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Myth-busting: White-box Switches are No Bargain

In the last episode of our myth-busting series, Cisco SDN expert Frank D’Agostino and I are debunking the myth of the bargain priced white-box switch. White boxes aren’t a new subject in the market, but customers are just now starting to evaluate them for return on investment. So, where to start? When considering a white-box deployment, it is crucial to do all of the math. You must consider both the capital costs and the ongoing operational costs of this type of solution.

Two independent reports show that the up-front cost savings of a white-box switch are marginal as compared to those of traditional vendors. Deutsche Bank published “Whitebox Switches are Not Exactly a Bargain” in 2013, while Forrester Research recently released a study titled, “The Myth of White-Box Network Switches,” (February 20, 2015).

While the cost of a white-box and traditional switch are fairly similar from a capital expenditure point of view, Cisco analysis shows that white-box switches are more expensive when you include operational expenditures, such as the integration of third party software, tools and support costs. In fact, these real-life deployment factors can result in a total cost of ownership for Cisco that is approximately 20-30 percent less expensive than the full deployment of white-box switches.

Bottom line: White-box switches have hidden costs that make them more expensive than traditional switches when fully deployed. When you add up the cost of hardware, third-party software, integration and support, they are clearly no bargain. Check out our video conversation for more on this topic.

 

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IoE-Powered Business Transformation Boosts Agility and Efficiency for Oil and Gas Companies

This week I’m attending CERAWeek, the premier international gathering of energy industry leaders, experts, government officials, policymakers, and innovators. While this is the 34th annual CERAWeek conference, the mood is definitely not “business as usual.” The disruption and uncertainty created by plunging oil prices and shifting market dynamics has created the urgency throughout the industry to rethink strategies and adopt connected technologies to spur operational efficiencies.

But disruption can also create opportunity. Forward-thinking oil and gas (O&G) firms see today’s turbulent market as an opportunity to gain competitive advantage by harnessing new technologies. For example, in the Eagle Ford region in North America, improved drilling technologies are now enabling oil rigs to produce 18 times more efficiently than in 2008, and 65 percent more efficiently than in 2013.

A new study by Cisco highlights the opportunity to achieve even greater efficiencies through transformed business models and digital technologies powered by the Internet of Everything (IoE)—the networked connection of people process, data, and things.

With IoE, oil and gas firms have the opportunity to make IT services a commodity in the business, creating the potential for dramatic cost reduction and improved operational efficiency. The illustration below shows several ways O&G operations can benefit from connected technologies. To achieve these benefits, however, they will need to bring together both the IT and the operational technology (OT) sides of the business. Our survey indicates that oil and gas firms have a long way to go in breaking down the barriers between IT and OT. In fact, only 41 percent of respondents “completely” or “somewhat” agreed that their firms’ IT and OT strategies are aligned.

OandG_Digital_Tranform_01

Source: Cisco, 2015

Here are some examples of how IT-OT convergence can impact the areas of data, collaboration, and cybersecurity: Read More »

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The Internet of Everything Will Help Solve Problems That Lead To Recalls

Product recalls can be a headache for customers and consumers, but a financial nightmare for manufacturers.

Just look at the auto industry. An air-bag recall will cost one manufacture up to $235 million. While a gas pedal problem will hit another manufacture with upwards of $2 billion. Yes, billion.

But recalls aren’t isolated to the auto industry. Food. Toys. Tech. Virtually no industry goes untouched.

And it’s not just the size of a recall that matters. It’s the damage to your brand’s reputation. Plus, recalling a product is more complex than ever.

Here’s why. Read More »

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A Turning Point for Oil and Gas: Managing Through Turbulence to Digital Transformation

This is a big week for the global energy industry, as thousands of energy leaders, experts, technologists, and policymakers gather in Houston, Texas, for the 34th annual CERAWeek conference, the premier international event for the industry. As a corporate sponsor of the event, it’s also a big week for Cisco.

Just last week, Cisco released a new report focused on the need for digital transformation in the oil and gas industry. Based on a survey of oil and gas executives, analysts, and consultants in 14 countries, the paper validates CERAWeek’s “oil day” theme, “Turning Point for the Oil Industry.” For forward-thinking oil and gas companies, the price volatility and turbulence in the market could represent a turning point toward true digital transformation. Read More »

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Signs of Collaboration

The moment you step off your plane at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, you face a barrage of signs. That’s always been the case, but the old neon signs of the ‘50s and ‘60s are rapidly being replaced by giant LED displays announcing concerts, fine dining, magic acts and shopping malls. Everyone’s vying for your attention to tell you about the latest, greatest, biggest or best.

That approach continued last week in the massive Las Vegas Convention Center, a complex as large as 56 football fields.  At the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Show, more than 1,700 companies (including Cisco) demonstrated their latest technology innovations. Every booth had someone imploring you to come see the latest digital camera, mobile production studio, lighting grid or satellite uplink.

Yet there was another strong message that came through to me during my visits to the show floor: partnership. As the traditional broadcast suppliers seek to move their products and services into the IP-enabled realm, you’re seeing more strategic alliances being formed to accomplish that end.

For example, over the past three years, Cisco’s Sports & Entertainment Solutions Group has been partnering with EVS, the digital video production leaders, to transform the way video is delivered to sports fans in stadiums and arenas around the world. The formula is quite simple: EVS captures massive amounts of game content on its video servers and Cisco has the wired and wireless networks in place to deliver the replays of touchdowns, goals and slam-dunks to every screen in the stadium. Read More »

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