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Urban Sustainability – Not Just A Dream

As world leaders ponder how to meet the growing demand for energy and resources, while reducing global carbon emissions, cities are challenged even further. The exponential growth of cities has resulted in enormous urban challenges:  scarcity of resources; skyrocketing passenger, cargo, and digital traffic; and outdated and overloaded infrastructures.

The continued expansion of the Internet and our society’s increased connectivity seemingly amplify these urban challenges. However, Cisco and Schneider Electric see an opportunity to create a new future for cities, and they are already making cities more efficient and connected today.

The key is transforming a city from the inside out:

  • Developing an efficient infrastructure for the utilities network, transportation systems, buildings, and public services.
  • Adding connectivity to integrate these efficiency solutions, and including people in the social conversation.
  • Reducing carbon emissions and environmental consequences of urban life to ensure sustainability.

This transformation requires that the city’s operating systems, such as utilities and transportation, function with optimal efficiency, allowing data collection for operations optimization. In order to solve the “pain points” that negatively affect city residents (such as power outages), it is critical to optimize each individual system, as well as the overall structure and connections among systems. Efficient integrated operating systems that create connections will improve services, offer better information sharing, and enhance a city’s sustainability and livability, transforming it into a Smart City.

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Broadband Ranking: Why it is Subjective

Howard Baldwin - Photograph

By Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

The place with the best broadband ecosystem is not Silicon Valley or Route 128, the mainstays of technology companies in the United States. But that’s not surprising, given the popularity of e-commerce and cloud computing – it’s Washington State, home of Microsoft and Amazon.

That’s the determination of the TechNet 2012 State Broadband Index, which ranked all 50 states on various facets of their ICT-related infrastructure.

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Automate Migrating ESX Host Interfaces to Nexus 1000V

January 16, 2013 at 8:45 am PST

“We’ve tried, it can’t be automated!” I’ve heard this more times than I can keep track of and if you read my previous blog you will know that I just do not agree. I have written about automation with Linux utilities, UCS PowerTool, AutoHotKey, Excel, etc… 99.999% of operations can be automated. So when a customer tells me that something cannot be automated I usually respond with “Have you tried …?”

Here is the scenario; the customer has an automated build process for ESX hosts. At the point where the host is ready to be connected to the Nexus 1000V the process becomes manual. The customer would like to use VMWare PowerCLI to migrate the host interface but the Cmdlet to retrieve Distributed Virtual Switches, Get-VirtualSwitch, just returns the DVS objects,  there isn’t a Cmdlet to migrate the ESX vmnic interface.

Hold on a second, I know that VCenter knows about the Nexus 1000V because I see it in the interface. I know that VCenter can manipulate the Nexus 1000V because VCenter is where interface migration is done. I am fairly certain at this point that ESX interface migration from the VCenter vSwitch to the Nexus 1000V can be automated. But what to use to do it, there is no PowerCLI command like Set-ESXHostInterfaceToN1kv. This is typically where automation ends for many, sometimes you have to dive deep into the objects that the system manages and figure out what to do. Sometimes someone has already done a deep dive into something like what you are trying to do and maybe you can build off of their work.
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Reflections from the Floor at NRF 2013

panoramaAfter a long day of showing the Cisco BYOD Smart Solution and Cisco Connected Mobile Experiences solutions at the 2013 National Retail Federation (NRF) trade show, I am waiting for a colleague to meet me for a well-deserved dinner. I had many, and yes there were MANY, conversations with Retail IT professionals,  and nearly every conversation I had seemed to revolve around the same two problems:

  1. How do I allow employees and / or customers to access the network when I don’t have dedicated local IT support?
  2. How do I give up the control and make sure my security and compliance requirements are met?

We know almost all organizations are struggling with BYOD, but it’s now clear that the lack of local IT support adds a new dimension to the problem. With the increased adoption of mobility, there’s also the added complexity of security and compliance, and with all the connected consumers walking around, it’s becoming a growing concern in the retail space. Retail organizations want to take advantage of the promise that leveraging Wi-Fi access to engage with employees and customers, but fear the management and security of such services.

Fortunately, Cisco is addressing both these issues with its mobility solutions.

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Inside One Asian City’s Strategy

Busan is at the forefront of something big.

As South Korea’s second-largest metropolitan city, Busan boasts a population of about 3.6 million, and is home to a slew of major companies, government agencies, universities, annual festivals, and conferences. Busan is the country’s largest container-handling port, and the fifth- largest in the world. Like other metropolitan areas, the city struggles with managing terrible traffic congestion and the attendant high logistical costs; maintaining job-creation momentum for the 60,000 high-quality and high-skill job seekers who graduate from area universities each year; and meeting the demand for an innovative city operations system that helps ensure global competitiveness.

Cisco IBSG has been working with Busan’s Metropolitan Government to develop plans for a “u-City.” U, in this case, stands for “ubiquitous,” which also describes the city’s broadband penetration. Busan’s “smart and connected” urban communities use the network as a platform—on top of which it can deploy innovative urban-planning solutions and city management services. The city uses the network to connect, process, and share information efficiently, and in real time. Read More »

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