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Musings on Architecture, Installment 1

There comes a time in the evolution of building a technology platform that you have to pause and look back where you’ve come from, before continuing on with the journey. As I think back to the formation of the Cisco Eos platform, it was a time of hard work and rapid growth.

The Cisco Media Solutions Group went from being a business unit with an idea, to truly taking form in 2007 when Cisco made three software acquisitions—Five Across, the assets of Tribe.net and the assets of Click.tv. From that day forward, we were charged with developing an innovative platform that could get media companies online in a simple, manageable way. That long journey started with the single though difficult step of uniting three independent companies and countless independent perspectives into a single team executing against a single vision.

As with any consolidation effort, tough decisions had to be made. One of the most important we faced was what development platform we were going to leverage. Our three teams had experience in just as many languages: Ruby on Rails, PHP, and Java – not to mention Adobe Flex and even a bit of C. After much debate, we chose to use Java for the back end, which includes the core Cisco Eos data and content components like blogs, discussions, and member profiles. And we chose PHP for the front end, the dynamic page-rendering environment that our users can customize for presentation to end consumers. Read More »

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Is the new data center fabric really a combination of Borg and big Brother? Answer on March 30th

March 25, 2011 at 10:52 am PST

I don’t know about you , but I want to be well prepared for the March 30th Cisco announcement
Listening to Cisco SVP Bill Brownell’s invitation, we can definitely expect some very interesting product news, but more importantly a new round of conversations about the right fabric-infrastructure, especially in the context of cloud computing.

That’s why we will have special guests such as John McCool, Soni Jiandani and Tim Gillis in addition of Forrester Research and IDC (see my previous blog)

So as I was willing to be well prepared, I found this interesting blog from Ivan about data center fabric architecture , which obviously grabbed also the attention of some of our smart  engineers

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Extend flexibility in Your Data Center Architecture with the Data Center Fabric.

March 22, 2011 at 3:00 am PST

“Fabric computing is a fixture on the radar screen of many IT groups, driven by the increased penetration of virtualization and prospects for cloud computing.As virtualization penetration increases, IT organizations will deploy virtual machine (VM) mobility, which will demand more attention to a fabric-based infrastructure that better integrates server, storage and networking for greater agility and faster time to deploy.”  Based on this observation, Gartner George J Reiss and Andrew Butler organized recently a survey to evaluate which vendors are the most credible and ready to address the challenges of virtualization and cloud computing.

Cisco pioneered the vision of Ethernet-based “Unified Fabric” for the data center and has been shipping products to support that vision for over three years. Subsequently it introduced Unified Computing and Unified Network Services, all of which have formed the building blocks for Cisco’s Data Center Fabric.  Competitors have validated Cisco’s vision by scrambling to deliver their own versions of the Fabric.

On March 30th starting at 9:00 am PST, Cisco executives and experts , partners and customers  will supplement this Fabric vision and showcase its evolution, while bringing multiple proof points to bear. And in a pure Cisco spirit, to enrich a very open conversation, we invited the Senior Analyst Andre Kindnesss from Forrester Research who wrote recently about “The Dark Horse In The Datacenter Fabric Race?” and the Program VP Data Center Network Services Cindy Borovick from IDC to share their vision.

If you want to be among (or amongst) the first to know what’s cooking at Cisco, this is your chance ! This event will be live and we hope to hear from you.

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SecureX – Cisco Redefines Security at RSA 2011

Annalisa Giardina of the Cisco Marketing Team working the booth at RSA 2011

Annalisa Giardina of the Cisco Marketing Team working the booth at RSA 2011

RSA 2011 was a big show for Cisco. We had a 30x30 booth with an in-booth theater, eight demo pods, speakers on several panels, and a keynote. Including speakers, the install and dismantle crew, and all of the booth staffers, we had a crew of around 100 people at the show. Demos included firewalls, virtualization, mobility, web, and security services. With the passing of Cisco Security Monitoring, Analysis, and Response System (MARS), a partner’s SIEM ecosystem display was of note, as were demonstrations of Cisco TrustSec, intrusion prevention, and Cisco Virtualization Experience Infrastructure (VXI). We also demonstrated Cisco AnyConnect running on an iPad, illustrating how Cisco can meet the needs of organizations grappling with the demands of the consumerization of IT and the security concerns that employee liable devices bring.

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The Telecom Inventor Island Mystery

By Steven Shepard, Contributing Columnist

What a wonderful thing maps are. As a child I would pore over them, sometimes for hours, looking for the silliest names, the most intriguing locations, the most exciting geographies. I was particularly taken by maps of the Canadian Shield, a place so vast and forbidding that even today large swaths of it remain unexplored.

This is the home of the world’s largest remaining arboreal forest — it is huge. I also like the fact that on the maps of northern Canada, even today, roads meander northward from the reasonably populated cities near the US border, and then, inextricably, end. As a kid I longed to go there, to see what lay beyond the end of the road. I still do.

I still take aimless ambles through maps today when I have time. The nature of my work is such that I have had the pleasure of driving to the end of some of those roads, and in some cases, creating roads of my own. I have visited places with exotic names like Timboctou (we call it Timbuktu), Ouagadougou, and Zanzibar. The joy of map-gazing, however, still burns hot for me.

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