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New Year, New Challenges, New Successes: SDN Bringing Agility, Security and TCO to Campus and Branch Networks

Before recently taking on a new role as Cisco’s vice president and general manager of Software-Defined Network (SDN) with the enterprise networking group, I served as the vice president and general manager of Cisco’s Unified Access portfolio and led the expansion of the Catalyst 2k, 3k and 4k series product line, which has seen a lot of growth and developed a strong customer base over the past couple of years. Cisco invests heavily in R&D for these products, and has introduced many innovations improving security, application visibility/control, energy savings and converged wired and wireless infrastructure over the past few years.

But as I shifted into my new role and looked back at some of the new Unified Access solutions we introduced alongside our system architecture, I saw a curious disconnect: in some cases, it was getting more difficult for our customers to quickly take advantage of our new innovations.                                                                                                         

At Cisco, we design products to make customers’ lives easier and more productive. Not to gather dust because they’re too hard to figure out!

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Announcing the New Cisco Catalyst 2960-X Series Switches

What do you get when you take Cisco’s best-selling campus access switch line, double almost everything (including port density in-stack, stacking bandwidth, buffers and CPU), then make it more secure and simpler to use, all with power-saving capabilities that possibly make it the “greenest” access switch in the industry?

You get a GameChanger

This is exactly what Cisco announced yesterday (June 4th) at our annual Partner Summit event. Cisco is introducing the next generation of its wildly successful Catalyst 2K switches with the new Catalyst 2960-X series of stackable Gigabit Ethernet access switches. Read More »

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Midmarket Push at Partner Summit: New Cloud Managed Services and Catalyst Switch

Co-Author: Sanjit Biswas, VP and GM, Cisco’s Cloud Networking Group 

Since our acquisition of Meraki in late 2012, you have heard us talking about the midmarket and new opportunities for channel partners and customers. I’m pleased to say that today, at the Cisco Partner Summit in Boston, we have some exciting updates for you. Specifically, we’ll focus on our Made for Midmarket portfolio which includes a range of new product offerings, services and solutions designed for midsize customers.

As part of Cisco’s newly formed Cloud Networking Group, we are unveiling our complete cloud managed networking portfolio specifically focused for midmarket deployments, consisting of security appliances, switches and wireless LANs.

Get Your Heads in the Cloud – Services and Revenue Opportunities

New for partners today we are introducing the Cisco Meraki Managed Services Dashboard – bringing together a number of features for Managed Service Providers (MSP) to offer cloud-managed networking as a service to their customers. This MSP dashboard features specific tools, analytics and monitoring capabilities and is built to allow our service providers to manage end-customer networks easily from a central location while still maintaining separation and security of each customer network.

Key Highlights of the Managed Services Dashboard

  • MSP Portal – Service providers can easily monitor the health of end-customer networks from a centralized location.
  • Manage your Brand: MSPs can customize the logo on the dashboard to promote their own brand with end-customers. Cisco will work directly with the MSP to customize the content.
  • Support Ticketing: Easy for MSPs to create, monitor and respond to support cases with Cisco staff.
  • Remote Live Tools: A complete set of tools that make remote monitoring of the network significantly easier – a perfect fit for Helpdesk or Network Operations Center (NOC) staff.
  • Partner Benefits: Using the new MSP dashboard, partners can increase profits through managed services, enable existing MSPs to profitably grow their midmarket offering and allow traditional VARs to quickly introduce managed service offerings.

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Catalog Management in Digital Services Mash-Ups

By Greg Scullard, Technical Leader, Cloud Systems Management Technology Group Greg Scullard

In recent years, catalogs have had a major role in allowing product offer and service creation sourced from complex value chains.

At the Management World conference expo held between 13th and 16th May 2013 and organized by TM Forum, which is a global, non-profit industry association focused on enabling service providers by providing agility and innovation, we are presenting and demonstrating, as Cisco Systems, the “Catalog Management in Digital Services Mash-Ups” as part of a “Catalyst” project in collaboration with a partner.

The goal is to use multiple product and service catalogs to communicate, expose and mash-up existing building blocks into new and innovative services in an efficient and easily understood manner among the players; the multiple catalogs are a key enabler for delivering and operating digital services in this environment. This Catalyst offers Read More »

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Funny Thing Happened on the Way Past the Casino

May 11, 2013 at 3:14 pm PST


Interop was made more fun for us this year since we got to be on stage. Most of what we usually do is on camera of course…but presenting in front of people is the best.

Since we started TechWiseTV 7 years ago, we have tried to always get better at our on-camera skills. This has involved diligent effort not just improving our own skills but also how we can make it easier for others to shine with us. In other words, hosting.

It was Cisco’s Enterprise Networking team that asked if we would like to host a few stage spots during this years Interop show. Heck yeah we said. Mainly because it was a chance to ‘work an audience.’ You can certainly work a camera but what sucks is that the camera really never gives anything back.

Even the dullest audience will provide at least one nodding head or small smile. That alone can fuel an entire presentation. So we mixed it up this time. We had our A-Team for the camera crew so we were able to divide and conquer.

All of our stage appearances were quite free-form, but they did have a structure even if it was not apparent to those present. It was built around work pioneered by Marlowe Fenne. Marlowe is actually a day one veteran with TechWiseTV who has continued on his own path building bridges between customer problems and Cisco solutions. He had put together what I called a ‘MOC NOC’ for Interop. Customers were able to see first hand how their top challenges (as determined by multiple focus groups) were mapped to Cisco technologies and solutions. Easier than it sounds, let me assure you. Marlowe is such a good presenter, we were able to leave our crew with him while we did our song and dance on stage..then all Jimmy Ray and I had to do was record an intro and a close.

Challenges in the NOC: Wired and Wireless

 

Four ‘success factors’ were gleaned from these focus groups:

  1. Maintain or enhance user satisfaction
  2. Bring in projects on time and on budget
  3. Maintain or enhance security/compliance
  4. Create new business

The technologies highlighted for getting this done across both the areas of BYOD/Unified Access and Cloud included Cisco PRIME, ISE , AVC , ISR-AX Catalyst 3850 ( Fundamentals of Converged Wired and Wireless and more.

Don’t miss Bridging the App Gap where I will interview multiple Cisco customers and even Cisco itself. Fully understand all the Application Experience has to offer.

Funny Story

Our first day of presenting overlapped just a bit as Jimmy Ray was previously committed to one of his popular TechWiseTV workshops that he had to give from his Mandalay Bay hotel room. He did his usual pre-presentation technology checks to make sure all was working well. This was even more important this go-round as the hotel wireless was so bad it felt purposeful..as in…why are you on the Internet? Get down to the casino! Who knows. Well try as he might, he could not get a consistent connection wired or wireless in the hotel room.

Backup plan A was a higher powered wirelesss card that he tried to use and acces wireless from the adjacent Luxor hotel…but that was not holding steady either. So fallback plan B involved something I would never have guessed: An acoustic coupler. Fancy (but accurate) term for a modem.

If you don’t know what this is, go ask your parents…this is how we all used to get on the network. (I hesitate to say Internet). Plan B goes into action at a blazing 28.8 baud and another workshop goes off without a hitch..the audience was never even aware. Anyone else out there hosting Webex on a modem? I didn’t think so.

Thanks for watching!

Robb


Twitter: @TechWiseTV, @robbboyd

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