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RetailMeNot Leverages Cisco and Plixer for WLAN Optimization

April 1, 2014 at 9:23 am PST

Founded in 2007, RetailMeNot.com is the largest digital coupon site in the US.  They help hundreds of thousands of customers save money when shopping online. They are headquartered in Austin Texas, in the hip “Live Music Capital of the World”.  Since the company went public in 2013, the company has doubled the number of employees from 250 to over 500.

In previous blogs, I have covered what is AVC, SuccessEHS and how Plixer’s Scrutinizer accepts Netflow, sFlow and IPFIX exports. This post will cover how these key products are combined by RetailMeNot in their WLAN deployments to optimize and support this fast growing company.

Recently Michael Patterson, the Founder and Product Manager at Plixer, Matthew St. Jean the Marketing Manager at Plixer and I had an opportunity to talk to Tim Tyndall, the Lead Network Engineer at RetailMeNot.  Tim shared with us the highlights of the wireless LAN deployment and explained how they use Cisco Application Visibility and Control and Plixer’s Scrutinizer to stay in control of how their WLAN is being utilized.

Tim described the environment and culture that has become a huge part of the company’s success.  RetailMeNot  provides hip new offices for its employees with open work spaces and other awesome perks.

The Cisco powered wireless network supports this initiative. In fact, nearly all network connectivity is wireless. He said that employees are issued a laptop by the company and many carry in their own smartphones and tablets as well; Most of those devices being from Apple.

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Employees can roam freely with reliable service that spans the company’s five floors. Even during large meetings where access density increases dramatically, service continues without any interruptions and the performance metrics they can obtain using NetFlow is exceptional and reinforce that the traffic is optimized. Read More »

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Enabling the Business Value of Cloud Through Intelligent Infrastructure

IWAN ImageThe advent of the many clouds has now become a reality. Enterprises of all sizes and segments are embracing cloud solutions, whether private internal cloud, Virtual Private Cloud, Public Cloud, or some Hybrid. The number of workloads as well as cloud traffic  are expected to grow exponentially in the next 5 years.

The shift to the many clouds has significant impact on the role of IT.  IT has to reinvent itself to be able to keep control as applications are increasingly moving to cloud infrastructures.

In particular, there are two very strong trends that will require IT to increasingly position itself as a Broker of Services, and evolve from a more traditional role of being an infrastructure provider.
First, line of businesses intend to address some of their IT needs directly by purchasing cloud-based IT services. Read More »

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IWAN Wed: What is Intelligent WAN?

Imagine that you have several branch offices that are using WAN demanding applications like Salesforce.com, Office 365, Virtual Desktops, Video Teleconferencing and more.  You are using those expensive MPLS/VPN WAN connections as you don’t want to risk it and probably because when you started to work there it was already there and … why mess around with something that is working, right?  Normally I would agree with that but when IT budgets are shrinking and the network needs to step up and support those business critical apps, there is no other way but to innovate.

At any given time your network carries information from LAN to WAN and vice versa, some is important and some is less important. In many cases as a network admin you don’t have the visibility to distinguish between them, so what do you do when those critical apps are starting to act up? Usually the answer will be to buy more WAN bandwidth and that will give the apps and the user experience behind them some breathing space. But all you’re doing is buying time.  Buying time never solves the problem because you will need to treat the symptoms again in a few weeks or months.

However, you can solve the problem and not just treat the symptoms using Cisco Intelligent WAN or IWAN for short.

Read More »

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Delivering Application Optimization for Office 365

We in IT are faced with many challenges from our end users.  From IT costs to application performance, while always keeping an eye on our network security posture.  This reminds me of a sign on the wall of my auto mechanic’s shop: Good, Fast, Low-cost. I was always told I am allowed to pick only two.  I would of course question him, “why cant I have something with high quality, on time, and within budget?”  This always made him smile, but he still told me I could only pick two.

So back to our IT challenges: Cost, Performance, and Security. Application performance is something we can all see, feel and touch. When thinking about performance, we need to also consider where these applications are coming from.  Looking at applications like Microsoft’s Office 365, we are seeing mission critical applications from outside our data centers being delivered as Software as a Service (SaaS) solution. Does this matter to our end users?  They sit at their PC’s, Tablets, Mac’s, etc. and know when something is not going fast enough.  Their expectations are growing; they always expect the best performance. If they don’t feel their Outlook e-mail is opening fast enough or that the saving of their PowerPoint file is taking too long, they do not hesitate to let us know.  And oddly enough, everyone just assumes it is the network.  So not only do we need to think about our networks, but the Internet performance as well.

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Cisco Bonjour helps make beautiful music at University of Nevada, Las Vegas

February 28, 2014 at 4:36 pm PST

The University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV), founded in 1957, is located in the heart of showbiz industry in Las Vegas. The school offers higher education programs ranging from business, engineering, fine arts and music, and science, and professional schools such as dental medicine and law.

The school’s mascot, Hey Reb, was recently featured on Hulu’s “Behind the Mask,” and you may recognize the Southern Gym during the dance scene between Elvis Presley and Ann-Margret Olsson in the movie Viva Las Vegas.

With over 24,000 unique WLAN users per day, 1.1 gigabytes of throughput per second, and more than 50 wireless access locations across campus providing WLAN coverage, this educational institute demands a massive Wi-Fi network.

In the previous blog, we highlighted some of the Bonjour enhancements of the 7.5 software release and the deployment of Bonjour at St. Margaret’s Episcopal School, a K-12 school. In this blog, we will describe details about UNLVs WLAN deployment, how they use Bonjour services, and give you an insight into rapid pace of innovation necessary to support this technology in the education arena. Read More »

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