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Is Networking Cool — Again? Yup!

I don’t think that anyone can deny that being in the IT industry at this time is exciting and interesting. It’s also exhausting. There is a ton of hyperbole floating about on Twitter and the Blogosphere concerning the need for network engineers to become programmers, and that ‘whatever’ technology du jour is only minutes away from capturing the market and being the de-facto standard. Oh by the way, all networking gear will be white box gear too — didn’t you hear? I’ve tried to NOT write a post that I fear will be read and dismissed as mere rhetoric, but here I am anyway.

As of late, I’ve had the awesome opportunity to work with some very cool customers who are Read More »

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Small Business Profile: Auto Union Tuning

July 23, 2014 at 2:39 pm PST

Hello all,

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Out here in Southern California, in a town called Huntington Beach, is a growing Auto Shop called Auto Union Tuning.

It is a special place where the owners, Dave and Raz specialize in car care, maintenance and tuning of VW, Audi and Porsche automobiles. On any day, you will find a combination of these three car makes on the lifts and in the garages. From quick VAG-com checks to complete engine rebuilds, you name it, this shop can take care of most work.

There is one specific car they specialize in is the Audi B5 S4. This particular model is sought after by Audi enthusiasts for the tuning potential. This S4 was manufactured between 1997 and 2002, which sported a twin-turbocharged 2.7 liter inline 6 cylinder engine. Some key upgrades can make a 10+ year old car beat new Nissan GTR’s, Supercharged BMW M3′s, Supercharged Corvette’s, Vipers, Shelby’s etc. down a quarter mile.

But alas, that is another story.

I first met Raz back when I was in search of someone to work on my own B7 Audi S4 Avant. Thankfully, I met Raz and he worked on my baby until I sold her to a gentleman that flew out from Salt Lake City and bought my Audi S4 site unseen. This largely because of a conversation I recommended my buyer to have with AUT. Yes, AUT did a good job not only maintaining and caring for my then car. But it is the countless other AUT customers who told others about their experience in how AUT handled their customers and their customers cars. Simply, the they did a great job in running a great business. In the few years I have known the owners, I have seen their business being born, move into a small shop, expand into neighboring units, then move into their current facility, which I must say, is impressive.

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The Office

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The Lifts

With all of this growth, Raz and Dave has seen their network needs and requirements evolve. At first, basic network connectivity using a consumer all-in-one router did it’s job obediently for the first few years, but once they moved into the new facility, things had to change. Simply, the networking strategy had to grow up.

Fast Forward to today, there’s now a total of two new mechanics, office employees, three new workstations and a new ticket writing software that needs to be available on multiple workstations. No doubt new employees and more requirements on their network will be coming in the future.

Yes, Raz and Dave have planned for growth. The new waiting room and front office now houses new couches and a TV. New wheel displays are set-up, vendor banners are hung, and the walls are newly painted.There is a bunch of exhaust and performance parts displayed around the room.

But this planning also included a new need for wireless guest access and of course a secure network where Auto Union Tuning Employees can access secure files and applications, such as the new ticket software. With some discussion, and some assistance, Team AUT procured new Cisco Small Business product, including one of Ivor’s 300 Series PoE Managed Switches, and a pair of Nasser’s WAP551 wireless access points. All of the workstations are hard-lined into the 300 Series Switch, and the WAP551′s are set-up and deployed with a guest network and secure internal network and they are now providing blazing performance in the office and garage workspaces. The entire deployment was said to be under 30 minutes. Much of the time savings was due to the WAP551′s Single Point Setup. The team has some cleanup work, cable management, mounting the wireless access points, but most of the heavy lifting work is complete. The AUT Team is happy with the new network and greeting new customers every day.

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Auto Union Tuning’s Owners: Raz and Dave

Auto Union Tuning is but one example of how a small business can literally take off from day one and transform and evolve into a growing, thriving business. With honest, good old fashioned hard work comes success and growth. With this growth comes the necessity for it’s networking infrastructure to be flexible and scalable.

We think you will find that the Cisco Small Business portfolio fits this model rather well.

For more information on our portfolio of networking products -- click on these links: switching, wireless, routing.

Thanks for the read.

Marc

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Small Business Team Update: Friday the 13th

June 13, 2014 at 9:41 am PST

It is Friday the 13th and we have a full moon, perfect time to provide a quick update from the Cisco SMB Team.

First off, we have posted a Teaser Announcement providing a quick view of some new products that are coming out later this month. The entire Cisco SMB Team has been working hard on this new launch so look for more information that will be coming out.

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220 Smart Plus Series

The Switching Team currently has a cisco.com for the new 220 Smart Plus Series.

Ivor Diedricks posted a new Blog earlier this month called Understanding the different types of Ethernet Switches. He explains the differences between fixed and modular switches, and goes into the details of what makes an Unmanaged, Smart and Fully Managed models. It is a good read, if you haven’t already, please take a look.

Finally, I have a new RV325 emulator on our Cisco Emulator Page. These emulators provide you the chance to take a test drive through our device user interface. You can take a look at our easy-to-use configuration wizards, configure features such as VLAN’s, Single-Point-Setup on our Wireless Access Points, and even configure VPN’s on the routers.

Make it a safe Friday the 13th!

 

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Cisco Named to Working Mother 100 Best Companies List

As a working mom of two of the best and brightest kids (no bias here!) I couldn’t be prouder that Cisco again made the Working Mother 100 Best Companies list.  When you think about it though, “Mother” is a bit of a misnomer here. Really most Cisco employees, about 99 percent in fact, benefit from the flexible work practices that have become the hallmark of our corporate culture and one of the things that makes Cisco such a great place to work.

Progressive, flexible work policies are table stakes, but lets not forget about the technology that has made it all possible. I remember back in the day, I was working late one night at home when my dial up (yes, dial up) malfunctioned. I had to hop in the car close to midnight and drive to the Cisco office just to log onto the corporate network and send an email. Today, thanks to the power of the network (do I sound like a commercial?) I can work from anywhere, at anytime and be productive.

While flexibility is key, it’s not the only thing that Working Mother highlights as a characteristic of a “Best Company.”   Check out the complete story for more details.

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What I’ve Learned as a Teleworking Employee and Manager

My journey as a teleworking mom started almost ten years ago after I had my older son. I was coming back to work and in the process of changing roles at Cisco Systems. I live in North Carolina and had a job opportunity for a leader based in California. She knew that I wasn’t in a position to move and given we were already on opposite sides of the country, was supportive of my working from home. Thus my journey started as an individual contributor, working for a manager who based the decision to provide me flexibility on my track record of contribution at Cisco and her trust in my ability to do the job outside of an office.

Since then, I’ve been a part of the dramatic changes that have place in the workplace. According to a recent Harvard Business Review article on flexible work practices, the mobile worker population will be approximately 1.3 billion by 2015. At Cisco, almost 50% of our employees are collaborating with peers in other time zones and almost 90% telecommute at least one day per week. In many of our emerging countries, employees view flexibility as a right that is expected, versus a privilege that is earned.

My life has evolved as well. I’ve had another child and become a manager of a virtual team, with responsibility for a number of HR processes, including flexible work practices at Cisco. My experiences have offered me a few insights on how to be effective in our increasingly virtual world of work. Let me share these with you.

From an employee perspective, I have three tips that I think have been important toward my success. Read More »

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