The Palms Casino Resort Wins Big with Cisco to Enhance the Guest Experience

Running a Las Vegas resort and casino is like running a small city. As Vice President of IT at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, Eric Saint-Marc is responsible for keeping traffic and maintenance of that city running as smoothly as possible. But his added responsibilities go further than any city council member of your typical city municipality.IMG_5200

The Palms property includes over 1,200 rooms and suites across three towers, a 95,000 square foot casino, a 2,500-seat concert theater, a recording studio, a Michelin-starred restaurant and more than 60,000 square feet of meeting space.

And at the core of the Palms operations is a Cisco network that essentially runs this “city” and the business.

When you consider all the elements of the Palms that Saint-Marc and his staff need to manage, it can seem like a tall order for a network to handle.

Not only does Saint-Marc use the network to employ a private cloud to manage critical systems, such as the Palms’ gaming systems and email, but also to manage the Palms’ point of sale system for all purchases on the property, which includes over 1,200 gaming machines throughout the resort and casino, totaling 5,000 devices in all.

“IT is a business enabler, allowing our business to grow while preparing for new technologies and guest services,” said Saint-Marc. “On a regular day, we can have 4,500 customers conducting 30,000 transactions in a constantly changing environment, so the network has to be flexible to accommodate these changes.”

Over the years, the role of the network at the Palms has gone through several phases, beginning with the ability to provide basic WiFi connectivity for guests in their rooms. However, the rise of smartphones and mobile apps has required the network to move beyond basic access to provide personalized, targeted content and promotions for guests during their stay.

So when the Palms recently underwent a multi-million dollar transformation of the entire property, they did so with the resort and casino guests in mind, looking for ways to engage with guests on the property that would enhance the overall experience.IMG_5167

Saint-Marc’s vision is to build “services of the future” that leverages mobile technology to personalize the guest experience that knows a consumer’s tendencies so they can provide benefits such as special comps, coupons and other deals as they move around the resort and casino.

And when they began plans for this network transformation to support these new demands, Eric and the Palms looked to Cisco. Presently, the Palms network is exclusively Cisco switching, with Nexus and UCS servers in the data center and Integrated Services Routers (ISRs) and access points throughout the property, in addition to voicemail and collaboration technologies.

At a press and analyst reception at the Palms during the Interop Las Vegas show, Saint-Marc unveiled his vision, which included the latest phase by including new Cisco IP phones for the entire property.

“The network is a platform for innovation,” said Saint-Marc. “Cisco has taken us forward by providing this innovation platform that provides presumptive outcomes when engaging with our guests. We want to provide a personalized experience for guests when they arrive on the property through notifications based on their preferences, and the network makes this happen.”

 


ESG Survey of IT Security Professionals Provides Insight to Data Center Security Issues

Yesterday, I reported on Cisco’s new ACI security announcements and an overview of our secure data center strategy. Today, I wanted to share some interesting market insights that we pulled from a survey conducted by Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) that Cisco commissioned, and that validates some key data center security trends and requirements that support our product strategy. Some of the key conclusions and data collected were shared in press coverage of the product announcement. The full survey results are here, and below are some summary graphics we prepared for our launch event.

Project Overview

Cisco commissioned the survey (conducted by ESG) to learn more about the challenges and issues IT professionals face when planning and implementing data center security.

Demographics

  • The survey sampled 154 IT security professionals in North America responsible for network security requirements and operations. All respondent organizations had to be using physical firewalls (or virtual firewalls) and access control lists (ACLs).
  • Most respondents represented large midmarket organizations (defined as organizations with 500 to 999 employees) and enterprise organizations (organizations with 1,000 up to 10,000 employees). 71 percent operated from three up to 20 data centers worldwide.
  • The study included broad representation from industry verticals: financial, manufacturing, health care, government, retail and business services.
  • The survey was conducted in April 2015.

Top Survey Findings

The people problem:  Implementing network security controls is tedious and time-consuming.

