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Cisco Partner Weekly Rewind – September 6, 2013

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Every 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

Cisco introduced a newly defined Small and Midsize Business (SMB) Specialization this week. Steve Benvenuto, Cisco Senior Director of Business Development for the Strategy, Planning and Partner Programs team in the Worldwide Partner Organization, took the time to explain just what the evolution of that specialization means to the channel in his most recent blog.

Cisco has simplified the specialization by reducing the training courses significantly. In addition, the program exams have been updated and the benefits of the specialization have been updated.

Be sure to check out Steve’s blog and get up to speed on the new SMB Specialization. Read More »

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We’re Flipping Learning in Texas: Tech Trends in Action

What if we could change learning in the classroom to better suit students’ needs and accommodate individual learning styles? That’s exactly what Denton Independent School District in Texas is doing through flipped learning and collaborative video technology.

In his recent blog, Barry Fox describes what the future of education looks like at Denton ISD, and the potential for other school districts throughout the country to adopt a similar model. Through flipped learning, students experience a rich virtual classroom experience, with video-based material made available to students from any location through multiple devices, bringing learning beyond the classroom. This provides the flexibility desired by students, enabling them to easily connect with teachers, re-watch content and learn at their own pace.

Help us share the Denton ISD story of championing student-teacher relationships at next year’s SXSW. Vote for our panel at http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/23959.

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Why virtualizing the Network is not the same as virtualizing the Server?

VMware launched NSX, its Network Virtualization platform at VMworld last week. In his keynote, VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger portrayed Network Virtualization as a very natural extension to what VMware accomplished in Server Virtualization. However market fundamentals and early drivers for Server Virtualization are not quite the same as Network Virtualization. Hence any comparison and contrast between the two should be understood and weighed on in their respective contexts.

The drive for Server Virtualization fundamentally was an attempt to address the growing gulf between faster rate of technology advancement in server space relative to customer ability to utilize the excess capacity. It was a trend that was driven by the focus towards gaining efficiency in an era where cost was becoming important. Over nearly a decade now Server Virtualization has accomplished this goal of better utilization of assets:  And server utilization levels have increased by a factor of 4 over the years.

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Networks in the data centers today however do not suffer from this excess capacity problem. If any, the problem is the reverse – user demand for networks capacity continues to outpace what is currently available. As long as there remains a growing gulf between user expectations for capacity relative to technology advancement there will remain opportunity for vendors to innovate in this space. In other words unlike the server world, network virtualization does not shift the value away from the underlying infrastructure.

Server Virtualization is transforming IT by providing greater business agility. Goal of Network Virtualization should be to bring similar business agility for the network. However, this goal need not require complete decoupling of the virtual network from underlying physical network as some vendors may lead you to believe. Any goal of gaining agility by completely decoupling physical and virtual network can only be done with some confidence, by significant under-provisioning of the physical network. For if the bandwidth is plenty the overlays have less dependency on understanding or integrating with the underlying infrastructure. This shortsighted approach, which focuses on business agility, but ignores business assurance, will increase the network capital expenditure and operating expense spend over time. Note that even in the server world where compute efficiency was attained, the benefit did not come at any capex or opex savings. Capex savings attained on server hardware was offset by increased cost of virtualization software. And we have seen opex continues to increase over the last decade.

As IT increasingly begins to take on a service centric view, more intelligence will be needed at the edge – physical or virtual edge.  Cisco’s launch of Dynamic Fabric Automation (DFA) last July, address this view of an optimized fabric infrastructure with a more intelligent network edge that can enable any network anywhere, supporting transparent mobility for physical servers and virtual machines. Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) takes this a step further by enabling application-driven policy automation, management and visibility of physical and virtual networks. They however also integrate the physical and the virtual network for an agile service delivery that also assures full lifecycle user experience.

 You may want also to read on this topic

Dynamic Fabric Automation : http://www.cisco.com/en/US/solutions/ns340/ns517/ns224/ns945/dynamic_fabric_automation.html

Shashi Kiran’s blog :  The Next Paradigm Shift: Application-Centric Infrastructure (ACI) gets ready to rumble 

Padmasree Warrior’s blog : Limitations of a Software-Only Approach to Data Center Networking 

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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:

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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.

Read More »

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Cisco in the Contact Center Business: Reflecting Back and Looking Ahead

With Cisco recently closing our fiscal year, I naturally started to reflect on the past year in our contact center business, and on our history in this market.  Since Cisco entered the contact center market in 1999, the industry has changed in countless ways.  We’ve seen technologies come and go.  We’ve seen an explosion in the number of channels customers use to connect with companies.  We’ve seen the mobile device become the primary entry point to many contact centers—regardless of channel.  And we’ve seen start-ups, new business models, consolidations, and divestitures.

With all of these changes and inflection points over the last decade or so, Cisco has been able to make its mark in the contact center industry.  We’ve grown steadily over the last several years.  In fact, Cisco became one of the top three Contact Center vendors after only five years in the market. As we’ve continued to grow and lead in this industry, we have shipped nearly 3 million Contact Center agent seats, providing the front line personnel with the resources needed to maintain relationships with customers. Cisco shipped 900,000 seats in just the past two years – and the impact that Cisco contact center solutions are making on the level of customer care offered by businesses of all sizes shows no signs of slowing down!

Today, universities fielding more than 25,000 student calls daily, financial institutions using 10,000 customer service agents to answer customer calls and inquiries, and countless other businesses rely on Cisco’s leading Contact Center technology to provide outstanding service and easily manage customer relationships to improve business.

On average, more than 2,600 businesses Read More »

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