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Napkins, Toolboxes, and IT..

What do these three things have in common? For Lone Star College System (LSCS), the fastest growing community college in the U.S., these items helped build a whole new technology foundation.

While at a higher-education conference, CIO of LSCS, Link Alander, and former VP of data center virtualization at Presidio, Steve Kaplan, began hashing out what it would take to deliver the best computing experience—on a napkin. They jotted down all the ways technology could deliver a customizable, optimal, and educational platform to students and faculty.

The vision was a toolbox, not just any one tool: an entire resource pool for professors to contribute to -- and students to pull from -- anytime, on any device, from anywhere.

Click here to read full story.

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Spotlight on Cloud Connectors

April 25, 2013 at 1:14 pm PST

Its interesting to note how much ‘cloud’ has crept into many of our personal lives already. Dropbox, iTunes, Amazon and many other services (plus so many apps) that are leveraging this kind of infrastructure and we often don’t think about it. Frankly, we don’t often care!

Making this work in our multi-location offices with business critical functions and security at stake is of course a different matter. Cisco has been doing some interesting work with something called ‘Cloud Connetors.’ The general idea is to make it really simple for the applications and the network to become more mutually aware of each other. How they can work better together.

We just released ‘Spotlight on Cloud Connectors.’ Watch and see how these things can simplify everything from centralized back up to identity and access management. We cover a numbe of differnt examples.

Spotlight on Cloud Connectors

For more in depth information: Cloud Connectors

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Cloud for Local Government Global Blog Series, Be an Agent of Change in Your Organization: Embark on the Cloud Journey

April 25, 2013 at 7:20 am PST

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.

Read More »

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The Mobile Paradox

Today’s world is characterized by what I call the “mobile explosion”—an environment defined by mobile cloud becoming a platform for delivering everything. It is a world of heterogeneous networks, licensed macro small cell networks, and unlicensed small cell networks (Wi-Fi for example), all seamlessly combined. In this world, however, I believe we are facing a mobile paradox: on the one hand, there is a staggering demand for data from our smartphones, tablets, and other connected devices; on the other hand, the telecommunications industry is grappling with business and monetization challenges around profitability, how to build up these networks fast enough, and competition from over-the-top (OTT) operators.  But, operators are struggling with building the business case and understanding how to make Wi-Fi pay.

The much quoted Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) predicts that global mobile data traffic will increase 13-fold from 2012 to 2017, reaching 11.2 exabytes per month. In parallel, the use of unlicensed small cell networks (Wi-Fi) for Internet access is exploding as more mobile devices are Wi-Fi-enabled, the number of public hotspots expands, and user acceptance grows. Until recently, most technologists and mobile industry executives viewed Wi-Fi as the “poor cousin” to licensed mobile communications.  And they most certainly never saw any role for Wi-Fi in mobile networks or their business. The explosion of mobile data traffic has changed all of that. Most mobile operators now realize that offloading data traffic to Wi-Fi can, and must, play a significant role in helping them avoid clogged networks and unhappy customers.

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In the “Business Models and Monetization Video” in Big Thinkers in Small Cells, my colleagues and I discuss revenue opportunities and challenges mobile operators face today with small cells, both licensed and unlicensed. Mobile operators Read More »

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#EngineersUnplugged S2|Ep12: The Evolution of Virtualization

April 24, 2013 at 11:06 am PST

In this week’s episode of Engineers Unplugged, join Gabriel Chapman (@Bacon_Is_King) and Dave Henry (@davemhenry) as they chart the evolution of virtualization, from mainframes up to software defined data centers. This is a technical deep-dive you don’t want to miss:

One thing that hasn’t evolved as much, the unicorn, shown here, fully virtualized:

Introducing the fully virtualized unicorn, courtesy of Gabriel Chapman and Dave Henry.

Introducing the fully virtualized unicorn, courtesy of Gabriel Chapman and Dave Henry.

Welcome to Engineers Unplugged, where technologists talk to each other the way they know best, with a whiteboard. The rules are simple:

  1. Episodes will publish weekly (or as close to it as we can manage)
  2. Subscribe to the podcast here: engineersunplugged.com
  3. Follow the #engineersunplugged conversation on Twitter
  4. Submit ideas for episodes or volunteer to appear by Tweeting to @CommsNinja
  5. Practice drawing unicorns

We’ll see you hear next week! As always, if you have show ideas or will be at EMC World and want to be internet-famous, follow the steps above and become part of Engineers Unplugged.

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