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Insiders Guide to Optimization at Interop

This weekend my little sis and I re-watched Best in Show. This 2000 gem from Christopher Guest is a gentle mocumentary of the personalities you’d find at a dog show. We got some laughs as we watched the dialog between the commentators – one who was supposed to be quite knowledgeable on dogs, and one who was clueless and said things like:

Now tell me, which one of these dogs would you want to have as your wide receiver on your football team? 

I especially liked the above because it is pretty random and the response from the other commentator was great. I thought about it this morning since the NFL draft is tonight (go Niners!) and was thinking about Best In Show overall since we have our own competition coming up in a few weeks.

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How One Service Provider Overcame 5 Constraints and Helped Their Customers Succeed

International IT services provider Sycor was redesigning the networks for one customer who had 4500 employees spread across 80 branches in addition to a headquarters and many telecommuting and mobile workers.  One issue they were addressing was that this customer was having problems with one of their web-based applications. This specific app was used by just one person at each branch, but was important to the customer’s business. So Sycor engineers tuned both the app’s website as well as the central database with which it communicated.

The solution they were considering was a dedicated data terminal at each branch to work separately but in parallel with the existing network deployments.  And then the customer started having problems with more applications at more branches. Something had to be done.

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Three Pitfalls to Avoid While “Hitching your Wagon to the Cloud” (Pitfall 1: WAN Does Not Matter)

Last week at the Cloud Connect 2012 conference in Santa Clara, I was sharing a panel with industry colleagues representing the most prominent vendors in the application optimization, cloud infrastructure and network acceleration space . The topic was “hitching your wagon to the cloud”, discussing the importance of the network, particularly WAN, to make your cloud deployments successful. Folks talked about interesting concepts like “stateless branch office”, and “nirvana of Internet as WAN” before someone in the audience retorted, “I need solutions that help me deal with reality!” Read More »

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Top 4 WAN Obstacles and Solutions to Cloud Migration

The biggest buzzword in the network industry is Cloud: the majority of organizations have a strategy to use cloud-based services and applications, whether it be Public or Private clouds. Organizations have come a long way since ’migrating to the cloud’ discussions began . Take a look at this video recorded just a few years ago when cloud was still an enigma:

But Cloud has never been a new concept: IT professionals have been migrating applications to centralized datacenters for decades now…mainly to share recourses and save money by having less IT personnel supporting branch offices. Unfortunately, application performance as well as reliability and uptime requirements quickly became barriers to this centralization. Read More »

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Best Practices for Application Delivery in Virtualized Networks – Part I

Earlier this year the Webtorials Analyst Division, co-founded by Dr. Jim Metzler, surveyed their subscriber base of IT professionals. Not surprisingly, 75% admitted that when a core business application degrades in performance, the end user notices before IT does. Therefore, 85% also believe that it is important, very important and even critical to senior managers that they take a more proactive approach to managing acceptable application delivery (See Figure 1).

Source: Metzler, Jim, “2011 Application & Service Delivery Handbook”, p. 14

Click here for the 2011 Application Service Delivery Handbook -- Cisco

Contributing to the challenges of ensuring good application performance are the very innovations that are meant to simplify business and IT operations. These include data center consolidation, virtualization and the wide variety of applications that IT must support– all of which creates operational issues for IT. Not to worry – there are best practices that IT organizations can implement as application delivery challenges continue to evolve. In Part I of this blog post on application and services delivery, I’ll share what I consider to be key learnings from Dr. Metzler’s comprehensive 129 page guide. We’ll start with some core challenges:

Key Application Delivery Challenges

Proliferation of different types of applications: Today, companies utilize a wider variety of applications than ever. Some applications are business-critical. Others enable other business functions. And still more applications support communication and collaboration. Not only do they vary in criticality, but they also vary in their demands on the network. For instance, video streaming, which causes a lot of strain on the network may be key on some occasions (think company-wide all hands meetings a la Apple’s tribute to Steve Jobs), but recreational during other times. IT managers must audit company-wide application use, pinpoint a select group of business critical applications and formulate and execute a plan for optimization.

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