In the human body, the network of blood vessels is 60,000-mile long or 97,000-kilometer, centralized and regulated by a sine qua non organ – the heart. That network reaches 100+ trillion cells and is responsible for delivering blood that carries oxygen and nutrients to nourish the body (Source: National Geographic). When that effortless flow is congested (either genetically or through our own doing as a result of diet and exercise) our ability to perform essential functions becomes less than ideal. In an extreme case, such as the stoppage of blood flow to the brain, it can cripple one’s bodily function permanently.
If the data center is the heart of an organization, then the wide area network (WAN) is its network of blood vessels that carries vital data to multiple systems. For American Water (NYSE: AWK), a publicly traded water utility in the United States, this network services 300+ locations: primary and backup data centers, 275 branch offices, various production facilities, treatment plants, two call centers with between 500 and 600 workers each, and other facilities. A number of remote sites have a few hundred users, while most average 50 users. The network also provides access to applications such as Lotus Notes, MS Office, ERP and CRM, and numerous other applications for data replication, critical operations risk management, access control, and surveillance. Read More »
Change. It’s part of how we work, live, and play. Change is inevitable and often feared rather than embraced. However, change could be a catalyst for innovation, a new way of doing things faster and more efficiently. It allows companies to capitalize on opportunities, creating strategic long-term value while also meeting immediate operational needs.
The market is changing and so is the IT landscape. By 2014, more than 70 million virtual desktops will be connected and 90% of organizations will allow work applications on personal devices (Gartner, 2010). Similarly, by 2015, 1.5 billion mobile devices will connect to the network (Gartner, 2011). These transitions add intense burden to the network, from manageability to security, availability, and scalability. IT leadership often turns to stopgap measures such as getting faster WAN links to handle increased traffic. But that doesn’t solve everything. Organizations that want to propel forward (i.e. be competitive) must change their focus – that is focus not only on bandwidth management, features, and bytes, but also on business agility – giving themselves room to grow. One pharmaceutical services company did that with Cisco Borderless Networks infrastructure. Read More »
Two of my favorite geeks are presenting a workshop today on Bringing the Cloud to your Remote Offices. Jimmy Ray is hosting his ‘brother from another mother’ (as we fondly refer to him) Matt Bolick. Matt first blew our doors off back in 2009 as we featured the then new ISR G2 in our ‘Routers are Dead…Long Live the Router show (now retired). Well, Matt was a featured guest recently on another big show we did, the Cisco Cloud Intelligent Network. You can see Matt’s segment on Application Visibility and Control from that show right now as a great pre-study for the workshop above. I also recommend our recent ‘Fundamentals of the Cloud Services Router’ as a secondary study resource. Matt was instrumental in our writing and creation of this tool as well and I think you will find it valuable.
Heres the thing -- The Cloud and the Network are very co-dependent. The network is poised for incredible leaps of intelligence now more than ever with this pressure from cloud implementations being quick to reveal weakness. I have even heard where the WAN has been re-defined as “Weak Area Network.” Why? Poor performance, inadequate security, lack of visibility and complex management, just to name a few An intelligent network endows the WAN with the efficiency of cloud and and the confidence of a private network.
When you go in for your annual exam, does your doctor enter notes on a laptop, send your prescriptions direct to the pharmacy, and make your lab results available online for your? Or does your doctor still pull out that bulging manila folder full of patient history notes, write prescriptions on paper using unintelligible handwriting, and wait days to get results for X-Rays or MRIs? There are incentives for going digital, but how many doctors do you know who have taken the plunge?
A recent national survey of healthcare workers found that adoption and meaningful use of Electronic Health Records (EHR) is significantly below expected. For the uninitiated, “meaningful use” is a term indicating doctors have an electronic health record system with the capability to take specific actions with the system. Examples of these actions include sending and tracking pharmacy prescriptions, getting drug interaction warnings, and sending clinical visit summaries to other clinics.
In hard numbers, the survey found that in 2011 only 11% of physicians were both intending to apply and had an EHR system with the capabilities needed for the meaningful use designation. This is surprising as there are financial incentives to get to meaningful use. A recent case study shows that getting the right infrastructure in place can dramatically aid physicians in this goal and get them the designation in a matter of months.
I’ve had a few days back at home. I’m fully recovered from the jet-lag and general lack of sleep. The non-stop geek-fest that is Cisco Live is now over. With some time to look back at everything that happened in San Diego, I’m blown away by how this might have been one of the best events I’ve been to in 16 years and how it’s too bad that it’s going to be a whole year before we get to do it again. Here are some of the things that made a huge impression on many of the attendees I spoke to that week. Read More »