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Seamless Solutions for a World of Many Clouds

Considering all the hype around the cloud, it’s easy to forget that we live in a world of many clouds. Organizations can’t simply tap into a single all-powerful entity located everywhere and nowhere, all at once. In reality, they must dip in and out of a complex and often challenging array of public, private, and hybrid clouds.

But what is the future of cloud? The Internet of Everything (IoE) is driving an unprecedented explosion in connectivity — and transformation — and cloud is the key delivery system that makes it all possible. In the enterprise, cloud has already upended traditional IT consumption models, transitioning IT departments into brokers of services that are increasingly available through third-party vendors — and accessed through a variety of clouds. Facing an increasingly cloudy future, service providers are focused on moving beyond their traditional roles as telecom providers, while new players continue to enter the core markets of traditional service providers.

But how will enterprises and service providers meet the security and operational challenges of an ever-expanding and increasingly complicated cloud universe? Part of the answer lies in the industry’s evolution toward an ecosystem of cloud providers. Incorporating a cloud “brokerage” and a cloud “federation,” this ecosystem will give customers a choice of cloud solutions that meet their specific needs.

I’m happy to report that Cisco, along with some of our key partners, is helping to smooth the cloud transformation journey both on the demand (enterprise) and supply (service provider) sides.

This week we announced at Cisco Live Milan  a breakthrough hybrid-cloud solution called Cisco InterCloud, which paves the way for interoperable and highly secure public, private, and hybrid clouds.

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Is Your K-12 Network Ready for Common Core Standards?

What do IT and K12 Common Core Standards have in common? Forty-five states, the District of Columbia, four territories, and the Department of Defense Education Activity have adopted the Common Core State Standards. 100% of each of these states’ schools must update their network infrastructure to support the mandated online testing capabilities. Enter district IT.

Technology is a key component when it comes to achieving the objectives of these standards. The objective is to augment the learning experience through the use of wired and wireless devices and enhance skills such as communication, collaboration, research, critical thinking and tackling problems. The mandate is computer based assessments. This promotes more personalized leaning. The students are also acclimated to use technology effectively for productive life activities in the future.

The combination of common core standards adoption with BYOD or 1:1 initiatives, results in an exponential growth in addressing endpoints, bandwidth, and security. Schools are looking to upgrade their existing networks to be able to handle the current and future requirements of these standards.

Deploy K-12 Common Core-Ready Networks 20140121 Read More »

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New Year, New Challenges, New Successes: SDN Bringing Agility, Security and TCO to Campus and Branch Networks

Before recently taking on a new role as Cisco’s vice president and general manager of Software-Defined Network (SDN) with the enterprise networking group, I served as the vice president and general manager of Cisco’s Unified Access portfolio and led the expansion of the Catalyst 2k, 3k and 4k series product line, which has seen a lot of growth and developed a strong customer base over the past couple of years. Cisco invests heavily in R&D for these products, and has introduced many innovations improving security, application visibility/control, energy savings and converged wired and wireless infrastructure over the past few years.

But as I shifted into my new role and looked back at some of the new Unified Access solutions we introduced alongside our system architecture, I saw a curious disconnect: in some cases, it was getting more difficult for our customers to quickly take advantage of our new innovations.                                                                                                         

At Cisco, we design products to make customers’ lives easier and more productive. Not to gather dust because they’re too hard to figure out!

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HDX Blog Series #4: Optimized Roaming

Editor’s Note: This is the last of a four-part deep dive series into High Density Experience (HDX), Cisco’s latest solution suite designed for high density environments and next-generation wireless technologies. For more on Cisco HDX, visit www.cisco.com/go/80211ac.  Read part 1 here. Read part 2 here. Read part 3 here.

If you’ve been a long time user of Wi-Fi, at some point you have either observed someone encounter (or have personally suffered from) so called “sticky client syndrome”. In this circumstance, a client device tenaciously, doggedly, persistently, and stubbornly stays connected to an AP that it connected to earlier even though the client has physically moved closer to another AP.

Surprisingly, the reason for this is not entirely…errr…ummm…unreasonable. After all, if you are at home, you don’t want to be accidentally connecting to your neighbor’s AP just because the Wi-Fi device you’re using happens to be closer to your neighbor’s AP than to your own.

