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The Evolution of Networking Software

As a long time networking veteran, I’ve watched our industry change and respond to a wide variety of disruptive changes. I remember PictureTel ISDN videoconferenchqdefaultes on the IBM PC. Then came  IP video conferencing in the early ’90s.  Things picked up 1991, when Microsoft launched Windows Media Player 1.0.

Though Windows Media Player and Microsoft Multimedia Extensions arrived without much fanfare, they ushered in the ability to record and playback audio, and display high-performance graphics on the desktop PC — a feature, prior to that time, reserved for high-end graphics workstations such as the Commodore AMIGA.

But these capabilities were the foundation that led to video streaming in 1995. And, as we know, the future of the Internet, and the network, would never be the same.  (Obligatory Rick-roll omitted)

Today, I watch younger generations (such as my own children) take for granted the networks that are all around them. Social media as we know it was (and is) clearly fueled by our endless appetite to create and share content with the whole world.  Unlike the Internet of the 1990’s, today, you can do it all from the palm of your hand. Read More »

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Quick Tips for Tracking Alerts

It’s no secret, networks, in general, are more challenging to manage than before.

As networks increase in complexity to embrace new business innovations, they may require more supporting devices, which, in turn, can result in even more alerts to manage.

If you’re a network manager or security officer, what are you going to do?

At Quintiles, they started using Smart Net Total Care to identify devices that might have security vulnerabilities. In the centralized portal, their IT team could easily access information on each type of alert, which is displayed by category or device and contains summary information with a link to the actual alert on

“In the past, our security team would receive a notification and need detailed data from us to determine our level of risk,” says Wil Bolton, senior network systems engineer for Quintiles. “Now we can be proactive, because we can check the portal and know immediately. We have already completed some critical upgrades based on PSIRT information and can be confident that we are aware of a potential vulnerability.”

So, how are you going to quickly identify risks and network vulnerabilities? How will you reduce time chasing irrelevant alerts, so you have more time to focus on projects you care about?  Read More »

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Cisco Intelligent WAN with Akamai Connect At Interop

Interop is just around the corner. I am sure there will be plenty of thought provoking content about how to transform IT, compelling demos, and SDN everywhere. But let’s not forget the reality of most IT organizations today.

The majority face the fact that digital innovation is overwhelming their enterprise network. Everything from internal and external Web apps, SaaS, HD video, software updates, mobile apps and even digital signage are traversing the network eating up valuable bandwidth. Analysts even predict that average enterprise bandwidth requirements will increase by up to 50% per year while 60% of WAN budgets are flat or declining.

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In addition most enterprises seem to subscribe to doing more with less – particularly when it comes to IT – so upgrading enterprise network bandwidth across locations every few years just isn’t viable – both from a budget and agility perspective. That is not to mention that a lot of enterprises can’t upgrade their bandwidth even if they wanted to due to branch location. Read More »

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How Cisco IT is Moving to Integrated Network Management

Do you recognize this situation? The network is growing and becoming more complex, but it is managed by a collection of narrowly focused management tools that can’t keep up.

This is the situation we faced in Cisco IT. Our previous network management systems were a mixed bag: A few Cisco products here, a few third-party products there, along with many homegrown scripts for “special” network elements and management tasks. Read More »

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Gartner Recognizes Cisco WAAS as a Leader in the Magic Quadrant for WAN Optimization

I’m very excited and proud to announce that Gartner has placed Cisco into the Leaders quadrant in the Magic Quadrant for WAN Optimization. We believe this accomplishment reflects the substantial progress Cisco has made in developing and executing on its vision for the Cisco Intelligent WAN (IWAN) with Cisco Wide Area Application Services (WAAS) over the past three years – a record that we feel clearly demonstrates Cisco’s ability to compete in this space.

Magic Quadrant for WAN Optimization

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*Source: Gartner (March 2015)

The timing couldn’t be better

The analyst research and press coverage tells us loud and clear that the WAN is hotter than ever, and for good reason: mobility, cloud and the digitization of the enterprise are changing how we consume and deliver applications. Even the applications themselves are changing, as we’ve seen with the rise of a whole new class of bandwidth-intensive and latency-sensitive mobile apps and video. Read More »

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