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Your Design Engineers Need Support and ‘Expertise on Tap’ Too!

If you are involved in designing, supporting or managing a data center, you will undoubtedly rely on technical support services from one or more vendors.  Running your data center, there is always the risk of a hardware failure or being impacted by a software defect.  While relatively rare, hardware does occasionally fail unfortunately.  However you undoubtedly have technical support in place to deal with such problems.  You may have invested in a few extra switches as backup, you may also have failover mechanisms in place.  Almost certainly you will have a support contract in place with your Cisco partner or with Cisco, so you have break/fix expertise on tap for when something goes wrong.   This is critical support for your business, no debate from me.

Engineer Under Stress!

Engineer Under Stress!

Now, arguably the most important resource you have in your data center is not so much individual switches, routers or servers.  It’s your engineers, those who design and support your data center.  If they have a problem, where and how do they get help?  Who helps them when they are stretched?  When business pressures are telling?  Of course, their colleagues and managers can and will help.  Where, however, can they tap into additional sources of expertise so that they can become even more productive for you?  This is where Cisco Optimization Services come in – including our award-winning Cisco Network Optimization Service (or “NOS” for short), Collaboration Optimization Service, and the one I’m involved with, Cisco Data Center Optimization Services.

 

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Evolving Your Organization with Software Defined Networking

Software Defined Networking (SDN) is an exciting evolution in IT.  Today, connections throughout a network are made by directly connecting to routers to control them.  This is a process that can be time-consuming and prone to error, depending upon the size of the network being managed.  Furthermore, the effort involved in making changes across large networks can slow the pace of innovation within an organization.

SDN moves control to the application layer.  This provides numerous benefits to IT:

  • Unified point of automation and management
  • Consistent deployment of policies throughout the network
  • Improved operational efficiency
  • Rapid deployment of new features like security and QoS
  • Simplified network management overall

Many people think SDN is the future of data center networking.  Cloud provider OneNeck, for example, is investing in developing the expertise to lead the market in transitioning its customers to SDN.  In their blog, Leading the Market with Software Defined Networking (SDN), OneNeck describes how they are working with Cisco to bring SDN to market.

OneNeck’s SDN lab, for example, is a great example of how our partners add value to Cisco technology.  SDN introduces a whole new management framework for networking.  By working with real-world SDN applications in their lab, OneNeck is developing the skill sets and expertise required to enables its customers to evolve with confidence.

Learn more about Cisco’s SDN solutions, including the Cisco Nexus 9000 series switches, Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) and Cisco Intercloud Fabric.

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OpenStack Podcast #16: Interview with Pere Monclus

At Cisco we’re passionate about networking, and we have a ton of respect for those who are pushing the boundaries in this realm—even when they don’t work for our company.

Case in point: Co-founder and CTO of PLUMgrid, Pere Monclus. He’s actually a former Cisco employee, and his depth of knowledge when it comes to networking–particularly networking as it applies to OpenStack–is formidable. What’s more, he’s got a talent for taking difficult-to-understand concepts and making them easily digestible. In our interview last week he provided a great explanation of how SDN came about and what problems it is trying to solve. He also explained why network virtualization is so complicated compared to server virtualization, why—contrary to popular opinion–OpenStack Neutron is not broken, and why the cloud has forced the rise of global IT infrastructure companies.

Want to take your networking knowledge to the next level? Settle back and listen in. You’re in for a treat.

To see who we’re interviewing next, or to sign-up for the OpenStack Podcast, check out the show schedule! Interested in participating? Tweet us at @nextcast and @nikiacosta.

For a full transcript of the  interview, click read more below.

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Getting Value from Professional Organizations

As a Cisco team member, I’m convinced that the value of professional organizations cannot be understated. It’s understood that employees across various industries have a lot on their plate these days. Data centers, SDN’s or large solutions that help a manufacturing plant to become more “connected” are more than enough projects to keep us busy. However, employees often forget the value of professional organizations that are relevant within each industry. Whether an employee belongs to a professional organization or not, employees must realize the value that these organizations have: professional credibility, influence messaging on a ground level and increasing visibility for Cisco are some of the most important aspects that being involved with professional organizations can bring about.

Professional Credibility

Professional organizations are a place where I can network, learn and help deliver Cisco messaging as well as educate, engage and contact customers through community involvement.  When I first joined Cisco 15 years ago, I regularly attended and presented at monthly users group meetings, but over the years, Cisco’s participation at these meetings has waned and appears to be trending down. Often, I think we take for granted the value of professional organizations, but they provide a standard for professional credibility and give Cisco a broader visibility. As a member of an industry professional organization, specifically the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), I get tremendous value through education and networking.  I know my colleague Rick Geiger, who is on the Gridwise Alliance Board of Directors, would agree. At the local and state level, large impacts are possible as professional association members are able to drive professional credibility, influence agendas and position topics to society members who work or interact with our customer base.

For example, several months ago I received a monthly newsletter promoting a seminar on Software Defined Networking (SDN). One line stated “Software Defined Networking has got Cisco shaking in their boots because it just might completely transform what types of equipment are needed to build a network.  Do I have your attention now?”  Needless to say, I registered and attended – member discount to boot.

Education of members was the primary purpose of the seminar, meaning attendees expected the delivery of neutral, fair and technically accurate presentation on the future of software defined networks.  As I saw it, the presentation on SDN was focused on a Google approach to SDN architecture for data centers, and included a good amount of Cisco bashing. Nonetheless, the seminar provided an opportunity to influence the messaging at ground level and the topics discussed seemed to be informative and beneficial for all those in attendance.

Influence Messaging and Topics at Ground Level

Understanding the messaging and positioning of the local technical mavens presents a golden opportunity to counter and influence at street level. The bottom line, secure all forums to get Cisco’s messaging to our end users.  The IEEE meeting provided a good opportunity to secure a date and timeslot to present Cisco’s SDN and Application-Centric Infrastructure strategies as well as an opportunity to counter any negative perception the audience picked.  As Mike Robinson, Practice Architect states:

“As a member of UTC’s Smart Network Council, I get to collaborate with leading utilities in the United States who are dealing with the industry’s pressing issues. This is hugely valuable. It offers a direct path to decision makers, a seat at the table as they develop their strategies, and it builds trust as a colleague (as opposed to coming across just as a vendor). Also, through UTC I get the opportunity to speak at conventions, periodic forums, and regional meetings.”

Broader Visibility for Cisco

Cisco will also have an opportunity to drive thought leadership to influencers – Mavens and Sales specialists who will attend the upcoming session I secured. Account managers, engineers and other members of the sales team should make it a priority to get engaged with professional organizations, user groups and other community influencers.

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Summary: Top 10 ICT Trends in 2015: are you ready for digital transformation?

By Kevin Bloch, Cisco Chief Technology Officer, Australia and New Zealand

One of the best parts about my job is that I get to spend a lot of time listening to some very smart people, both internally within Cisco and externally. As we touch so many parts of the global technology industry and market, it puts me in a fantastic position to see what’s coming down the track. So, each year around this time, I take the opportunity to offer some predictions for the year ahead (which, incidentally, is Cisco’s 30th birthday).

It will probably come as no surprise that the biggest theme you’ll hear about this year is digital transformation, which is essentially underpinned by the Internet of Everything (IoE). In the next twelve months, enterprises will spend more than $40 billion globally, designing, implementing and operating the Internet of Things (IoT). Already thirty-eight percent of technology spend is outside of IT.

Read the full Top 10 ICT Trends in 2015 blog and feel free to provide any feedback.

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