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Why #FAIL isn’t Failure – Lessons from the Cloud

If you were paying attention to the Intertubes or Twitterverse today, you probably heard about an issue at one of the well-known Cloud Computing providers. Needless to say, fingers were being pointed left and right, and all the “experts” came out to explain their 20/20 hindsight into causes (still unknown) and avoidance.

I purposefully avoided any comments about these events because sometimes in life systems go down. If you’ve been in the technology industry long enough, and actually worked in support or operations, you know that even the best designs can have issues. And I’m not ashamed to say that I’ve been the cause of some (temporary) issues with large customer systems. When it happens, it’s not a good day for anyone involved -- the operators, their customers, the fat-finger typer or wrong-cable puller, etc.

What dawned on me throughout the day were all the people labeling this #FAIL. This is the Internet’s new meme anytime something goes slightly different than plan. Read More »

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A Smarter, Connected (and Sustainable) World

Today is Earth Day, and that has me thinking green.  As I discussed this afternoon at GigaOm’s Green: Net conference, the world is changing around us in many ways, including becoming more urbanized.  Over the next five years, some 500 million people will be added to the world’s cities.  As we think about how to manage the energy and environmental challenges that will accompany these trends, what role will the network play in helping us be more efficient and more sustainable?  And what benefits will that bring to utilities and to consumers, to governments and communities at large? 

Cities consume 75 percent of the world’s energy and are responsible for 80 percent of greenhouse gas emissions.  Utilities and the energy infrastructure are at the heart of city planning.  If we are to better manage this impact, we must transform our electrical grid into a modern and more sustainable platform for the 21st century.  Technology is the only way we can achieve balanced and sustainable growth.

Lessons in how to make our electric grids more reliable, more secure and more scalable can be gleaned from our experience in vastly revamping the telecommunications infrastructure in the ‘90s.  Here too we had somewhat proprietary, siloed networks that didn’t talk to one another.  Here too we had an industry that was highly regulated and needed to cautiously implement change.  And here too we had an emerging field of companies chomping at the bit to capitalize on making the new telecomm infrastructure everything it could be.

The lessons we learned from this transition are important:  architect the infrastructure on open, standards-based technology; build in security from the beginning; and establish public- private partnerships to align policy with infrastructure investment needs.

This transformation will rely on new technologies but also on leveraging existing technologies such as routing and switching for a utility environment.  Data centers, cloud computing and security have a role to play in managing and protecting the vast influx of usage data so that we can make better educated decisions about energy consumption.  Energy management of businesses and homes will leverage the existing networks extend their reach and impact. And given that the entire grid is the world’s largest infrastructure, integrating energy infrastructure with information technology will require a disciplined, architectural approach that we can only begin to foresee.

This transition has great implications, especially in our largest cities, where the need is most apparent.  Examples are cropping up around the world of this vision in action.  The Envision Charlotte initiative has set a goal of reducing energy use by up to 20 percent within its perimeter through greater education of citizens and use of information technology.  BC Hydro in Vancouver just announced that it will roll out 1.8 million smart meters based on Itron’s OpenWay technology, powered by Cisco, to enable a more efficient grid and foster the use of renewable energy.  And the city of Incheon, Korea is building in sustainability from the ground up.

These are but a few of the examples of how cities are changing, based on their energy and environmental goals.  As I look around today, I see a smarter, more connected world emerging with a more intelligent and efficient energy infrastructure, supporting millions of customers, and billions of watts, with one network at the core

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How are Cisco and Verizon Working Together to Enable Collaboration in the Cloud?

Earlier this week, Eric Schoch, Senior Director for Cisco’s Hosted Collaboration Solution business and Roberta Mackintosh, Verizon’s Director of Unified Communications and Collaboration hosted a ‘Collaboration to the Cloud’ discussion over TelePresence and WebEx with journalists and analysts in Boston, Florida, New York, Washington and Toronto.

Eric and Roberta expanded on each company’s vision for collaboration in the cloud and gave details on their partnership to offer Unified Communications and Collaboration services. Verizon has integrated Cisco’s Hosted Collaboration Solution (HCS) and now offers an enterprise unified communications and collaboration platform which can be tailored and customized for its customers. The platform can be deployed as cloud-based only or as a hybrid of a cloud service and on-premise offering. In phase one of the deployment, some of the applications included are voice, video, instant messaging, and presence based such as Cisco Unified Communications Manager, Cisco Unified Mobility, Cisco Unified Presence, Cisco Unity Connection, and Cisco WebEx Meeting Center (hosted by Cisco).

View the video to hear more about:

o   Why I should care about cloud collaboration as a service provider?

o   Why are service providers essential for collaboration in the cloud?

o   How is Verizon currently deploying collaboration solutions via the cloud?

o   What are the collaboration deployment issues that are facing enterprises?

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The Race to Build the Smartest Cities

Smart cities has been a hot topic for governments around the world for several years as climate concerns, rising urbanization trends and increasingly technology-savvy citizens is driving demand for connected and sustainable cities. The race to build smart cities will only intensify as competitive pressures build up amongst cities to attract the best talent and investment, says Dr Steve Hodgkinson, research director for Ovum, the analyst and consulting company.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S7AaDJGtJGY

Dr Hodgkinson, based in Melbourne, Australia, was speaking to press from around the Asia Pacific region  over TelePresence and WebEx about a new report which he authored: “Is your city smart enough?”. The report cements the role of ICT as an important factor in designing, building and operating smart cities sustainably.

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Is the new data center fabric really a combination of Borg and big Brother? Answer on March 30th

March 25, 2011 at 10:52 am PST

I don’t know about you , but I want to be well prepared for the March 30th Cisco announcement
Listening to Cisco SVP Bill Brownell’s invitation, we can definitely expect some very interesting product news, but more importantly a new round of conversations about the right fabric-infrastructure, especially in the context of cloud computing.

That’s why we will have special guests such as John McCool, Soni Jiandani and Tim Gillis in addition of Forrester Research and IDC (see my previous blog)

So as I was willing to be well prepared, I found this interesting blog from Ivan about data center fabric architecture , which obviously grabbed also the attention of some of our smart  engineers

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