  • 69 percent of organizations reported it takes from one man-hour up to four man-hours on average to convert a single new application network requirement into a network device or firewall configuration (before they even implement the new configuration, test it, etc.)
  • 74 percent say that it takes days or weeks to implement security device updates from request all the way through to production implementation. (See InstaGraphic below)

Solution: Just like SDN revolutionized the data center by automating network configuration changes, ACI is accelerating security changes by automating device updates and configuring how security services are inserted into application networks, helping to ensure greater accuracy and allowing IT to keep up with business requirements.

ACL changes days or weeks

 Network security operational issues leads to human error and configuration problems.

  • 57 percent of organizations experienced a security incident that resulted in the compromise of one or more data center services in the past 2 years
  • 43 percent of respondents reported a configuration error over the last 12 months that led to a security vulnerability, performance problem, or service interruption
    • Of those, 87 percent reported multiple service outages over the last 12 months due to technical error with changing or configuring networks. (See InstaGraphic below)

Solution: Manual tasks eventually lead to human errors which result in security breaches and service outages. Automating many of these tasks can ensure accuracy and reduce risk.

config errors multiple outages

It’s difficult to make changes to security controls once they are implemented.

  • 75 percent of respondents report they have a method for removing expired and/or out-of-date ACLs or firewall rules.
  • 68 percent report that it is somewhat or extremely difficult to remove expired and/or out-of-date ACLs or firewall rules because it is so time-consuming and entails many manual processes. (See InstaGraphic below)
  • Over a third (35%) of security teams can only “somewhat” look at data center ACLs and understand the applications and services to which it refers.

Solution: A prime example of what ACI can automate and accelerate from a security perspective is the removal of outdated ACL or firewall rules. Most organizations report this is a really tedious and time consuming task, and at least 20% of organizations reported that’s it not even worth the effort. But this can lead to vulnerabilities, inconsistency and compliance challenges.

removing firewall rules difficult

IT security pros say that more granular network segmentation could help, but few are implementing this yet.

  • 47 percent (almost half) responded that an attack was able to move laterally within the data center from one server to another.
  • 77 percent of organizations report that further network segmentation would definitely or probably have helped in their situation.
  • Only 38 percent are extensively using security zones or segments today in that regard.

Solution: Cisco ACI’s implementation of more granular security policies between individual tenants, applications and workloads can definitely help confine attacks that otherwise could spread laterally between hosts. Too few organizations implement this today, and most agree that such segmentation would have helped against earlier attacks.

lateral attack more segmentation

IT security professionals would like to move toward more automation and orchestration.

  • 59 percent only have partial visibility into network configurations and security controls in the flow of network traffic from one application to another in the data center.
  • While 99 percent of respondents want to use automation and orchestration to accelerate application deployment, 70 percent have little to no ability to do so today.
  • 61 percent have little to no ability to provision security and network services based on policy.

Solution: More security is great, but automating security operations and accelerating network security changes with greater accuracy is also key to halting attacks. ACI can greatly help with the automation that organizations need. We didn’t create a snappy Instagraphic that summarizes this market data, but I’ll pull the following quote from Forrester that I used yesterday on automation of security tasks being a key initiative for most organizations to improve their threat response.

Over the previous 10 years, “attackers are getting better/faster at what they do at a higher rate than defenders are improving their trade.” If CISOs want to ever improve their abilities to detect and respond to adversaries, they must move from reactive to proactive operations through automation. Every bit of operational friction that S&R pros can reduce using automation will result in a more-agile security posture that makes detecting and responding to adversaries more productive. CISOs can expect automation to become one of the next great security buzzwords. – Forrester Research, “12 Recommendations for your Security Program in 2015

Drop us a note in the comments section of your opinion of these ESG findings and market data. Is this what you are seeing in your experience? If you didn’t get a chance to see us this week at Interop, including our new security demos with Cisco FirePOWER, I hope you are coming to Cisco Live San Diego in June and can hopefully check us out there.

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Intelligent Traffic Director (ITD) wins best of Interop award for DC category!

