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Join us August 8th for Next-Generation Knowledge Workers TweetChat — #CiscoYourWay

When? Thursday, August 8, 2013 @ 1:00 -- 2:00 p.m. (EDT)

Where? Twitter Chat

The explosive growth in mobility is transforming the ways in which we live, learn, play and, in particular, work. Every dimension of our business lives stands to change: whom we work with and when, where, how, and why we work — all will be impacted.

The ultimate goal of business mobility is to drive increased productivity, heightened customer experience, and harmonious work-life balance. Business mobility offers freedom for knowledge workers beleaguered by accelerating demands on their time and talents; with it, they can take control of their success at work while protecting their personal lives. And, increasingly, it is the knowledge workers themselves who are driving these sweeping changes in the workplace.

But how can service providers and enterprises embrace the disruption?

Join us this Thursday, August 8th at 10am PST/1pm EST for a TweetChat on how next-generation knowledge workers are accelerating the disruption in business mobility. Follow #CiscoYourWay to join in on the discussion. I’ll be tweeting from my own handle @Spain_Chris. Read More »

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SDN in the Enterprise: aligning with business needs

July 31, 2013 at 8:00 am PST

There is always a well-known solution to every human problem--neat, plausible, and wrong. -- H.L. Mencken

As a long-time practitioner of the art of beating computers and communications systems into submission, I am as enamored with the latest gee-wiz technology trends and tools as the next self-respecting geek. I’m also not completely above the allure of the herd-mentality; all for one and all for the new tech. As an IT Director looking at the business side of the house, however, and having to translate all of the latest trends into actionable business intelligence and strategy, I am far less quick to jump on the latest bandwagon. Sometimes what my cohort are talking about, and what I find fascinating personally, isn’t what the business needs. Often, it’s not even close.

It can be a challenging thing, trying to match potential technology solutions to existing or future business problems. It can be even more challenging separating the latest trends and market buzz-word bingo, from the actual solutions that will help my company move forward. Finding those solutions can sometimes seem like a search through the proverbial haystack.

Read More »

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Last Minute Mobility Tips for Cisco Live! Orlando: Get the Ent Networks App!

Cisco Ent Networks AppIf you’re at CiscoLive Orlando, and you didn’t catch the Mobility Guides Part 1 and Part 2, you’re going to want two things: have the Cisco Ent Networks app downloaded onto your smartphone or tablet an you’re going to want to find the Enterprise Networks booth. As of Cisco Live! London there has been a new module to the applet just for mobility items!

For the booth, we’re in the back, dead center.  For the Ent Networks App, use your magic QR code reader and scan the code to the right.  Should work on most Android and iDevices.

That, and don’t forget to go to Rob Soderbery’s keynote! Seriously--DO NOT MISS THIS.

Your Enterprise Network: Getting You Where You Want to Go

Is your enterprise network ready to take you where you want to go? Will it support the business applications that you are being asked to support? In this keynote, you will hear how Cisco is unifying access, building out new network services and making the network more manageable so you can meet the coming needs of your organization. We will also show you how you can support more aspects of your business using the network as a platform for the Internet of Things.
Monday, June 24, 3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Read More »

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Cisco First Publicly Announced Commercial Enterprise-class AP to Attain Wi-Fi Alliance 802.11ac Certification

Yesterday the Wi-Fi Alliance (WFA) launched their new certification program for 802.11ac Wi-Fi  to ensure that the devices have been tested to interoperate with other 802.11ac products and older Wi-Fi products. As a part of the launch, the WFA also announced a list of the first published 11ac certified products, which included the Cisco Aironet 3600 Series Access Point and the Cisco Aironet Access Point Module for 802.11ac.

3600_module

wificertThis makes us not only the first shipping Enterprise-class 802.11ac solution, but also the  first commercial 11ac access point with a published certification!

Why is this important? For those of you unfamiliar with the WFA, certification is important for ensuring interoperability with future 802.11ac enabled products. With the expected rapid adoption of 802.11ac clients in the form of laptops, tablets and smartphones, interoperability of all these devices can be ensured through WFA certification. Read More »

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It’s A Great Time for Open Source and Cisco UCS Customers

Witnessing the advent and momentum of Open Source into the broader enterprise, and “the mainstream” Data Center, has been incredible.  Many will look back and recall a time when Open Source was met first with a look of confusion, and following not too far behind, a reaction of fear.  With that, consider how far we’ve evolved.

