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How Do You Balance Network Innovation with Standards?

June 1, 2011 at 4:57 pm PST

Do you recall what it was like before email? Nah, me neither. If you were around for the pre-email/pre-personal computer era, you may recall sending someone a letter written using a pen and paper. The only way the letter would arrive safely was (and still is) to affix a stamp to it. Feels like ancient history now when it’s possible to email a message around the globe within a matter of moments.

Suffice it to say, technology has advanced the method and speed at which we communicate. But innovation hasn’t happened in a vacuum; the standards governing the technology industry have evolved, too. Just imagine what your digital life would be like if we didn’t create standards. Would you want to put postage stamps on your email messages?

Of course, the question is, how do you balance innovation with standards? Without standards, you may miss out on the brilliant innovations that have come before (security and a framework that keeps things running smoothly, to name a couple). But rely too heavily on standards and you miss out on future innovation.

In our continuing coverage of the Seven Myths Around the Good-Enough Network on Silicon Angle, we explore myth number four--The Standards Myth.

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Curse You, UCS

June 1, 2011 at 10:00 am PST

I’m shaking my fist at the Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS).  It’s making me let go of a Data Center solution that worked well in the past.

I worked for years on Cisco’s team that designed and managed our Data Centers.  In the early 2000s, hardware compaction strongly influenced our physical design.  Every few weeks it seemed a different manufacturer debuted a new server smaller and more powerful than its predecessor.  We could fit more gear into our cabinets and so found we had a lot more cabling to manage.  This was especially challenging in legacy Data Centers with cables routed below the under-floor plenum.  More cabling meant less airflow.  

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Secure desktop virtualization and more highlights from Citrix Synergy

Last week I had the opportunity to attend the Citrix Synergy conference in San Francisco.   The conference was buzzing with the latest innovations for desktop virtualization, data center and cloud.   

Secure desktop virtualization infrastructure is compelling for government agencies seeking strategies to reduce costs, improve operational efficiency, and provide control and security of centralized desktops and mobile multi-media clients. 

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QLnmpbc-Pi4

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Maintain or Replace – be Energy Efficient or not – continuing the debate

So the other day my wife told me the water in the shower didn’t seem as hot as it normally does. “Maybe something wrong with the water heater?” she said. I did all the normal checks: no water on the basement floor, pilot is lit, check, check. All seems ok.

We happened to go to Home Depot to buy some other stuff, but we ran into the water heater guy.  His diagnosis: water heater going bad. (Full admission, it is 11 years old)

I kind of buy his story, it makes sense. Here is an appliance that is 11 years old that I never maintained. Expected life is 10 years, so I am already plus one, right? And maybe a new one would be more efficient, right?

But isn’t that the sort of internal argument manufacturers go through every day? Sunk cost (what they already paid for) vs. Maintenance vs. Replacement? How efficient are the machines you bought 10 or 15 years ago? How do you know? How much does it cost you for a shutdown for two to three days while you secure a replacement machine and install it? Wouldn’t that information be valuable to you if it was visible? How do you know?

Energy management/awareness is certainly a big part of this sustainability issue. Check out this video from Chet:

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Cisco Unified Computing System Achieves a Major Milestone

Infographic: Cisco UCS Market ShareIt’s been an exciting two years since we introduced the Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) solution to the world. UCS provides virtualized compute and networking with simple management. I want to congratulate our service provider customers on their successes in delivering differentiated services, with UCS as the foundation, in their markets. I would also like to extend our thanks to our business partners, both channel partners and those with complementary product offerings, for their expertise and ability to help accelerate this truly innovative idea across the data center and cloud industry.

In two short years, Cisco has risen to the #3 player in the fastest growing segment of the x86 server market.

Released yesterday, the IDC press release on Worldwide Quarterly Server Tracker Q1 2011 highlights the UCS uptake by our customers and partners and shows a great start to our vision for UCS in every SP, enterprise, and public sector organization looking for a world-class scalable, flexible, and powerful converged server platform. The rapid growth from launch to #3 in the industry for x86 blade servers in such a short time indicates two points:  First, that the data center industry was crying out for real technology innovation and, second, that innovative customers are willing to embrace a new paradigm when the business benefits delivered are compelling.

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