Just a few months ago, Cisco announced an innovative new feature called Intelligent traffic Director (ITD) on the Nexus 7000. ITD offers customers a  hardware based multi-terabit load-balancing and traffic re-director solution unmatched in the industry. Yesterday, at Interop, ITD was recognized for its industry leading innovation and capabilities with the best of Interop award in the data center category.

BOI_2015_data_center_winner_stacked

 

 

 

Since it’s introduction, the customer feedback has been nothing short of remarkable.  ITD has gotten tremendous interest and traction from both Enterprise and Service providers who are using it to scale out Firewalls, IPS, Video Caching, Server Load Balancing, Professional Media Network devices, WAAS etc. ITD is helping businesses solve their real world problems and delivering significant value in terms of increased capabilities, scale while significantly lowering their lower Capex and Opex.

Based on the strong demand for ITD, Cisco is extending ITD across the Nexus portfolio starting with the Nexus 5000 and Nexus 9000 Series by the end of this month. We are also continuing to enhance ITD with a comprehensive roadmap which includes new features, support for enterprise and SP router/switches, new extensions for mobile operators and an ecosystem involving several partners.

Needless to say, the ITD team was totally excited with the recognition and they didn’t hold back https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aiV3MgPAV_M 

ITD award

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Congratulation to the entire ITD team for their dedication and passion…indeed a well deserved award.

You can get more information on ITD capabilities and features here. http://www.cisco.com/c/dam/en/us/products/collateral/switches/nexus-7000-series-switches/at-a-glance-c45-732554.pdf

 

 


Enhance Data Center Security and Automation with New Cisco ACI Features and Partners

We’ve been talking for a while about Cisco ACI’s leadership in SDN security features (like here), and in the design of our fine-grained security policy enforcement between individual workloads, sometimes called microsegmentation. Today, here at Interop, Las Vegas, Cisco is reaffirming its thought leadership in data center security and SDN automation with a couple of announcements, including the integration of Cisco FirePOWER next generation intrusion prevention system (NGIPS) into the ACI security framework. In other news, another ACI ecosystem security partner was announced last week at the RSA Security Conference: Fortinet, who will be integrating their Fortigate firewall platform with ACI.

The Cisco ACI + FirePOWER solution enables real-time detection, mitigation and remediation for advanced security threats inside the data center by combining granular application visibility and control, threat detection, advanced malware protection (AMP) capabilities of FirePOWER NGIPS with ACI microsegmentation, advanced security service insertion, and L4-7 policy automation. To quickly summarize how this all comes together and a sample use case for ACI security, we created the following video:

Available in June, 2015, new ACI advanced security works to protect data centers before, during, and after attacks, dynamically detecting threats and automating incident responses. The Cisco FirePOWER family of security appliances consists of industry-leading NGFW, NGIPS appliances offering best-in-class threat effectiveness, superior visibility and global threat intelligence.

Attack Continuum

FirePOWER + ACI = Automated Security with Advanced Protection Across Attack Continuum for Physical and Virtual

Cisco also announced that third party auditors validated ACI for deployment in payment card industry data security standard (PCI-DSS) compliant networks. Any organization that accepts credit cards needs to comply with the PCI data security standard, but managing and simplifying the scope of compliance can help to reduce compliance costs for these organizations. Independent qualified security assessors (QSA) validated in Cisco labs that ACI can be used to reduce the scope for PCI and simplify segmentation management.

