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Your Network: Well-Kept Secret for Your Protection?

July 22, 2014 at 10:29 am PST

In my discussions with security executives who gathered at the recent Gartner Security Summit they recognized that unsecured access to the network is a critical threat vector.   However, when leveraged properly, the network itself also provides a significant platform that offers comprehensive protection to close those gaps. What does this mean?

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Indoor WiFi Location and Beacons: Better Together

wifibeaconIn just two years, indoor location technology has taken off and attracted a lot of buzz across industries, from retailers to healthcare. But it’s no longer a conversation about just Wi-Fi – the introduction of beacon devices, including iBeacon, has added a new dimension to location technology for IT and their line of business counterparts to grapple with on how to leverage it to better reach their customer base.

Some customers have been asking about beacon technology and how it fits in with Wi-Fi, so let’s start from the beginning:

How do beacons work?

Beacons are sensors that send out Bluetooth low energy (BLE) tracking tags.  These sensors can be placed around a venue, such as a store, and a mobile device can pick up the BLE signal and determine that it is in close proximity. When a mobile app is built off of this technology, it can be used in interesting ways to interact with the end user, such as notifying a customer of a promotion for an item they are close to.

I’m having trouble differentiating Wi-Fi and beacons. What do I need to know? Read More »

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Deliver High Performance Cloud Services with the new ASR 1001-X

At CiscoLive this week, I am proud to announce the launch of the new Aggregation Services Router, the ASR 1001-X.

photo 1The ASR 1001-X is the latest addition to the ASR 1000 family of routers that packs 20Gbps forwarding capacity and 8G of Layer 3 Crypto  throughput in a compact 1RU form factor!

In my earlier blog post I highlighted the need for connecting data centers to share and scale cloud services on demand and achieve flexibility and availability that is required by the cloud. As data centers continue to grow so does the need for more power and cooling, while rackspace continues to become a rare commodity. Talking to customers they wanted a platform with a smaller footprint but with higher performance and hence the ASR 1001-X was born. 

Some of the key benefits of the ASR 1001-X we are highlighting at CiscoLive are:

  • Investment Protection: Pay-as-you-grow forwarding throughput upgradable from 2.5 to 5,10 and 20Gbps
  • Robust Security: Up to 8Gbps of Suite-B encryption combined with Layer 2 MAC Security.
  • Data Center Interconnect (DCI): For workload mobility, high-availability application clusters and layer 2 extension for legacy applications support.
  • Cisco IWAN: Application Visibility and Control, AppNav and Performance Routing enable inexpensive business-class Internet links as a WAN transport
  • Advanced Routing: Locator/ID Separation Protocol (LISP) to enable Host mobility, Ingress traffic load-balancing, high VPN scale, and IPv6 transition
  • Route Reflector: Up to 13M IPv4 routes (selective download)
  • Multimedia Edge: Cisco Unified Border Element (CUBE) Enterprise Edition to offer 16k calls
  • Ease of Management: Seamless integration and management with Cisco Prime Infrastructure.

I am often asked how each one of the benefits will help our customers so I wanted to talk about some of the common use cases where customers will see the largest benefit of the ASR 1001-X. For this blog I will cover in detail the Data Center Interconnect (DCI) use case and I will cover more use cases in future blog posts.

The Data Center Interconnect must provide secure access to satisfy a key requirement for the consumption of services from the cloud. Before the advent of the cloud, the network traffic that flowed in the interconnecting network fabric or the IP NGN was unidirectional -- it flowed from the client to the server in the network and back to the network client. Cloud and virtualization has made the network traffic multi-dimensional. The network traffic not only moves to and from client and network server it can also move across servers that are located in geographically dispersed data centers that are interconnected using DCI technologies. VMware virtual machine motion is an example of that. Based on this criteria, the ASR 1001-X supports the following DCI technologies:

  • Virtual Extensible LAN Services
  • Overlay Transport Virtualization
  • Virtual Private LAN Services
  • Ethernet over MPLS
  • Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol v3

Please stay tuned for more in my next blog. I will talk about how the consumers of the cloud require the same great application experience when services are moved to the cloud and how the ASR 1001-X can help to deliver a better user experience.

 

 

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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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