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Software Defined Contact Center

If you are a technology professional, then chances are that you are aware (maybe to the point of annoyance) that everything is getting defined in software these days. We have Software-Defined Networking (SDN), Software-Defined Data Center (SDDC), Software-Defined Storage (SDS), and the list goes on and on. Software defining anything has become such a powerful trend that we now have a generally accepted name and acronym for just that: “Software-Defined Anything” or SDx for short.

Despite the widespread nature of the trend, Software-Defined Contact Center (SDCC) is nowhere to be found amongst the Software-Defined goodness that floods our social media feeds on a daily basis. Software-Defined Contact Center is so absent from the online world that if you search Google for the term you get only articles that reference Software-Defined Data Center, seemly because 3 out of the 4 words are common to both. If you search for the #SDCC hash tag on Twitter you will find yourself at the official account of the San Diego Comic Con. This raises the question, why isn’t SDCC “a thing?” This question is particularly relevant since Cisco’s Intelligent Contact Management (ICM) has been allowing us to build Software-Defined Contact Centers since the late 1990s. Let’s take a look at how ICM delivers on the Software-Defined paradigm for Contact Centers. Read More »

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IoT, The Oppressed Project

IoT, The Oppressed Project

We are now in the era of IoT “Internet of Things”. It’s a concept that not only has the potential to impact how we live but also how we work. And as things become more connected, people become more concerned about their security and privacy. I have gone through a lot of technical conversation about IoT and realized how paranoid people are about their connected devices and appliances.

Why paranoid?

The future Internet will be an IPv6 network interconnecting traditional computers and a large number of smart objects or networks such as Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs). By 2020 there will be over 26 Billion connected devices and some estimate this number to be more than 100 Billion connected devices. This includes mobile phones, Smart TVs, washing machines, wearable devices, Microwave, Fridges, headphones, door locks, garage door openers, scales, home alarms, hubs for multiple devices, remote power outlets and almost anything else you can think of like your car and airplane jet engines.

Ways of securing the traditional Internet networks have been established and tested. The IoT is a hybrid network of the Internet and resource-constrained networks, and it is, therefore, reasonable to explore the options of using security mechanisms standardized for the Internet in the IoT.

What will we do about managing the usernames and passwords of every single connected device? What about our privacy? What if some hacker was able to control our video cameras? More and more questions are being asked and more security concerns are being escalated. Do we really have to be paranoid about IoT?

IoT was already there

Most of us have Computers, Laptops, Tablets, Mobile phones, Printers, Game consoles, Media players, Storage device, Video Cameras and Satellite Receivers which are already connected to our home networks. Those are some of the Internet of Things devices and we were OK with that although if some hacker could hack into one of the cameras connected to one of the Laptops or even to one of the Smart TVs, he could see what’s going on inside the home ;)

So what is the problem?

The problem is not with IoT, the problem is with how we understand IoT. IoT not only means the interconnectedness of appliances, computers, microprocessors and machines, all of which have IP addresses or some form of digital identification, it also means the interconnectedness of devices coupled with automated and centralized data collection and analysis capabilities from those devices or processors linked to them. This leads to tremendous possibilities to develop new applications for the IoT, such as home automation and home security management, smart energy monitoring and management, item and shipment tracking, surveillance and military, smart cities, health monitoring, logistics monitoring and management. Due to the global connectivity and sensitivity of applications, security in real deployments in the IoT is a requirement.

Cisco is very clear about IoT Security:

“IoT security requires a new approach that combines physical and cyber security components.”

Learn how Cisco can help you more securely implement the opportunities and benefits the IoT can bring.  IoT Security

Please watch this video, where Dan O’Malley and “Rick the Radio Guy” give an overview about how Cisco IPICS open standards and integrated technologies enable Internet of Things Secure Mobile Communications and Communications Interoperability to support mission needs for Public Safety, Defense, Manufacturing, Utilities, Transportation, Mining, and more.

What to do?

“#security should be the #1 thing companies focus on in the wake of #IoT” – CEO John Chambers

“It is not often that companies learn from the past, even rarer that they draw the correct conclusions from it.” –  Henry Kissinger

I hope companies will break this trend when it comes to security in the Internet of Things (IoT). Here, I will give some tips for both end users and service providers to secure IoT. Read More »

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Summary: Use Rate-Limiting to Alleviate Link Saturation

Here’s the scenario: you have a remote branch office in Miami that has been running smoothly for months. Today you are getting complaints from the site that relate to phone calls dropping, email and network connectivity being intermittent. Management is pushing your team to get it fixed.

You start by looking closely at the WAN circuit going into the site. You use a program that Cisco introduced called NetFlow. By using this program you are able to determine that the WAN link is being saturated by a particular server to server file transfer. You need a quick fix to this issue. You could go with QoS but that could take some time and input from the site to gather statistics on the critical traffic. Instead you decide to utilize Rate-Limiting on the WAN interface.

Tags: #CiscoChampion, #CiscoEnterprise, #NetworkEngineer

Read the full article here.


Defending Your Console

A new problem has arisen in CCNA class: We have a lab that asks the students to enable a debug command; the debug overruns the console buffer to the extent that commands cannot be entered, and this goes on for more than an hour!

In my 15 years of teaching CCNA classes, we have always taught the dangers of using debug commands on production equipment. To demonstrate this, we would have the students run the debug ip packet command, let it run for 30 seconds, and then turn it off. Of course, turning off the debug is challenging, so we would teach the trick of turning the debug off before we would turn it on: adding the undebug all command to our command history buffer.

Running this test on the 2500 series and 2600 series routers would usually cause a crash and a forced reboot. After we changed the lab equipment to the newer ISR 2800 series, the same demonstration no longer resulted in a router crash; however, it introduced a new problem: loss of control of the command line.

The sheer amount of debug messages would cause the command line to be unusable. The debug messages continued to overrun the console buffer for over an hour before we would finally run out of patience and power cycle the router. In a lab scenario, this causes the students to take an excessive amount of time to finish their lab, and for people studying for certifications, it wastes precious study time. A better way to manage debugs is needed. We would like to see the debug messages (they can be very helpful in both troubleshooting and understanding how protocols function), but we would also like to retain control of the command line. Read More »

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Introduction to Nexus 1000v Features and Deployment

Over the last 12 months I’ve been doing a lot of work that has involved the Cisco Nexus 1000v, and during this time I came to realise that there wasn’t a huge amount of recent information available online about it.

Because of this I’m going to put together a short post covering what the 1000v is, and a few points around it’s deployment.

What is the Nexus 1000v?

The blurb on the VMware website defines the 1000v as “..a software switch implementation that provides an extensible architectural platform for virtual machines and cloud networking.”, and the Cisco website says, “This switch: Extends the network edge to the hypervisor and virtual machines, is built to scale for cloud networks, forms the foundation of virtual network overlays for the Cisco Open Network Environment and Software Defined Networking (SDN)”

So that’s all fine and good, but what does this mean for us? Well, the 1000v is a software only switch that sits inside the ESXi (and KVM or Hyper-V, if they’re your poison) Hypervisor that leverages VMware’s built-in Distributed vSwitch functionality.

1000v Read More »

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