To set the context for this ACI security news, I like to point to three prevailing trends in data center security that are driving many new product requirements in this area:

  1. Moving from peripheral to pervasive, fine-grained security – Perimeter security solutions that block all malicious traffic coming into the data center are great, but they can’t help threats from propagating inside the data center. In a shared, multi-tenant environment where trust between users and applications can no longer be assumed, security solutions have to be in place to protect every workload from every other one, and to protect all tenants from each other. This is several orders of magnitude more complexity than we previously required. This trend has led to the implementation of fine-grained security policies, enforced between individual application workloads (microsegmentation).
  2. The need to automate IT Security operations – In our on-demand, elastic cloud environments, where applications are deployed in minutes, sorting out this complexity, and updating security policies across many potential devices is a logistical nightmare. A security management solution that can automatically update, provision and configure security policies across all applicable devices quickly is required to support the agility required of cloud architectures. Forrester Research even highlighted the need to automate security tasks in their report, “12 Recommendations for your Security Program in 2015”:

    Over the previous 10 years, “attackers are getting better/faster at what they do at a higher rate than defenders are improving their trade.” If CISOs want to ever improve their abilities to detect and respond to adversaries, they must move from reactive to proactive operations through automation. Every bit of operational friction that S&R pros can reduce using automation will result in a more-agile security posture that makes detecting and responding to adversaries more productive. CISOs can expect automation to become one of the next great security buzzwords.

    Through Cisco ACI, all security device provisioning and configuration can be automated according to the centrally managed application policies and requirements, greatly simplifying IT security tasks, and accelerating application deployments.

  3. Application mobility provides challenges to statically placed security devices – Cloud environments require applications to be location-independent and mobile. When application traffic has to be sent to specific security services and devices, this can be overwhelming to manage when applications are mobile and physical security devices are not. A dynamic and automated way to configure security paths specific to application requirements is required.Cisco ACI provides a seamless and consistent method for integrating both virtual and physical security appliances, independent of location, into application networks, and applying security policies consistently to both physical and virtual workloads. Automating this service chaining capability simplifies and accelerates some of the most complex tasks of setting up new applications in multi-tenant data centers, helping to reduce application deployments from weeks to minutes.

Tomorrow, I’m planning a blog to review some market data we collected with Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) on data center security requirements, including the need for automation and finer-grained segmentation as we’ve discussed here.

If you are around Interop this week, we’d love to have you stop by and see the new demos of ACI with FirePOWER integration, as well as all the other features we’re showing. If not, we’ll hope to at least see you at Cisco Live in San Diego, where we’ll have even more to show off.

[Cisco Press Release]

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Cisco APIC wins Best of Interop 2015 award in SDN category

The Best of Interop Awards for 2015 were announced today at 5.30 PM, at the Interop Theater. Cisco APIC won the Best of Interop award in the SDN category.

Interop

To learn more about this unique product, you can refer to the following posts:

http://blogs.cisco.com/datacenter/cisco-apic-makes-best-of-interop-2015-finalist

I want to extend my congratulations to the entire team at Insieme Network Systems Business Unit and recognize their hard work in developing this award winning Product.

Cisco appreciates the recognition from the Interop judges and it’s a great compliment to the recognition Cisco APIC is getting from its customers.

Please visit Cisco demo booths at the Expo Hall for a live demo of APIC and its integrated solutions with industry-leading partners.

For more information on ACI

www.cisco.com/go/aci

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oq4gx5BDP-Y&list=PLFT-9JpKjRTAB1jxPP0GT_PEdI6Hu32TQ&index=1

 


Cisco at EMC World: Stop, Win and Save

Cisco booth 221 at EMC World 2015: Stop, Win, and Save (SWS)

I’m looking forward to EMC World 2015 at the Venetian in Las Vegas where thousands of attendees will meet and learn about the latest in storage, networking, and solutions.  To that end of learning more,  this year it is easier and more rewarding than ever to engage with Cisco at EMC World. Just drop by our booth or attend a Cisco breakout session, learn about our latest products, technologies, and solutions, and win great prizes.

Stop at Cisco Booth 221

For attendees to learn more about Cisco technologies, Cisco offers demonstrations, a mini-theater, three breakout sessions and an area carved out for engineers unplugged.

Demonstrations cover the following Cisco products and solutions:

Our mini theatre includes presentations from Cisco and our technology partners. A quick summary of our theater content:

Dr_dre_earbuds_1Dr_dre_earbuds_2

 

Engineers Unplugged offers another avenue to learn about Cisco technologies.  Engineers and technical marketers explain the benefits of Cisco data center technologies, while being recorded.  Attendees can listen to a quick conversation at EMC World or take in the video later at their own convenience.   #EngineersUnplugged: Episodes will be shot Monday through Wednesday.

