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How Secure is Your Secure Access?

July 30, 2013 at 8:04 am PST

In June, I attended the Gartner Security Summit in Washington, D.C. where I was asked by quite a few security executives, “My network folks just bought ISE, but what is ISE and what type of security does it provide?”  Fast forward to July, and I wish I had this SANS review on ISE to offer a month earlier.  (SANS, as many security professionals know, is a highly regarded organization on IT security and cyber security.) Read More »

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Natural Selection On Full Display in the Server World

NaturalSelection
Recent results clearly reinforce the growing understanding that Cisco has unleashed a more highly evolved and effective solution into the computing ecosystem.   While the principles outlined by Charles Darwin in Origin of the Species can stir controversy, I find them to be an accurate model for technology evolution and quite useful for describing how we’ve arrived at this latest watershed in the x86 server market.

Our first observation would be the extremely rapid rate of customer adoption  for Cisco’s Unified Computing System (UCS).  Darwin would tell us that there must be significant advantage in “fitness to purpose” inherent to UCS that have driven this velocity.  This is certainly true.  Looking back at where we’ve been and how we’re positioned to go forward, here are key factors I see at play that create these advantages for UCS adopters:

  1. Primitive incumbents in the server industry attempted converged infrastructure by choosing to combine compute and storage first. Cisco chose to converge compute and fabric first.  This is a critical threshold event because it turns out that most optimizations for virtualization and cloud are fabric-oriented.   With our Virtual Interface Cards  we made server NICs and HBAs part of the fabric, not part of the server, a significant mutation in computing design.   Further, Cisco abstracted every single identity and configuration element for servers, network access and storage into a programmable software model -- inventing fabric computing with stateless servers.  Simple. Flexible. Resilient. Advantage: UCS
    Read More »

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One Network for the BYOD Challenge

January 23, 2013 at 5:01 am PST

In my previous posts, I discussed with you the importance of unified policy and management as you respond to the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend. The Cisco Unified Access solution brings “One Policy. One Management. One Network” to help you with your BYOD initiatives. Today I’ll take a look at the third pillar of Cisco Unified Access, One Network. I’ll explore with you what it means and why it is a critical factor as you take on BYOD.

The workforce is increasingly going mobile. According to research firm Gartner, tablets will be the key accelerator to workforce mobility. A Gartner 2012 report suggested that annual tablet purchase by businesses totaled 13 million units and this number would more than triple to reach 53 million units by 2016. Such rapid mobile growth calls for major wireless network expansion. Market data from Infonetics showed that global wireless LAN equipment sales in the 3rd quarter of 2012 passed the $1-billion mark for the first time.   Read More »

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New Cisco Jabber for Virtual Environments Provides Superior User Experience

As a technology guy, I’m always fascinated to see what new gadgets and technologies get announced at CES.  Some are pretty cool; some I think will only make it to the headlines.  In the end, which gadget will enjoy large-scale adoption and best empower the user?  The one that best meets the user needs with a superior user experience.

Similarly, Cisco’s announcement today  is all about providing a superior user experience to virtual desktop users and truly empowering them to reach new levels of productivity.  With the new software-enabled Cisco Jabber for virtual environments and integrated UC accessories Cisco is continuing to evolve the virtual desktop into a virtual workspace and pursuing a long-term software strategy for Cisco Virtualization Experience Infrastructure (VXI).

According to Gartner, Read More »

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From Hudson River to Data Center : When Teamwork, Process and Respect Save the Day .

This is my first year as an attendee at the Gartner DC conference.  I’ve been here once before working demos on the tradeshow floor, but this year it’s purely about information gathering.  Tradeshows floors are great.  You get to wander around and chat with a captive audience of your industry peers, partners, and “frenemies” collecting pens and light up bouncy balls.  Based on where the swag really ends up, I think the pen purchasers really need to start thinking about logo branded crayon packs. But there is so much to learn in the conferences even in the most unexpected sessions.

SulleySullenbergerMy primary take aways from the initial keynotes were that Hadoop is a strong early adoption application candidate for cloud in a non-virtual context  (Hadoop in the data center  was recently covered in Jason Rapp’s blog) , that commodity compute is the leader in cloud computing (I cried a little on the inside with this one), and that personnel development and team building/creation is one of the biggest factors in an IT success story.

For day one the celebrity keynote was from Captain Chesley Sullenberger which seemed out of place before listening to him.  His talk about teamwork, process, and respect leading to his success in pulling off that harrowing landing on the Hudson spanned well from the people aspect of organizations, and was a very enjoyable listen.

These take aways seem to me  even more critical as IT organizations have to quickly evolve their data centers to meet demanding  business requirements, without expecting additional resources .

Gartner does a very nice job of interactive polling within their conference.  For the starting keynote the audience poll (~2,000?) revealed that budgets edging up, but for the greatest number of attendees are mainly flat.

It seems that 34% of the audience has to deal with a flat budget, 20% of the attendees benefit from a marginal increase (<5%), and  14% experience a small decrease (<5%)

Talking about data center evolution, as a Cisco guy, I had absolutely to attend (by choice ) David Yen’s presentation.  David is our Sr VP & GM in charge of our DC Technology Group, so he’s the big picture for anything Cisco in the Data Center. He is a Phd, with a very large experience in compute, applications and network, acquired through executive role at Sun Microsystems, Juniper and Cisco. David’s talk was about the evolution of the data center and the relevance of Cisco -You may want to check the blog from Giuliano Di Vitantonio, VP Marketing Data Center and Cloud with slides and videos “ The Evolving Data Center : Perspectives from the Gartner DC Conferences”  In his presentation David Yen covered some of the background for the evolution of the data center model, and the gains to be expected in the fabric model we see through Fabric Path in optimization of the new East/West data patterns.

Multipath

 

This all has a strong relationship to our Unified Computing System solution. Which as a server platform “loaded  with features ” might be perceived at some disadvantage in comparison to commodity compute, we’re happy to see that in reality our customers have placed us at #3 in datacenter compute world wide, and #2 in the US for an implementation that is only three years into the market, thanks to providing strong management capabilities, system agility, and dynamic integrated network functionality, as well as great TCO. As proof points , you may want to check Bill Shields blogs on this topic, but also the Cisco Buil& Price website with promotions of the month.

This Conference gave me also the opportunity to discuss other “more technical ” topics such as security for cloud and virtual services.
So stay tuned, as I will be back in January for additional conversations.

 

 

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