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How are Cloud Services Challenging the Network?

The seemingly endless demand for Cloud Services is driving the need for more data center capacity. This trend is also driving the need for greater bandwidth and intelligent networks for users to access these Cloud services. It is not just Enterprises driving demand for data center capacity from companies like Salesforce.com or Amazon Web Services by using public Cloud services.  Social media companies like Facebook,  Google and Yahoo are expanding their own data centers to meet escalating user growth. So how are companies going to change their data center infrastructure to meet this growing demand?

From an Enterprise perspective, the Cloud business model is too compelling to ignore. The Cloud offers an elastic model that allows infrastructure capacity to be increased and decreased on demand. The Cloud’s usage-based model helps enterprises increase business agility and reduce costs by reducing or eliminating the need for their own data center infrastructure. Despite all the benefits, some enterprises have been cautious about moving to the Cloud because of concerns about availability, security, and application performance.

So how can Cloud Service Providers convince Enterprises that their Cloud services address these concerns? By ensuring that the Cloud provider infrastructure -- that includes servers, networking equipment, applications, and services -- are highly available, secure, tightly interconnected and offer excellent application performance. This will enable the Cloud providers to further differentiate their services from other providers and monetize the cloud based revenue opportunity. It is important to note that some Enterprises are also offering their own Cloud services to create new revenue streams. Apple’s iCloud is a perfect example for an Enterprise delivering cloud services from their own data centers or private cloud.

So how will Enterprises and Service Providers deliver scalable, secure and optimized applications from the Cloud? The evolution of networking infrastructure to meet these demands is commonly referred to as IP next-generation networks (IP-NGN). The IP NGN provides the network infrastructure that connects users and enterprises to the Cloud with high-availability, leveraging cloud resources across geographically distributed data centers using Cisco’s  data center interconnect (DCI)  technologies.

Cisco first addressed this trend with the Cisco 7200 Series of routers, however with the growing demand for bandwidth it soon became necessary to develop a new platform that could handle multiple services, with higher availability, higher throughput, enhanced security and an optimized application experience. The new platform was the Cisco Aggregation Services Router 1000 Series . Both Enterprises and Service Providers have embraced the ASR 1000 across the globe and demand has driven the need for different sizes of ASR 1000 platform with different throughputs and port density without compromising on the ASR 1000 core values.

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Setting the Stage for the Cisco Mobile Workspace Solution with Citrix CVD

CiscoWotrkSpaceSolutionThe times keep changing: first there were devices, then there were apps, and today, if you don’t develop a strategy for enterprise mobility and get ahead of the trend, the mobile wave will leave you behind. A year ago, after talking with many of our customers, partners, and our own technical sales teams, we realized that IT organizations were facing enormous challenges when making the transition from simple BYOD to adopting an enterprise mobility strategy across the business. As is typical during such tremendous market transitions like mobility, IT organizations were spending a lot of time figuring out how to line up the pieces required to support a mobile workforce, sorting through and weighing the many technology and vendor choices.

Today in conjunction with our friends at Citrix, we are happy to highlight the  Cisco Mobile Workspace Solution with Citrixbuilt on the Citrix Workspace Suite. We are very excited to deliver this first of its kind, comprehensive solution to our customers. Today I’d like to take a step back and set the stage for the Cisco Mobile Workspace Solution with Citrix by taking you through our thought process in creating the right enterprise mobility solution for our customers. Read More »

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Evolution towards the Data-Driven Enterprise

Data has always been important for many (if not all) companies. Today however it is becoming increasingly easier to collect data about customers, business transactions, devices etc…, . This data enables companies to (more dynamically) optimize their business models and processes and differentiate themelves from their competitors. Before embarking on a (Big) data strategy it is important to understand what is driving this evolution and what are basic Screen Shot 2014-04-07 at 10.45.42architecture building blocks to take into account when transforming into a more data driven enterprise.

Several trends are fueling the evolution towards a more data-driven enterprise: Price/performance improvements in network, storage and computing and the rise of Cloud computing , make it more cost effective to deploy large IT infrastructures and capture data. New data management technologies and products such as Hadoop (MapReduce) and NoSQL/NewSQL provide scalable and more cost effective solutions than traditional SQL databases for various classes of problems.  The IT consumerization trend results in departments more actively pursuing analytics capabilities. Another important trend is the Internet of Things (IoT): The advent of cheaper sensors and improved connectivity are bridging the gap between the physical and digital world, enabling collecting data from more devices and environments. This sensorization is unlocking the potential to gather enormous amounts of data and details about almost everything.

