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Increase Your Network Operations IQ

This is the time of year when summer vacations end and students head back to the classroom. For those of us who have school-age children like me, it’s important that we know that their academic environment provides access to tools and information that will ensure successful learning. Knowledge of our children’s academic resources gives us the power to help shape their educational outcomes.

Perhaps surprisingly, improving young minds is a bit like improving network operations. As in academia, IT environments are highly dynamic – networks support multiple office locations, configurations change frequently to meet business demands and applications require flexibility to meet future trends, such as the Internet of Everything (IoE). Network operations are optimized when IT teams have access to the resources and device data they need to ensure successful business outcomes.

School is in Session: A Network Operations Aptitude Quiz

Do you know if you have all right automation and analytic tools to effectively manage the operational lifecycle of your network equipment? Here’s a simple network “IQ” test to find out. For the following questions, answer “yes” or “no”: Read More »

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Cisco Keynote – End-to-End Optimization for Today’s Modern Datacenters

Have a bit of free time this Wednesday morning? If so please feel free to sit in on a Cisco keynote delivered by Mark Balch, Director of Cisco UCS Product Management, as he outlines the challenges faced and the discoveries made with the UCS family and how it has driven revolutionary change and business benefits for today’s modern datacenter.

The Cisco keynote starts WindowsITPro’s “virtual trade show” on Optimizing Your Virtual Infrastructure.  The event brings top industry Microsoft experts together in an online forum affording attendees the opportunity to learn about key datacenter optimization topics and trends.

Our UCS family has been a leader in Data Center optimization since it’s initial release to market five years ago.  Having been designed for virtualization from the beginning, UCS is an integrated system that is configured through unified, model-based management to simplify deployment of enterprise-class applications and services running in bare-metal, virtualized, and cloud-computing environments.


Download the UCS Family poster

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Steps to Optimizing Your Network- Change Management & Network Management Strategies

AL79165(1)Having completed all of the previous strategy elements, you are ready to deploy.  Is that all there is to it? Not quite.  In this post, I’ll highlight strategies you can use for a smooth post-deployment.

Change Management

In one of my past experiences, deployment of our branch routers went off without a hitch and we patted ourselves on the back and went home.  In the morning, operations noted a reload on two of the routers we had upgraded the night before.  It appeared that one of the defects we evaluated had not discovered “all” of the traffic that could force the reload. So what was the impact of all this? As part of our change management strategy, we were certain to ensure that we could back out on our changes.  Additionally, we set the device to load the old software and configuration if the device reloaded.  This resulted in less than a minute outage for those devices that did reload and the design allowed for seamless failover between the two switches.  Failure to do so would have resulted in the router continuously reloading as these packets were encountered -, which would unlikely be noticed. It is important to note that there was no impact on the production network or business services. Read More »

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BYOD Spells Opportunity for Service Providers

There’s no doubt that BYOD—“bring your own device”—is a huge and growing phenomenon throughout the world. Recent research by the Cisco® Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) looked at BYOD and its economic impact in six countries: the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, China, India, and Brazil. In these countries alone, the number of BYOD devices is expected to more than double by 2016, to 405 million.

Clearly, introducing all those personal smartphones, tablets, and laptops into the workplace is causing complexity and uncertainty for many businesses. There is a strong appetite for BYOD, but our research shows that implementation has been largely reactive, resulting in a patchwork of ad-hoc capabilities and policies. Without a comprehensive approach, most companies are not realizing the potential value of BYOD—especially small or midsize businesses that do not have the IT resources or sophistication to manage all that complexity.

Enter the service provider (SP). BYOD opens the door to a number of SP opportunities: Read More »

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Leave it to the Experts

When I remodeled my bathroom a few years ago, my initial plan included only a few things: I wanted it to feel bigger (it’s a small space), and everything needed to be replaced – the utilities, furniture, walls, floors, and window.

I know what I like, and I know what I want, but I don’t know the first thing about designing a new bathroom.  Add to that a full-time job and three children under the age of 10, I knew I needed to hire someone who could take complete control of the project while still delivering everything I wanted.

I hired a contractor who could not only do the physical labor, but one who had the expertise to plan and design the whole thing. He asked me questions about which members of the family use the bathroom, and how often, in order to deliver the most relevant plan that fit our lifestyle. Through his consultation, he discovered that this bathroom was the main bathroom in the house, heavily used by our family and visitors alike.  Based on that fact, he recommended a redesign that provided the optimum privacy for our family of 5 – something I hadn’t even considered when initially launching the project. Read More »

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