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When Sensors Act Like Teenagers

A common cornerstone of both the Internet of Things and Internet of Everything concepts is the idea of a future with billions, if not trillions, of connections to the Internet. As the Internet of Everything connects objects, data, people and processes, the future of connected things will not be traditional computers or smartphones. Rather, it may be your refrigerator, or a traffic light, or even a litter box. Basically, anything that can have a status change that will interest someone has the potential to be connected to the Internet in order to alert you to that change.

The idea of being alerted to important information automatically is appealing. After all, if your refrigerator is having a cooling issue and it can send you a text alert, you can save money by taking corrective action before your milk and other products go bad. However, not all of the data generated by the Internet of Everything will be of high value. In fact, most of it will be of little value at all.

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As Cloud Empowers Lines of Business, Challenges for IT

As the key delivery model for the Internet of Everything (IoE) economy, cloud is helping to drive sweeping changes across nearly all aspects of our lives. But while the growth trajectory of cloud has been carefully charted, there has been comparatively little insight into its impact on IT organizations. To gain a better understanding, Cisco® Consulting Services, in partnership with Intel®, undertook an extensive global survey of 4,226 IT leaders respondents in April-March 2013 to investigate cloud-driven IT change.

The Impact of Cloud on IT Consumption Models” study explored the dramatic changes affecting IT at all key consumption lifecycle stages — how businesses plan for, procure, deploy, operate, and govern IT. This is part two in a four-part blog series that will explore some of the findings of this study and discuss how today’s IT leaders can prepare for the new model for IT.

One of the clearest expressions of this cloud-driven change is the emergence of lines of business (LOBs) — human resources, sales, R&D, and other areas that are end users of IT — both as direct consumers of third-party cloud-based services, and as ever more prominent influencers of companies’ IT agendas. This represents a major paradigm shift from decades of IT tradition, when IT itself set the agenda and made all planning and procurement decisions.

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When IoE Gets Personal: The Quantified Self Movement!

Microsensors in your shoes compile data on where you go and how much you walk or run. Your workout clothes track your daily progress at the gym and tell you when to slow down or speed up. The pill you swallow reports back on the state of your digestion, vital signs, and overall well-being. And as you sleep, a headband monitors your REM patterns.

A far-fetched sci-fi fantasy? Not at all. It’s merely a glimpse Read More »

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Evolving Cisco’s Unified Computing System for Big Data and the Internet of Everything

Evolving Cisco UCS for Big Data and the Internet of Everything

Image credit: imediaconnection.com

In an earlier blog, I discussed the incredible success behind the Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) in Darwinian evolutionary terms.  Since I wrote that blog three months ago, we’ve continued to grow rapidly and have strengthened our position as the #2 blade server player worldwide from 19.3% to 21.5% revenue share (per IDC 2CQ2013 server market tracker, September 2013), with 33.9% revenue share in the US.

Prediction – The #1 spot is well within our reach sooner than you may think.

As we grow our installed base with roughly 1,000 new customers every month, our conversations about the future of UCS have taken an interesting turn. Until now in what I’ll call the “UCS 1.0” phase, Cisco focused on virtualization and private cloud as the dominant use cases that were top-of-mind for industry CIOs and we struck a resonant chord based on our growth – just look at our numbers.

We were market makers with expanded-memory 2-socket Intel EX blades (remember the B230’s?), which were gobbled up like candy into large-scale VDI deployments much to the surprise of the industry. We also jump-started a very attractive RISC-to-x86 migration practice, including Cisco IT’s own production environment: a 40TB mission-critical database that ran on HP Superdomes – a “circle of life” moment for me since Superdome was my program from 1999-2003.

We’ll continue leading in customer value for our original design centers, but we are now focusing on market expansion with what we call “UCS 2.0”, expanding into data-intensive, mission critical, analytics and service provider cloud environments with an increased level of R&D funding and strong corporate support from our top executives.

Prediction – You’ll see us more focused on architectural solutions for key industry vertical markets with tuned solution environments that leverage Cisco’s wide portfolio and that of our partners.

One such act of support is the announcement today of our intent to acquire WHIPTAIL, a leading solid-state systems company that boasts the highest scalability in performance and capacity of any scale-out flash vendor on the market today.  WHIPTAIL systems span from single-node entry products to 30-node behemoths that drive almost 400TB’s of flash, 40GB/sec of bandwidth and 4 million random R/W IOPS – for starters.

