By Chris Ortbals, Senior Vice President, Product Management , Cbeyond Inc.
At the company’s inception in 1999, Cbeyond saw the potential in using IP technology to deliver enterprise-class productivity enhancing communications services to small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). Today, as a cloud and communications services provider, Cbeyond continues to live up to its brand promise as the technology ally to small and mid-sized businesses,
As Cbeyond witnessed the business value large enterprises were achieving from cloud computing, we sought to devise a new strategy and products that would offer our SMB customers the same benefits in a secure, reliable and affordable way. Our competitors typically offer SMBs a commodity-grade or exclusively self-service type of cloud offering. However, we wanted to go further and provide a cloud service that would not only support end-to-end enterprise-grade production applications but also deliver a much superior experience for SMBs.
Our initial expansion into the cloud came with the 2010 acquisitions of MaximumASP, a hosting provider, and Aretta, a network-hosted VoIP provider. We integrated and enhanced the technologies we acquired into TotalCloud, our flexible and highly customizable cloud services platform.
We’ve had a successful relationship with Cisco since 1999, when we launched the first Cisco-powered 100% IP network delivering services to SMBs. So naturally we considered partnering with Cisco as we made the move into the cloud services market.
In the search for the right partner, we did our due diligence and evaluated three vendors. However, we found that only Cisco could help us deploy, provision, test and implement a cloud platform that not only met our requirements but that could also be launched within our aggressive timeframe.
Our TotalCloud Data Center, a service platform for public and private cloud solutions, is powered by Cisco technology, with Cisco Unified Computing System™, Cisco UCS Blade servers, and Cisco Nexus switches. This solution provides us with a repeatable, scalable architecture that can be used in our current and future data centers.
We collaborated with Cisco Services, for Data Center Optimization and Network Optimization Services since network performance is critical to running production applications in the cloud.
Other vendors would have pieced a cloud offering together from multiple sources so going with Cisco as a single vendor offered a clear advantage over using multiple vendors to accomplish the same task. Also, many cloud platforms are built like an island with limited integration into other products used by a service provider, however the Cisco offering is the complete opposite. Cisco has architected its technology in partnership with us so that their technology not only supports how we want our business to operate but how we deliver services and value to our entire customer base.
And partnering with Cisco paid off. With the help of Cisco Services, Cbeyond’s time-to-market for our cloud offering was reduced by two months, and we were able to secure new revenue opportunities earlier than expected.
On April 10, 2013, a collective of politically motivated hacktivists announced a round of planned attacks called #OPUSA. These attacks, slated to begin May 7, 2013, are to be launched against U.S.-based targets. #OPUSA is a follow-up to #OPISRAEL, which were a series of attacks carried out on April 7 against Israeli-based targets. Our goal here is to summarize and inform readers of resources, recommendations, network mitigations, and best practices that are available to prevent, mitigate, respond to, or dilute the effectiveness of these attacks. This blog was a collaborative effort between myself, Kevin Timm, Joseph Karpenko, Panos Kampanakis, and the Cisco TRAC team.
If the attackers follow the same patterns as previously witnessed during the #OPISRAEL attacks, then targets can expect a mixture of attacks. Major components of previous attacks consisted of denial of service attacks and web application exploits, ranging from advanced ad-hoc attempts to simple website defacements. In the past, attackers used such tools as LOIC, HOIC, and Slowloris.
Publicly announced attacks of this nature can have highly volatile credibility. In some cases, the announcements exist only for the purpose of gaining notoriety. In other cases, they are enhanced by increased publicity. Given the lack of specific details about participation or capabilities, the exact severity of the attack can’t be known until it (possibly) happens. Read More »
Great challenges can bring great opportunities to any business, and with the inevitability of cloud on the horizon, IT organizations will need to embrace this change. Taking the first, second or even third step can be scary, but the return on taking such risks will pay off so long as the IT organization champions the deployment.
Cisco itself has also had to face these risks of deploying cloud, and has already embarked on the private cloud (IaaS) journey —all the way from virtualizing the compute, network, and storage resources to integrating change management, and metering services for “pay as you use”.
