate Cloud competition, it is directly competitive with service providers who wish to offer their own Cloud services.

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Packet Transport Nicely Wrapped (Happy Birthday CRS-3!)

It was no accident that Cisco won “Best Core” and “Best Network Infrastructure Provider” of the year at the Telecom Asia People’s Choice Awards. We talked elsewhere about the rapid adoption rate of the Cisco CRS-3, but what are some of the specific reasons behind its success?

The key factor is that today’s core networks must handle dramatic increases in bandwidth both cost-effectively and intelligently. It is simply not enough to transport traffic faster and cheaper. The massive volumes of video, mobile, and cloud services require intelligent IP delivery. The CRS has ability to scale with true, standards-compliant 100GE, 322Tbps multi-chassis capacity, along with superior network intelligence using Network Positioning System to help ensure that content is transported most efficiently. For its one-year birthday, the CRS-3 has added a new capability with a Flexible Packet Transport processor card optimized for Label Switching. It scales the core economically with fast switching, providing carriers the ability to deploy high-speed, agile transport backbones.

Global service providers can reduce costs by utilizing a single core platform to deliver a mix of routing, peering, and transport services. To illustrate the versatility benefits, imagine that a business customer is initially provisioned for a point-to-point connectivity service using packet transport. This is traditionally a lower margin service with tremendous cost-pressures. As that customer grows, they require a multipoint connectivity service with Unified Communications and Telepresence. This service upgrade with higher profit margins can be made quickly and easily without need of a separate platform. This alone lowers the total cost of ownership for capital expenses by 44% and operating expenses by 36% (see the white paper: Flexible Packet Transport: An Approach to Core Network Optimization.)

Eve Griliches from ACG Research spent some time with me last week in this video discussing the new capabilities on the CRS platform, the new market opportunities it enables for Cisco, and how it compares to the competition. You can also listen to the Investor Tech-Talk on ‘The Evolution of Core Networks’ and why a separate standalone MPLS switch is sub-optimal from an architectural perspective.

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