Prediction: Cisco will unseat Infiniband with low-latency Ethernet fabrics. Check out our USNIC technology for starters…

In our customer interactions it became very clear they view application acceleration using persistent solid-state memory as a use case that belongs in the server tier, not the storage tier.

In an application-centric world, we started thinking not about server vs. storage infrastructure, but how applications viewed data – hot “important right now” data, warm “may be of interest data” and cold “let’s keep it around for background mining or compliance” data.

We arrived at the conclusion that UCS needed to be best-in-class at accelerating hot data layers. Hot data is closest to applications and therefore has high affinity for the server tier.  Hence WHIPTAIL.

Assertion: Flash is a “boundary technology” that can be viewed as part of the memory or storage hierarchy. With respect to storage it’s faster and more expensive per GB. With respect to DRAM memory it’s slower but cheaper per GB. It therefore allows cost/performance arbitrage for applications by applying an accelerated persistent data model that can save on DRAM and de-complicate underlying permanent backing stores.

WHIPTAIL is a great fit with the fabric computing UCS architecture and also complementary to our C-Series rack mount servers and our SingleConnect capability in our UCS Manager that allows mixed-density blade/rack deployments to be managed from a common pane of glass.

Our intent is to fully integrate UCS computing and WHIPTAIL solid-state technologies over a Nexus fabric to create scalable persistent memory systems. That’s our vision.

Why? Because customers will be able to do things they could not before. Such as loading vast amounts of data in seconds and minutes, not hours or days – or -- shrinking their performance footprint to a rack vs. 30 racks – or -- accelerating Hadoop on all solid-state infrastructure – or -- extending in-memory analytics to a scale previously not thought possible. That’s why.

As converged infrastructure advances as an ensemble computing architecture, boundary technologies like solid-state memory can be viewed as part of the memory or the storage hierarchy. Cisco’s point of view is to make it part of the memory hierarchy in the compute tier. That allows customers the best of both worlds – performance acceleration for applications while retaining their investment in permanent backing stores and simplifying their overall data center total cost of ownership (TCO).

To close on a Darwinian note, if UCS existed in the Cretaceous Period it would have been a Velociraptor  (meaning ‘swift seizer’)– sleek, fast and ferocious – eating everything in its path.  Velociraptors are believed to have hunted in packs, which is great considering the strong partner ecosystem that Cisco and UCS have built with industry leaders like EMC, NetApp and VCE as shining examples. We are committed to maintaining and expanding our hunting pack – more on that later!

if Cisco UCS existed in the Cretaceous Period it would have been a Velociraptor

if Cisco UCS existed in the Cretaceous Period it would have been a Velociraptor. Image credit: dark.pozadia.org

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An Internet of Everything Startup Spotlight: John Funge, Co-Founder & CEO, BrightContext

Today I’m introducing a new series that focuses on the collective power of connections in the Internet of Everything (IoE) — and some of the new companies that are creating value from those connections. The industry is ripe with emerging IoE-focused startups that deserve to be recognized for their work in building the Internet of Everything, brick by web-enabled-brick. These various startups are making an impact in education, healthcare, home automation and more. They are led by thinkers and doers who are helping to create the future. Periodically over the next several months, we’ll take a look at some of these startups and learn more about how IoE is enabling their success — and how they, in turn, are enabling the Internet of Everything.

Recently, we had a chance to talk with John Funge, co-founder and CEO of BrightContext, a cloud-based data-stream processing platform that is helping to turn Big Data into actionable insights. Here’s how BrightContext is pioneering the growth of the Internet of Everything:

BrightContextLogo

 

John Funge, Co-Founder_CEO of Bright Context

John Funge, Co-Founder & CEO, BrightContext

What is BrightContext? And how does your business meet new demands in our increasingly connected world?

BrightContext is an ultra-scalable, cloud-based data-stream processing platform that makes it easy to deliver real-time stream analytics from any data source. BrightContext is used for stream analytics, live visualization, monitoring, and generating alerts from high-volume data sources such as web click and activity data, mobile activity data, social media, audience sentiment data, point-of-sale data, and transactional data.

BrightContext is taking on one of the major problems of the century – how to process a deluge of data in real time, immediately derive insights, and take action. BrightContext provides companies with a platform for monitoring and analyzing streams of Big Data in motion. It enables customers to mine that information instantly to make it actionable. This, in turn, makes it easier to use input streams to create and distribute sub-streams for others to use.

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