Some of the challenges that we encountered typical that other IT organizations could face in cloud adoption were:
• Ensuring security. Each cloud solution has to be matched to appropriate security capabilities. The new capabilities may include centralized management (vs. trying to manage firewalls on ever-changing edges or trying to manage security on each endpoint), scalable multi-tenant architectures, real-time threat analysis and dynamic mitigation delivery.
• Navigating the required steps. Even the public cloud model is never one-size-fits-all. A successful cloud initiative requires several best practice steps, which occur in three phases:
Plan, including aligning the business and architecture strategies, planning and design, and security.
Build, including staging, testing, and implementing solutions and systems integration.
Manage, including network assurance, remote monitoring/diagnostics/alerts, optimization, and support.
• Establishing the business justification. Calculate the projected and actual ROI from cloud project expenses for equipment and services.
It’s very rare for any IT organization to already have all the in-house expertise and experience that’s required for a cloud project. This will eventually happen, but IT organizations can fast-track their cloud initiatives by partnering with a company that understands the cloud journey.
Cisco Services has a proven methodology for implementing private clouds that can help ensure your agency makes a smooth and effective transition to cloud. It starts with the Cisco Domain TenSM discussion to identify where you need to focus among ten crucial areas:
New cloud platforms are rapidly transforming government IT—just as client/server and mainframe/terminal platforms did in decades past.
If you embark on the cloud journey, you’re committing to an exciting and long-term opportunity. And when you step out your door to head to work each day, you’ll be an agent of change for your organization and your career.
I’m curious, what do you see as the biggest challenges to a government entity adopting a cloud model?
Stay tuned to view upcoming installations of the Cloud for Local Government blog series or click here to register and reserve your copy of the complete compilation of the blog series, including this blog as well as a variety of cloud resources, which will be available in May.
The data center landscape has changed dramatically in several dimensions. Server virtualization is almost a defacto standard with a big increase in VM density. And there is a move towards world of many clouds. Then there is the massive data growth. Some studies show that data is doubling in every 2 years while there is an increased adoption of solid-state drives (SSD). All of these megatrends demand new solutions in the SAN market. To meet these needs, Cisco’s introducing the next generation Storage Network innovations with the new MDS 9710 Multilayer Director and new MDS 9250i Multiservice Switch. These new multi-protocol, services-rich MDS innovations redefine storage networking with superior performance, reliability and flexibility!
We are, once again, demonstrating Cisco’s extraordinary capability to bring to market innovations that meet our customer needs today and tomorrow.
For example, with the new MDS solutions, we are announcing 16 Gigabit Fibre Channel (FC) and 10 Gigabit Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) support. But guess what? This is just couple of the many innovations we are introducing. In other words, we bring 16 Gigabit FC and beyond to our customers:
A NEW BENCHMARK FOR PERFORMANCE
We design our solutions with future requirements in mind. We want to create long term value for our customers and investment protection moving forward.
The switching fabric in the MDS 9710 is one example of this design philosophy. The MDS 9710 chassis can accommodate up to six fabric cards delivering:
1.536 Tbps per slot for Fibre Channel – 24 Tbps per chassis capacity
Only 3 fabric cards are required to support full 16G line rate capacity
Supports up to 384 Line Rate 16G FC or 10G FCoE ports
So there is room for growth for higher throughput in the future …without forklift upgrades
This is more thanthree times the bandwidth of any Director in the market today – providing our customers with a superior investment protection for any future needs!
How time flies: Cisco and Intel are celebrating their one-year partnership anniversary of Unleashing IT with the launch of the all new, Spring 2013 edition. Available online and in print, this latest installment is once again packed with thought-leadership content and company profiles.
Over the past year, Unleashing IT has uncovered and shared many IT best practices. The industries represented through the company profiles featured are extremely diverse, as are their solutions and deployment strategies.
But there is a common thread -- they are all are leveraging data center technology to advance, accelerate and streamline their business, enter new markets, all while achieving substantial cost savings. From education to healthcare to utility companies, innovation in the data center is driving their success -- and allowing them to keep up with demands of the business.
Perhaps you will find inspiration from these profiles, sparking new ideas -- and allowing you unleash the full potential of IT for your business.