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Bandwidth Alone Will Not Solve Branch Application Performance

Mark Lohmeyer CLUS 2014For years, many IT organizations have been addressing slow application performance by adding more bandwidth. With broadband speeds available at over 100 Mbps, and the future of Fiber-optic at 1 Gbps, you would think bandwidth would solve all our application problems. However, many organizations are quickly learning that bandwidth on its own is not the answer, especially when it comes to the branch office.

So what is the problem? While connections are getting faster, branch offices still need high reliability. We all know downtime can be very costly. The Aberdeen group estimates that downtime can cost a company, on average, over $160,000 per hour.  And, some hours are more costly than others. For example, if your CEO is talking to shareholders during an earnings call and the network goes out – I would imagine that would cost someone their job.

There are several factors to consider on why “throwing bandwidth at the problem” is not enough. First, let’s consider the impact of data center virtualization. Over the past decade, organizations have been consolidating applications to their data centers. While IT has benefitted from cost savings, applications have moved further away from users. This has resulted in a delay in application response times, which is felt strongest by branch users. Read More »

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IWAN Wed: Intelligent WAN @ Cisco Live!

The long awaited Cisco Live in San Francisco is only four days away.  There is a lot in store for our customers including hundreds of technical sessions, keynotes from executives and industry guests, product and solutions demos at World of Solutions and more.

One of the most important topics, in my opinion, that I believe you should tune into is on Intelligent WAN.  As you come to Cisco Live and are exploring Cisco Intelligent WANvarious technologies that will help your organization scale and grow for the next 3-5 years, what element is most crucial?  How about the branches and stores throughout the city, country or world that is growing rapidly, not just in terms of sheer count but also by size?  The number of employees working there is growing; the number of customer engagements is increasing; and the number and type of users are exploding.  You need an intelligent WAN that can adjust to the demand, meet the high user expectations and be the foundation of innovation needed at the branch.

To learn more about Cisco Intelligent WAN, please join us for the following activities.  We would love to hear your feedback on how Intelligent WAN can help your business and IT organization. Read More »

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Shining a New Light on Shadow IT

More people than ever are talking about “shadow IT” nowadays.  As the name implies, it’s mysterious, perhaps even malevolent by some people’s standards.  From a traditional IT vantage point, this negative view may be somewhat justified given the risks it creates around security, compliance, productivity, and technology investment.

But let’s look at it from another perspective. Shadow IT is on the rise because more people outside of IT are gaining awareness and access to technology, and harnessing it as a business differentiator. More importantly, many of these people are business leaders with growing budgets that align to their priorities. Here’s how much technology budget growth business leaders expect in the next year:

(read more)

Over the next year how will your group’s technology budget change 

Source: Cisco Business and IT Priority Survey results Read More »

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IWAN Wed: What is Intelligent WAN?

Imagine that you have several branch offices that are using WAN demanding applications like Salesforce.com, Office 365, Virtual Desktops, Video Teleconferencing and more.  You are using those expensive MPLS/VPN WAN connections as you don’t want to risk it and probably because when you started to work there it was already there and … why mess around with something that is working, right?  Normally I would agree with that but when IT budgets are shrinking and the network needs to step up and support those business critical apps, there is no other way but to innovate.

At any given time your network carries information from LAN to WAN and vice versa, some is important and some is less important. In many cases as a network admin you don’t have the visibility to distinguish between them, so what do you do when those critical apps are starting to act up? Usually the answer will be to buy more WAN bandwidth and that will give the apps and the user experience behind them some breathing space. But all you’re doing is buying time.  Buying time never solves the problem because you will need to treat the symptoms again in a few weeks or months.

However, you can solve the problem and not just treat the symptoms using Cisco Intelligent WAN or IWAN for short.

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Delivering Application Optimization for Office 365

We in IT are faced with many challenges from our end users.  From IT costs to application performance, while always keeping an eye on our network security posture.  This reminds me of a sign on the wall of my auto mechanic’s shop: Good, Fast, Low-cost. I was always told I am allowed to pick only two.  I would of course question him, “why cant I have something with high quality, on time, and within budget?”  This always made him smile, but he still told me I could only pick two.

So back to our IT challenges: Cost, Performance, and Security. Application performance is something we can all see, feel and touch. When thinking about performance, we need to also consider where these applications are coming from.  Looking at applications like Microsoft’s Office 365, we are seeing mission critical applications from outside our data centers being delivered as Software as a Service (SaaS) solution. Does this matter to our end users?  They sit at their PC’s, Tablets, Mac’s, etc. and know when something is not going fast enough.  Their expectations are growing; they always expect the best performance. If they don’t feel their Outlook e-mail is opening fast enough or that the saving of their PowerPoint file is taking too long, they do not hesitate to let us know.  And oddly enough, everyone just assumes it is the network.  So not only do we need to think about our networks, but the Internet performance as well.

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