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Take the SBA-Train

January 10, 2011 - 2 Comments

As someone who grew up riding the Boston MBTA, and later the New York City subway system, I have an affection for that gritty form of public transit. So I loved the New York Times article from some weeks ago that detailed the results of the city’s subway survey. My favorite quote:  “Please.  I’ve lived in New York for 20 years — I’ve seen more bizarre things on the trains than I can remember.  That’s why we live here.” 

When you zoom out from that passenger experience, though, there’s a lot that goes into building a subway system to carry all that humanity. Just look at this site dedicated to dreaming up a better MBTA for Boston. Clearly people rely on subway systems for different things and have very subjective needs when it comes to the design of the overall system. And that’s why Cisco’s new Smart Business Architecture (SBA) subway system is so cool. It’s designed to help you navigate easily from Point A to Point B as you move through the modules that help you turn a Borderless Network Architecture into a reality.

Each module—or subway stop—represents a prescriptive, step-by-step guide for a specific aspect of the Borderless Network Architecture. And when you zoom in to explore that guide, you find a clear point of orientation.

Let me explain. In Jason Lackey’s recent blog about SEO poisoning, he provides some good tips for avoiding the threats inherent in that particular brand of cyber threats. One of his suggestions is, of course, to get Ironport Web Security. Within the SBA subway system, as you navigate through the Supplemental guides, you find a Web Security subway stop. When you follow that to the Web Security SBA guide, you find a mini map like below, which shows you what you’re about to look at, what you should refer to before that doc, and what you should move on to afterward. It’s a simpler way to look at and deploy an overall architecture in a phased, solution-by-solution way.

As you’re thinking about your network, consider how an overall system could help you cut the complexity out of navigating your way to a fuller, more powerful architecture. Imagine—a tightly integrated system even with a phased buildout. With that kind of structured support, you never have to worry that the train has left the station. To learn more, go to

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  1. Typo correction on my last comment: *SBA page

  2. Great article. The 1972 Mario Vignelli New York subway map is of course a design classic and did a marvelous job of making it clear how to get from point A to point B in a complicated city of multiple boroughs. There was another good New York Times article back in June about the newest makeover of their subway map:

    Back to the SBA blueprints themselves: I think the great customer comments on the SAB page show the true value of this great document set.