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Upgrading Five UC Clusters to Cisco UCS Reduces Servers and Costs

In an earlier post, my colleague Reid Bourdet described how we migrated our largest Cisco Unified Communications Manager (Cisco UCM) cluster to a virtual machine environment running on Cisco Unified Computing System (Cisco UCS) servers.  This was the 19-node (server) Cisco UCM cluster that serves the Cisco headquarters campus in San Jose, California; and we completed the migration over a weekend.

What makes that move even more interesting is that we’re nearly done consolidating 5 separate clusters into one virtual environment, and reducing the total number of servers by a factor of four. Virtualization on the Cisco UCS hardware allows us to consolidate multiple UCM nodes on a single blade.  In this post, I’ll provide more details about the scope of this migration, the results we’ve gained, and how we’ll continue migrating other Cisco UCM clusters to Cisco UCS servers around the world.

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ACE Network: Cisco IT Supports a Network for Introducing New Services

IT departments are often caught between the requests of users who want the latest and greatest technology right now­—even if it’s not perfect—and users who value reliable and consistent IT services above all else.

How can you serve both types of users without wasting time, energy, budget, and everyone’s patience? In Cisco IT, we’ve done it by creating the Advanced Cisco Experience (ACE) network. Operating ACE separately from our production network, we use it to introduce new IT services and products to a group of technology specialists before we deploy those services company-wide. These services include new releases of Cisco unified communications, collaboration, video, and mobility technology products that our employees use to work the way they want, across different devices and locations, which drives gains in user productivity. Read More »

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Model “A Day in the Life …” for Better Collaboration

There’s a lot of collaboration technology out there and deciding which technology to invest in can be daunting.  How often have you heard of a company making a major investment in technology for it to become “shelfware” and never see deployment?  How often have you heard of a company that’s deployed a technology, yet nobody in the company is willing to use it?  How often have you heard of a company that has several products from different vendors that do exactly the same thing?

It doesn’t take much to realize that each of these situations has a negative impact and the cause of each situation stem from different reasons, but usually with the best intentions.  Shelfware occurs because of undeployed licenses in ELA’s or quantity purchases for better per seat pricing.  Unfortunately, the business doesn’t grow and the company is obligated to pay for unused licenses.  Other times, a company deploys a product with great features that is too complex or doesn’t integrate well with workflows and remains unused.  Lastly, individual departments may make purchase decisions based on their needs without consulting IT or other departments resulting in redundant solutions that compete internally with each other.

In considering collaboration strategy, it is key to consider Read More »

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Breaking Barriers with SIP Trunking – Cisco Emerges as Market Leader in New Infonetics Market Share 2012 Report

The way that enterprises connect to the outside world is changing. The transition to voice over IP (VoIP) that began with enterprise networks a decade ago, is now in full force in service provider networks. In a report issued on Monday, Infonetics Research reported that Cisco, the global market leader for unified communications and collaboration, is now the new market leader in global enterprise session border control (SBC) solutions for the first half of 2012, providing secure IP connectivity from the enterprise edge to the service provider session initiation protocol (SIP) trunking service.

Why is this so important? Service providers are now offering SIP trunking services instead of legacy dial tone (also known as time-division-multiplexing or TDM) to connect to enterprises of all sizes, including small businesses. In fact, according to their 2012 VoIP and UC Services Report, Infonetics forecasts SIP trunks to grow over 66 percent in 2012 alone.  Customers are quickly embracing the new technology, which offers substantial cost savings and the promise of extending real-time rich-media collaboration applications beyond the enterprise to customers, partners and suppliers.

To begin realizing the benefits of SIP trunking, businesses need to deploy a session border controller in order to efficiently and securely connect to service providers while preserving voice quality and features. Session border controllers connect IP networks and provide session control, security, demarcation for better troubleshooting and interworking to help overcome differences in the deployment of the SIP standard (such as CODEC or signaling).

Cisco reinvents the collaboration edge

Cisco’s session border controller, called, Cisco Unified Border Element (CUBE) is a software license add-on to the widely deployed Cisco Integrated Services Routers (ISRs) and Aggregation Services Routers (ASRs). CUBE provides significant benefits over competitors’ stand-alone session border controller offerings.  For example, CUBE enables customers to transition more smoothly to SIP trunking while reducing costs and operational complexity, often requiring no new hardware to be purchased or deployed. As a result, CUBE has been adopted by over 5,000 customers in 160 countries.

In their report, Infonetics credited Cisco’s differentiated model for delivering SIP trunking service, stating: “This is a natural extension of Cisco’s dominant market position in the router market—the majority of organizations have Cisco routers already installed and deployed at the important network border points.”

Other benefits of CUBE include: Read More »

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Telepresence in the World of Many Clouds

As my colleague Roberto De La Mora recently wrote, the cloud is the place to collaborate in today’s business world. Whether your organization needs private, public or hybrid cloud environments, Cisco and our broad network of partners can provide solutions that best suit your business needs.

And what if your collaboration needs include telepresence? Where does telepresence fit into the cloud?

With Cisco, telepresence fits into your cloud infrastructure wherever and however you need it. According to Forrester, “videoconferencing innovation today is geared toward extending connectivity…through cloud-based services or new lower-cost on-premises deployment models.”

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