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MegaTrends: Network Programming and Cisco ONE in Enterprise Networks

How do we evolve the IT architecture to enable an ever-increasing set of services while multiple MegaTrends are rapidly transforming the environment? How do you deliver the best possible experience to your users and applications while maintaining agility and keeping cost under control?

Today, in my first blog after the summer break, I’d like to start exploring a topic which is critical to building this new architecture supporting current and upcoming Megatrends – and which can be seen as a Megatrend itself as well: Software Defined Networking (SDN) and the Cisco Open Network Environment (ONE) strategy and architecture.

Bruno Klauser, Consulting Engineer in my team has been focusing on Network Programmability and network-embedded automation for some time – and is currently working with many of the early adopters across EMEAR.

Q: Bruno, with Software Defined Networking  being an increasingly  popular discussion topic we’re hearing a lot of of comments – from “nothing new at all” to “complete revolution of IT” – what, if anything, is different from how we built solutions in the past? Read More »

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Mobile Devices Will Transform Your Business IT

There’s no question that more people around the world are connecting to wireless networks at home, work and play via mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets. This rise in mobile device usage begs the question: How soon will it be (if not already) before these mobile devices dominate the mobile network, especially in the workplace?

Chris Spain - with header FINALJust recently, I read an article in Forbes, by Louis Columbus, that addresses the issue of increased mobile devices and unprepared network infrastructures. The article examines a study by IDC that predicts that 87% of sales for connected devices will be tablets and smartphones in next four years. As many employees prefer working from their own mobile devices, corporate networks, as they’re currently designed, will not be capable of successfully managing such a large volume of mobile data traffic generated by these mobile devices. With such expansive growth expected, the majority of businesses will either need to adapt an existing strategy to support this increase in mobile devices or adopt a new strategy.

Currently, there is a clear need for enterprises to better prepare and invest in their IT infrastructure. As more employees use their own devices at work for business and personal use, it’s imperative that business organizations require a secure mobile device and BYOD strategy to accommodate their business needs and employee preferences. However, the decision to adopt BYOD comes with a set of challenges for IT organizations.

Many of the benefits of BYOD, such as having the choice of device and anywhere, anytime access, are somewhat adverse to traditional IT requirements for security and support. In the past, IT pre-determined a list of approved workplace devices, typically a prescribed desktop, laptop, and perhaps even a small, standardized set of mobile phones and smartphones. Employees could choose among these devices, but generally were not permitted to stray from the approved devices list. With BYOD, IT has to approach the problem differently. Read More »

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Blade Server Architecture Comparison – Important Differences Abound

I recently wrote a blog titled Blade Server TCO and Architecture – You Cannot Separate Them and thought a little more on the architecture side would be a good thing.

 With so much misinformation (dis-information?) about UCS running around in the ether, I thought the straight forward comparison offered here would be valuable. It is important to dispel myths and analyze reality before making the important decisions around server and networking refreshes / upgrades, which by necessity affect long term data center architecture. I hope you will find this presentation – Cisco UCS, HP and IBM – A Blade Architecture Comparison, useful in your decision making process.

Cisco UCS HP and IBM A Blade Architecture Comparison from Cisco Data Center

For me, there are three primary drivers that differentiate the Cisco UCS architecture from everyone else’s designs and they can be divided into the buckets below:

You could, and probably should, ask what is left out? That’s pretty easy. I did not specifically call out Performance and TCO, for a good reason. If you can execute on the three bullets above like Cisco UCS does, Performance and TCO are the natural derivatives. You shouldn’t have to target them separately. It’s kind of a “If you build it, they will come” scenario. That’s why I made the statements in the TCO and Architecture blog that “…Server cost is irrelevant (to OpEx) because: changing its contribution to total TCO has a vanishingly small impact….” and “…It [architecture] is the single most important component of OpEx…”   For more on this and how server cost and TCO intersect, please check out this blog – Blade Server TCO and Architecture – You Cannot Separate Them.  It takes a look at the OpEx and CapEx components of TCO, and how altering either of them effects the actual total  3-year TCO.  You may be surprised.

Cisco is providing trade-in credits for customers’ old generation servers and blade chassis,  helping ease the transition and upgrade to a new UCS blade architecture.  The UCS Advantage presentation below has more details on this fantastic program that can further enhance the already compelling TCO benefit of upgrading to Cisco UCS.

UCS Advantage – Refresh to UCS from Cisco Data Center

Special note: For more on the benefit that Cisco UCS delivers for I/O and throughput, I suggest a great blog by Amit Jain – How to get more SAN mileage out of UCS FI.  Amit does an excellent compare / contrast of FC and FCoE technologies (“…8 Gb FC yields 6.8 Gb throughput while 10 Gb FCoE yields close to 10 Gb throughput…”).

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It’s Time for an Intelligent Approach to Video Collaboration

As we’ve been preparing for next week’s Collaboration Summit, I’ve been reflecting on the past 10 years in the video and communications industry. In today’s hyper-connected world, the bar has been raised and user expectations are higher than ever before, especially as it relates to video and its impact on efficiency and productivity.  Users want to be connected all the time while having more control of when or how they are reached.  They want to have access to an array of video collaboration experiences with the ability to choose how they want to interact based on what’s going on during the day.  And they want it to be easy to use, easy to connect to others, easy to integrate with business applications and content, and of course easy to manage.

The list of user requirements is exciting for the industry.  It proves the immense value inherent in video communications and is inspiring everyone to think harder about what users want not only now, but also years into the future.  Yet keeping up with these demands is no easy feat for any technology vendor and can be even more challenging for IT teams supporting all of these new user scenarios in a business environment.  Simply put, video communications needs to be reimagined so that the promise of pervasive adoption can happen, and can happen in a way that delivers unsurpassable value.

It’s time for a more intelligent approach. Read More »

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Cisco Partner Weekly Rewind – October 18, 2013

Partner-Weekly-Rewind-v2Every Friday, we’ll highlight the most important Cisco partner news and stories of the week, as well as point you to important, Cisco-related partner content you may have missed along the way. Here’s what you might have missed this week:

Off the Top

In the latest Partner Voices blog post, Scott Alexander of Alexander Open Systems (AOS) offered insights on leveraging the SMB market with managed service offerings.

Alexander offers some background on the move by AOS, in 2011, to expand managed service offerings as a means to grow business and expand technology portfolios with current customers. By sharing that information with other Cisco partners he hopes to start a dialogue on your experiences in this space.

Come join the conversation. Read More »

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