In addition, Cisco hosts three breakout speaking sessions including:

  • Cisco UCS & EMC Solutions
    • Date: Monday, May 4th
    • Time: 1:30 – 2:30 PM
  • Transform Your Mission Critical Data Center With New Cisco MDS 9000 Family Innovations
    • Date: Tuesday, May 5th
    • Time: 3:00 – 4:00 PM
  • Policy-Based Infrastructure Provisioning For VDM & Recover Point With Cisco ACI
    • Date: Wednesday, May 6th
    • Time: 3:00 – 4:00 PM

After each of these breakout sessions, one winner will be chosen for a Microsoft Surface Pro 3 tablet.

 Microsoft_Surface_Pro_1
Microsoft_Surface_Pro_3Microsoft_Surface_Pro_4

 

Win More Cool Prizes

At the Cisco booth , winning happens in other ways:

  • After a few short questions at the registration desk attendees can win these great-looking Cisco hats:

UCS_Hats

  • Take a selfie wearing a Cisco UCS hat and also win a chance at a Dr. Dre Ear Bud, one winner per day

Save

Perhaps most importantly is the long-term savings customer gain by moving to Cisco technologies.  One example is Cisco UCS servers and Cisco UCS Integrated Infrastructure.

Customers the world over have benefited as Cisco has seen its server customer base increase from zero to over 41,000 in a little more than 5 years.   In fact, Cisco UCS serves has grown extremely fast in nearly every dimension.

UCS_Acceleration

 

In addition, the UCS architectures and these differentiators deliver significant benefits to your organization:

  1. Save on software licensing costs
  2. Increase server availability dramatically
  3. Decrease server deployment errors
  4. Automate at all levels
  5. Cloud-proof your future infrastructure needs

Benefits Slide (cobble)

UCS Integrated Infrastructure take these UCS Servers benefits to the next level, combining UCS Servers, Nexus switches and UCS Director with EMC storage. UCS Integrated Infrastructure plus

  1. EMC Storage = Cisco Solutions for EMC VSPEX or Vblock

UCS Integrated Infrastructure _EMC World_II

UCS Integrated Infrastructure can really be thought of as the “Intel Inside” of Vblocks and Cisco Solutions for EMC VSPEX.   Much of the IP of a Vblock or Cisco Solutions for EMC VSPEX is contained in these Cisco technologies.

Cisco Integrated Infrastructure, Vblocks and Cisco Solutions for EMC VSPEX offer all the benefits of UCS Servers and more. UCS Integrated Infrastructure inherits all these UCS Server benefits of saving money, higher productivity, increased agility and integration and combines them EMC storage for even greater customer benefits of integration and fast deployment and faster time to value of complete solutions.

Please stop, win and save at Cisco booth 221 for EMC World 2015!

 


A Comprehensive Approach to Building Your Big Data

One of the most exciting, yet challenging opportunities companies face today is related to data. Every year, they have to deal with about 40% more data than the year before. At this rate, by 2020, there will be 40 zettabytes of data in the world (40 trillion gigabytes) – that is 5,200 GB of data for every person on the planet Earth. If these volumes were not enough to make you dizzy, think about the variety of sources and format that is inherent to the Internet of Everything. There are currently more than 15 billion devices connected to the Internet, creating billions of connections between people, processes and things, in hundreds of different formats – how to analyze all this?

Cisco, Hortonworks and Red Hat have partnered to develop industry leading solutions that can help you make the most of this data by delivering three fundamental aspects: performance, scalability and manageability. These solutions are built up on modern and agile data architectures that rely on modular building blocks, adapts to the business demands and integrates today and tomorrow’s technological advances. With these solutions enterprises can capture, store and analyze data efficiently at lower cost and gain a powerful competitive advantage.