These trends are creating new challenges and opportunities to harness and understand the data tsunamis, and leverage the analytics for decision making purposes, to better monitor, control, and understand complex systems from business dashboards to IoT eco-systems. Read More »

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Enterprise Mobility and the Award-Winning Cisco Prime Service Catalog

We are proud to announce that the Cisco IT internal implementation of Cisco Prime Service Catalog, dubbed the Cisco IT “eStore”, was honored (and ranked #25) in the InformationWeek Elite 100 awards this week – as one of the most innovative uses of business technology in 2014. You can read more about the awards here.

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(If you haven’t heard about Cisco IT’s eStore, be sure to check out my recent write-up about eStore. You can also read the case study here, and read more from Adel du Toit who blogged about Cisco IT’s initiative here last June.)

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The Cisco IT eStore was also nominated as a finalist for a Consumerization of IT in the Enterprise (CITE) award. Stay tuned as the award winners will be announced at the CITE conference at the end of this month.

We are thrilled to see Cisco IT being recognized for it’s internal Cisco Prime Service Catalog deployment.  It’s a great testament to the innovative partnership between our product engineering teams and our internal IT organization.

That’s not all … This week at Interop Las Vegas, adjacent to the InformationWeek Elite 100 awards ceremony, was the announcement of the new Cisco Mobile Workplace Solution – where Cisco Prime Service Catalog serves as the unified IT storefront for mobility services (you can read a great overview of the new solution from Jonathan’s blog post here). We showcased a live demo of the award-winning Cisco IT internal implementation of the Cisco Prime Service Catalog: the Cisco IT eStore.

As enterprise IT organizations adopt and implement their mobility strategies, they are learning just how much their end users expect and need in today’s increasingly mobile environment. For example, they need a simple, easy-to-use, and automated solution for ordering all of the mobility and other workplace services an IT organization may offer – rather than having separate portals for requesting smartphones, tablets, mobile apps, desktop software, laptops, or BYOD services. A unified service catalog and single access point for all IT services increases workforce productivity, with a better employee experience and improved satisfaction with IT.

As Jonathan describes in the blog post linked above, organizations typically begin from a device-focused approach. IT often focuses on corporate-liable devices or employee owned devices, providing an easy way to onboard these devices and access basic services. Then, organizations progress to the application-focused phase, where the enterprise leverages mobile applications to provide productivity and empower employees.

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The third and final step in the enterprise mobility journey is experience-focused. After having fulfilled the initial device-focused and app-focused stages, organizations are becoming experience-focused and prioritizing service automation to improve the employee experience and provide an easy-to-use, automated self-service experience.

Read More »

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Small Cells Are Big For Business

Closing the big deal.  Calming an irate customer.  Clarifying instructions given in an email.  Voice has long been the killer app for business.  As the world goes mobile, smartphones are becoming a key way for business people to stay connected, not just when they are out of the office, but an important means of voice communication in the office.  Like consumers, many business users are cutting the cord and using their mobile device, instead of their desk phone, to make and receive voice calls.  A recent Cisco study of mobile users reveals that 50 percent of knowledge workers use their mobile phone at least one-quarter of the time to make calls in the office, instead of reaching for a desk phone.  And, 35 percent of knowledge workers equally choose between a mobile and desk device when placing a call.  We expect this mobile displacement of the traditional desk phone to grow as employees increasingly bring their own mobile devices to work and use them for conducting business.

Mobile cellular networks were built to cover large outdoor and semi-outdoor areas.  They were never built to penetrate the steel, glass and concrete of modern buildings.  While there may be some coverage near the windows, the signal strength rapidly degrades as you head towards the center of the building.  This is only going to get worse as new building materials, such as blast resistant glass, make it even harder for signals from the macrocell network to adequately cover the place of work.  Our research found that one-third of all business users receive only 1 to 3 bars of signal strength at their place of work.  And, 10 percent of business people obtain very poor quality mobile service (1 to 2 bars).

The shift to mobile in the workplace should be Read More »

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