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Things to Know Before You Go: Cisco Partner Summit 2011

I’ve attended 12 Partner Summits, if you can believe it, so I wanted to take a moment to share with you some of the things you need to know before you attend this year’s event. The event starts on Monday, February 28 in New Orleans, Louisiana and Virtual Partner Summit begins on Tuesday March 1.

As a Partner Summit veteran, I’ve got some tried-and-true tips for enjoying the event. (Watch the cartoon version of me in this video, walking you through the things you should do to prepare.)

Keep reading to find out about some of the big topics we’ll be covering next week at Partner Summit 2011 and how you can get involved.
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Cisco’s Unified Fabric in the Data Center

Our industry certainly loves its buzzwords.  For a while, everything was about “virtualized this” and “virtualized that” in the data center.  Then there is a current love affair with “cloud”.  It seems the next hot buzzword might turn out to be fabric.

For Cisco, “fabric” in the data center has defined our data center strategy and vision for the last three years.  With the introduction of the Cisco Nexus family in January 2008, we also announced the concept of Unified Fabric as a fundamental building block for the data center.  We offered the simple vision of a single fabric to link all the network, compute and storage resources in a data center as a mechanism to not only reduce TCO but also improve agility and flexibility.  Since then, we have released a steady flow of products and technologies to deliver on the promise of Cisco Unified Fabric by simplifying the infrastructure with convergence, improving its ability to handle virtual and physical scale and increasing the intelligence of the fabric to increase agility and lower operating costs.

While initially hesitant, customers and industry experts are beginning to see the merits of Cisco’s vision, especially in the age of virtualization and cloud.  Meanwhile, other vendors in the marketplace are left to play catch-up.  In a November 4, 2010 independent report titled “Q&A: Networking Landscape, Q4 2010” Forrester Research, Inc. commented that:

“To Cisco’s credit, it saw the data center evolution way before any other networking vendor and started to build a set of products and solutions directed at a converged and virtual world.”- Forrester Research, Inc.

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CRN: “Cisco’s Chambers: Architecture Is The Future”

CRN recently sat down with Cisco Chairman CEO John Chambers, SVP Channels Edison Peres, SVP Services Karl Meulema, SVP Small Business Ian Pennell and numerous other executives across Cisco to create a remarkable set of feature stories published in this month’s print edition.

The feature stories examine everything from Cisco’s architectural strategy to the success Cisco has had within the small business market to the hottest emerging opportunities for the channel to John Chambers’ vision for partners.

“The architecture play, as Cisco sees it, is all-encompassing, with the cloud as the next frontier. It extends from network core to network edge – data center to mobile device – and serves as an organizing principle for everything from switches and routers to video, servers, wireless access points and security. Cisco can, and does, do them all. And what Chambers is asking partners to do isn’t to be everything to everyone and attempt to sell everything but, in essence, see the architectural forest for the product trees and map the way they sell Cisco to that strategy.” – CRN, Cisco’s Chambers: Architecture Is The Future

Read all the stories and view the videos and slide shows:

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What Do Cloud, Twitter, and Virtual Partner Summit Have in Common?

I’ve often said that the boundaries between work and life are blurring. I use Twitter every day to collaborate, talk with friends and engage in conversations I don’t normally have in the natural course of my business day.  It’s amazing to send out a tweet and to have people react immediately.

And while technology lets us send a single tweet to people around globe, it has other fantastic benefits, too—it also lets us attend a conference without having to even board a plane.

Join me at Cisco’s Virtual Partner Summit March 1-3, 2011 to see live keynotes, breakout sessions that will help you prepare a customer for a cloud solution, and a chance to ask me and other Cisco executives questions during live video chats. (All without having to leave home.) Register today.

Want to hear more about the topics that are top-of-mind for me as I head into Partner Summit?
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Addressing the Need for Cloud Service Assurance

The Enterprise Goal
Enterprises are continually striving to reduce their IT costs and optimize utilization of their compute resources. The demand for compute, storage and networking resources to support business applications can be difficult to predict, leading to risks of overbuilding or underestimation of demand. As a result Enterprises are looking to adopt cloud services that are available on-demand, and are flexible and scalable to meet their IT service needs in a predictable and cost effective manner.

The Service Provider Advantage
Communications service providers are in a unique position to meet the needs of the Enterprise for service assurance as they develop cloud services. With considerable experience in managing data centers, and with an IP NGN MPLS network spanning from their data centers to enterprise locations around the globe, as well as having back office systems, including billing and support, communications service providers have what it takes for success in the cloud services market. Given the critical role of both the data center and the network in application delivery the development of cloud-based services represents an opportunity for the communications service provider to work with the enterprise to help them overcome their challenges for delivery of business critical applications throughout the organization, while meeting their business goals to contain costs, protect data assets, and ensure employee productivity.

Leverage The Network
Too meet these challenges and deliver reliable cloud-services communications service providers can leverage their IP NGN MPLS network and data center assets and apply their considerable expertise and experience to deliver service level agreements that align with the business processes of the enterprise, so that the enterprise can adopt cloud services with confidence, knowing that their applications will have the performance and security that they need as they are delivered over the WAN.

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