To learn more about the collaboration between Cisco, Hortonworks and Red Hat, and see how you too can benefit from their experience, vision and validated architecture, attend the webinar on April 30.


Bringing Up a New Branch Site the Easy Way with Prime Infrastructure – Part 5

Last week, I concentrated on how to use Cisco Prime Infrastructure to do troubleshooting for your network. Today, as the 5th and final post of my 5-part blog series, I’ll look at how to maintain network health for your branch site users with Prime. As a quick recap, here’s my blog series on how to set up networking with Prime for a new branch site.

WAN deployment – blog 1
Converged wired and wireless  – blog 2
Application performance – blog 3
Troubleshooting – blog 4
Network health – blog 5 (this blog)
 steve song blog 5 pic 1

As designed, you have successfully brought up your new branch site and the network is now in production. And you are well prepared to troubleshoot if anything goes wrong. Before you declare “mission accomplished”, there is one more step you can take to achieve long-term success. Just like preventive healthcare can help a person to stay healthy, Prime gives you a number of tools to monitor and maintain your network health. By making full use of these tools, you are prepared to address potential issues before they impact your network.

With Prime, you can
– Keep track of network changes with network topology maps and Device 360
° Views;
– Maintain centralized visualization across multiple Prime instances with Operations Center ; and
– Stay engaged with Cisco support integration
.

One of the things that always excites network engineers and managers is an accurate network topology map. Prime Infrastructure can provide such a map for you, which includes all your branch sites and main campus site. If there are any changes, you’ll know right away. Or, if you want to know more details, you can drill down to each networking device with Prime Device 360° View. The chart below shows a portion of Cisco’s production network topology map.

steve song blog 5 pic 2

If you have a large network with many sites, you may have deployed more than one instance of Cisco Prime Infrastructure to manage your network for scalability and resiliency. With Prime Operations Center, you can manage all these instances together as one.

steve song blog 5 pic 3

Configuration, asset, client, and event details remain stored with individual instances. Operations Center gives you a searchable, central view of assets, alarms, and clients associated with up to 10 Prime Infrastructure instances. Operations Center also gathers and presents alarms from all instances into a single pane or pop-up window and for you to monitor your network health tracked by each instance. With one click, you can drill down to any instance to begin troubleshooting.

A useful Prime capability enjoyed by many of our customers is Cisco support integration. Without having to launch another web browser to initiate online support, Prime has built-in support so that you can get connected with Cisco TAC or Cisco Support Community directly. You can open a case, track case status, or join community discussions, all from one place. You stay engaged with Prime.

steve song blog 5 pic 4

Proactive network health support. This is what you can get from Prime Infrastructure. Prime makes network health an easy task.

This is my last post on how Prime can help you to set up networking for a new branch site. I’ll leave the following thought with you as I conclude this blog series.

Your company has great initiatives such as expanding business with a new branch site. Cisco Prime Infrastructure helps you support these initiatives. With Prime, you can
– grow business opportunities with rapid IWAN, Converged Access and other networking deployments;
– lower business costs with application assurance and efficient troubleshooting;
– reduce business risks by minimizing downtime with network health support.

Cisco Prime Infrastructure makes simplified network deployments and proactive network operations an easy task for you
.

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Cisco at OpenStack Summit, Vancouver

It’s that time again. The champions of OpenStack are gearing up for the next Summit: May 18-22 in Vancouver, where Cisco is a Premier Sponsor and our objective is to demonstrate the depth of our commitment to OpenStack as developers, operators, and users.

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This is only my third Summit, but I’m noticing some changes here in our preparations at Cisco. For one thing, our engineers are presenting nearly 30 sessions—more than triple the last Summit. That makes sense if you think about the growth of OpenStack and the increasing interest in issues related to enterprise deployment and production environments. Internally, Cisco uses OpenStack for a variety of cloud applications and services and has a lot to share about high availability, scalability and operations for OpenStack.