However, this behavior is completely unacceptable in an enterprise or public Wi-Fi environment where multiple APs are used in support of a wireless LAN and where portability, nomadicity, or mobility is the norm. In this case, the client should typically be regularly attempting to seek the best possible Wi-Fi connection.

Some may argue that regularly scanning for a better Wi-Fi connection unnecessarily consumes battery life for the client device and will interrupt ongoing connectivity. Therefore the “cure is worse than the disease”. But this is true only if the client is very aggressively scanning and actually creates the complete opposite of being “sticky”.

The fundamental issue with “stickiness” is that many client devices simply wait too long to initiate scanning and therefore seeking a better connection. These devices simply insist on maintaining an existing Wi-Fi connection even though that connection may be virtually unusable for anything but the most basic functionality. Read More »

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How Aligned Are Business and IT Priorities?

Are Business and IT Groups Innovating Together -01.17.14

Innovation is critical to the success of every organization. According to a recent Cisco survey, 84% of business leaders agree that technology innovation is a critical or very important strategic differentiator for their companies. However, this survey also revealed that technology investments made by business and IT leadership are not always aligned. So how can business and IT work better together to deliver more innovation and business impact?

To address this challenge, we recently conducted the first phase of the Cisco Business and IT Priority Survey, which asked 1,800 business leaders globally about how their business and IT priorities are linked, and how these groups manage their innovation processes and technology investments. The good news is that 70% of business leaders indicated that their priorities and IT’s are aligned.

However, 67% of business leaders also said IT will influence less than half of the business technology budget next year. This means that two thirds of all organizations have an opportunity to better align IT and business technology spending, and deliver more innovation and business impact in the process.

Furthermore, this opportunity is growing as business’ investments in technology increase faster than IT’s. More than half of business leaders expect their technology budgets to increase up to 25% next year, and 11% expect their tech budgets to grow more than 25%. These business technology budget increases also vary widely by country – see the next installment in this series for details on our survey results different countries, industries, and business roles.

So how can business and IT better align their technology investments to deliver more IT innovation and business impact?

  1. Simplify – align and map technology and business priorities at every level. Then innovate with integrated solutions that map to more of your business priorities now – and longer term. For example, Fredericksberg Commune in Denmark reduce IT helpdesk incidents by 90% by integrating wired, wireless, routing and security technologies.

    Using SDN and automation capabilities, there are also many new ways to simplify IT and free up resources to fuel more innovation – across your entire network. See our upcoming CiscoLive! Milan announcements for more details on how to dramatically improve IT productivity.
  2. Unify – breaking down technology silos can yield huge ROI and, in turn, spur innovation. Two Cisco solutions that exemplify this principle of unity are Unified Access and Intelligent WAN. Unified Access, where policy, management and networks all work better together as one, can deliver orders of magnitude more capacity and performance than independent wired and wireless point products that may be deployed as separate initiatives. For example, the Hotel Principe di Savoia in Milan recently deployed an integrated wired/wireless solution, and plans to grow revenues by 15 to 20% by offering new guest services in addition to the outstanding guest experiences they’re already providing.

    Similarly, combining MPLS, Internet and 3G/4G-LTE into one Intelligent WAN can reduce overall costs by more than $500,00 annually for companies with 100 sites, and dramatically improve performance, security, and reliability in the process.
  3. Multiply – with the right network, you can add many innovative new services and applications, as well as capacity and performance more quickly to reach business goals sooner. For example, Copenhagen Airport is transforming passenger experiences by integrating wireless, mobility and location services in new ways.

    This potential value is in many current networks, but it’s even more important as the Internet of Things brings connectivity to billions of new devices and applications and previously unconnected things, changing business models in profound ways.

Because the alignment of IT and business priorities is so important for innovation and business outcomes, on January 27th, we’ll begin collecting and sharing these priorities on a global basis in the next phase of our Business and IT Priority Survey. With this intelligence, people can see how their priorities  compare to those of their industry peers, and we can all better understand how to drive business and IT together.

Our findings to date indicate that opportunities for innovation live in virtually every organization. Please join us in the coming weeks as we dive deeper into these results and show real-world innovation examples that will help your IT and business groups innovate and deliver more business impact than ever before.

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