Taking a snapshot over the past few months, I reflect on some of the highlights from a Data Center and Cisco UCS perspective.

The Open Source Business Conference held not too long ago, centered the conversation around previously uncommon mates.  “Open Source” and “Business” used in the same sentence once stirred some emotion, though not today.  The notion now fuels curiosity and enablement, and both were alive and well in San Francisco with OSBC.  Leaders in the space, spanning established household Data Center vendors were well represented in breakout sessions and thought provoking topics on the show floor, alongside the “up and coming” vendors in Open Source.  Linux granddaddies Red Hat and SUSE also offered the Enterprise Linux perspective, with Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst taking the stage on the conference’s opening morning.  Whitehurst acknowledged the event’s commendable 10th anniversary, and touted the innovation and collaborative successes of Open Source, while reflecting on Red Hat’s significance and market leadership.  SUSE kept the Enterprise Linux subject current, presenting SUSE’s role in Big Data workloads, where attendees may have pondered “What would Big Data look like, and be today, without the success and progress of the Open Source movement?”

An “open cloud” panel featuring several notable figures in Open Source leadership for cloud infrastructure, including Marten Mickos of Eucalyptus Systems and Joshua McKenty of Piston Cloud, shared insight on how today’s generation of Open Source leaders are shaping the future of cloud software stacks, infrastructure, and API (read: interoperability).  This proved to be a fascinating discussion on project governance, expectations of Open Source, and how customers leverage Open Source to deliver the applications of tomorrow.

Open Source @Cisco

Cisco Open Source Days provide an opportunity to share, learn and grow.  Cisco engineers and product teams descend on the San Jose campus packed with an agenda to share knowledge and best practices, new developments in the community, exchange ideas and share successes, and inspire new ways of delivering software and products.  This year featured a cornucopia of topics that would make any card-carrying Open Source geek blush.  Typically there are multiple tracks and this year included Big Data and Analytics, Cloud, Internet of Everything and a few select topics in the Networking and Data Center interest areas.  Cisco teams have an incredible opportunity to learn and collaborate, which ultimately benefit the Open Source community and our customers.  Attendees enjoyed thought provoking and engaging presentations, including appearances by Chris Wright from Red Hat, and Troy Toman from Rackspace within the Cloud track, as well, our very own OpenStack leaders within Cisco.  Overall there were great takeaways on collaboration and innovation, project participation and furthering common goals through upstream contribution, and solving market problems through emphasis on differentiation rather than upstream code nomination.  Another memorable moment, I personally enjoyed Chris Wright’s comical reference to the IFC television comedy, “Portlandia”, referring to the popularity of API’s with “Put an API on it”.  :-)

Open Source in the Cisco UCS powered Data Center

One of the most exciting aspects in my role revolves around connecting Open Source innovations with Cisco’s UCS x86 based platforms.  Software and API enable many integration use cases most people are not used to expect from server and infrastructure platforms.  “Software Defined” is used quite liberally these days, with ” Software Defined __Fill_In_The_Blank__ ” found where it probably shouldn’t be.  I digress, Open Source is at the core of these “Software Defined” possibilities, enabling vendor agnostic API structures and interfaces as an alternative to traditionally proprietary closed-configuration products.

The conversation with customers today is less “Oh, Cisco makes servers?” and more about, “Help me learn more about your software integration capability in my Data Center infrastructure.”  Once customers deploy UCS, they quickly realize the efficiencies and power derived by the Cisco UCS Service Profile, and the level of control and manageability not available with other solutions.  For Data Center management requiring a view into their systems’ availability, the UCS XML API provides that ability, where the customer’s software may retrieve, configure and automate infrastructure that previously required manual intervention.  We truly feel this enables a unique “Software Defined Infrastructure” way of managing applications, availability and user workloads through software, previously not seen without custom hardware and software integration.

It’s an exciting time for Open Source, and for computing platforms like Cisco UCS which provide an open and extensible ability to deliver on business demands of tomorrow.  Exciting times are definitely ahead as customers increasingly adopt Open Source, its flexibility, advances, and innovations, into the broader enterprise and mainstream computing spaces.

How far have we come?  Further reading: “From subversive to mainstream: Looking back on 18 years with Linux

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