Of course, Cisco architects will be presenting their perspectives on OpenStack networking topics, including sessions on implementing IPv6, adding enterprise functions to Open vSwitch, availability of Neutron extensions and ML2 drivers, and the innovative use of Network Function Virtualization to create cloud VPNs. You can see the full list on the Cisco at OpenStack Summit website, to mark your schedule in advance.

Cisco will also have a special sponsored track on Tuesday to share details on our OpenStack strategy and breadth of solutions. Presenters will be joined by Cisco customers: Shutterfly, Sprint and Key Information Systems. Attendees at sponsored track sessions will be eligible to win a new MacBook or one of seven iPad minis.

We’re bringing Engineers Unplugged’ back to our booth in the Expo Hall and recording short whiteboard videos to let OpenStack contributors share what they’re working on. Stop by the booth to view a Cisco demo and receive a free Vancouver Summit t-shirt. The roster of demos includes how Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure enables faster, easier, and more accurate provisioning of infrastructure to scale applications in the cloud.

Finally, keep an eye out for Cisco’s social media scavenger hunt with fun prizes, details to be posted on Twitter: #OpenCisco, #OpenStackSummit.

See you in Vancouver.

 

 

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Cisco Intelligent WAN with Akamai Connect At Interop

Interop is just around the corner. I am sure there will be plenty of thought provoking content about how to transform IT, compelling demos, and SDN everywhere. But let’s not forget the reality of most IT organizations today.

The majority face the fact that digital innovation is overwhelming their enterprise network. Everything from internal and external Web apps, SaaS, HD video, software updates, mobile apps and even digital signage are traversing the network eating up valuable bandwidth. Analysts even predict that average enterprise bandwidth requirements will increase by up to 50% per year while 60% of WAN budgets are flat or declining.

interop blog 2

 

In addition most enterprises seem to subscribe to doing more with less – particularly when it comes to IT – so upgrading enterprise network bandwidth across locations every few years just isn’t viable – both from a budget and agility perspective. That is not to mention that a lot of enterprises can’t upgrade their bandwidth even if they wanted to due to branch location.

But bandwidth constrained networks are only one side of the story – latency is the other. Whether caused by distance or amplified by enterprise network architectures such as backhauling Internet traffic over the WAN through the datacenter out to the Internet. And as we all know high latency is particularly detrimental to Web application performance.

So the bottom line is congested, high-latency, low bandwidth enterprise networks result in slow HTTP/S applications, video, and software updates.

interop blog 3

And we all know that video or apps that are slow or not working properly are bad for business. There has been plenty of research highlighting the fact that as video and apps get slower, engagement decreases, abandonment increases and employee productivity plummets. So it is fair to say slow apps equal unhappy customers and unproductive employees.

So what can IT do today?

Maximize the enterprise network resources you have today. Start by offloading traffic from the enterprise network to free up valuable bandwidth. The most effective approach is to cache content (both byte & HTTP/S object caching) in the branch – ideally on an existing box such as a router. That way you don’t have to worry about managing multiple boxes and you can leverage existing router investments. The added bonus is that you will not only increase available bandwidth but also significantly reduce latency.

So the bottom line is delivering content from the router in the branch will make applications in the branch faster, while maximizing existing enterprise network bandwidth.

But don’t forget to adopt an enterprise network approach that will allow you to evolve. Whether that means supporting new initiatives such as HD video training for all employees, growing enterprise adoption of iOS devices and SaaS, or even adding Direct Internet Access (DIA) to your branches. Your network and by extension IT needs to be agile enough to embrace this evolution and explosion in content, origins, network topologies and consumption models.

interop blog 4

 

We’ve recently made it easier for customers to get IWAN with Akamai Connect with new pricing on the Akamai licenses as well as bundles with the ISR-AX.  Please view the Akamai Connect Datasheet and the ISR Ordering Guide for more information.

So the bottom line is plan for an enterprise network approach that will provide value today – and – tomorrow. To find out how Cisco IWAN with Akamai Connect can help, stop by the Akamai (#1551) & Cisco (#1327) booths at Interop Las Vegas.

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