Posts with #cisco news tag
While Cisco Systems has put up lackluster results thus far this year – down just over 1% on a year-to-date basis as of this writing– there are some significant reasons to buy this stock at current levels. To begin with, even as analysts wrongly try to reclassify Cisco as a value stock, the company is undervalued across various metrics. Additionally, through important strategic partnerships with players like VMware, the company continues to have significant growth potential. Finally, despite the negative press the company has received over its deal with ZTE, the relationship is not critical to Cisco and the news will continue to fade. Ultimately, Cisco offers real growth while trading at a value multiple and paying a healthy “value-stock” dividend. The stock is a strong buy for your core portfolio.
The Valuation Question
At current levels, Cisco is trading at a trailing P/E of 12.5 and a forward P/E of 9. Competitors are trading at much higher multiples, including Juniper Networks with a trailing P/E of 36.5 and a forward P/E of 15.6. Those figures are without the benefit of the 3% dividend offered by Cisco. The respective PEG ratios for the two companies are 1.21 for Cisco and 1.57 for Juniper, so even with the growth element included, Cisco is more attractive.
It’s not that I wouldn’t prefer to own a smaller company trading at a higher multiple with less growth and no dividend, but the analysts tell me that Juniper is a growth stock and Cisco has become a value stock. Sarcasm aside, on a valuation basis – regardless of whether we choose to call Cisco a growth stock or a value stock – the networking juggernaut is a better value at current levels than its peers. On this consideration alone, Cisco is a buy.
Arguably the most important partnership that Cisco currently has in place to target future growth is the alliance it has forged with VMware. The two companies are collaborating on a variety of projects, but the software-defined data center is amongst the most critical. When the VMware CEO was recently interviewed in conjunction with his company’s acquisition of Nicira, he admitted that as the company looks to transition the network space from hardware-based to software-based, its relationship with Cisco would change. He went on to add,” Does it change our relationship with Cisco? Well, certainly, but we are reviewing this as a positive opportunity to create more partnerships with them.”
Not that one would expect a CEO that has forged a partnership with a 70% market share player like Cisco to come out and say he plans to run them into the ground, but the nature of the relationship itself suggests otherwise. The software-defined data center is being developed by a team that is funded by the two companies, but is being run independently. As the market shifts and acquisitions are made, the relationship will evolve, but Cisco’s close ties with VMware is a second reason to own the stock.
One drag this year on Cisco shares has been the negative press the company received over the end of its sales relationship with Chinese ZTE Corp. The probe, that dates back to the early part of this year, uncovered that the Chinese affiliate had sold Cisco made products inside Iran. The fallout has sparked investigations by the FBI and several Congressional committees charged with addressing security concerns. The relationship between the two companies is said to have been tense for some time, so this development may actually give the company a needed out to end the relationship. While Cisco is not reliant of this relationship, having your company name mentioned in the same sentence as “concerns over national security” can cast a pall over the stock. This cloud is dissipating, however, and this should serve as a third reason to buy Cisco.
Overall, Cisco presents investors with a myriad of reasons to own shares at current levels.
Foolish Bottom Line
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News from msnbc.msn.com
Follows investigation into sales to Iran
Cisco has reportedly cut ties with Chinese telecom vendor ZTE after allegations that ZTE sold Cisco gear to Iran.
In June, a Reuters story revealed that Cisco, HP and Oracle gear was being sold to an Iranian mobile operator despite U.S. government sanction on such sales. Cisco conducted an internal investigation into ZTE's practices and as a result, recently ended a longstanding relationship with the Chinese company, according to a Reuters story published this week.
The Cisco/ZTE situation comes amid a report due today from the U.S. House Intelligence Committee that states that equipment from ZTE and fellow Chinese telecom company Huawei pose a security threat to the U.S. The report, which follows a year-long investigation, recommends the U.S. block any attempts by ZTE and Huawei to make acquisitions or mergers in America, and encourages U.S. firms to procure equipment from other sources.
A ZTE spokesperson said of the Cisco action that the company is "highly concerned" and "communicating" with Cisco, according to Reuters. The spokesperson also said ZTE is cooperating with the U.S. government on its investigation into sales to Iran.
Cisco did not comment by the time this story was posted. But in June, Cisco said it "... complies with all U.S. export laws and requires our business partners to expressly acknowledge that they too must abide by these laws. Products such as these, which are not subject to individual export licenses, can be purchased from distributors and resold without Cisco's knowledge or control. We continue to investigate this matter, as any violation of U.S. export controls is a very serious matter."
According to this week's Reuters story, ZTE's general counsel at its Texas-based subsidiary alleged that the parent company plotted a cover-up of the sale of Cisco gear to Iran, including possibly shredding documents. The FBI has launched a criminal probe into the allegations, the news service reports.
ZTE has continued to do business in Iran while American-made technology has been subject to U.S. sanctions. A parts list dated July 2011 for an equipment contract between ZTE and an Iranian telecommunications company included several Cisco switches, Reuters reports. ZTE later agreed to sell five Cisco switches to another Iranian firm, according to the news service.
Cisco and ZTE partnered for the past seven years. Cisco viewed ZTE as a means to combat Huawei, which had been beating out Cisco in emerging markets by offering significantly cheaper products, according to Reuters.
But ZTE wanted to expand into the U.S. and Cisco did not want that, according to the Reuters report, which quoted "a former Cisco executive with knowledge of the matter."
Reference reading from---http://www.networkworld.com/news/2012/100812-cisco-zte-263143.html
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Get a load of our converged convergement
VMworld It looks like the vendors are sizing each other up for battle in the converged systems world at VMworld: NetApp and Cisco have announced ExpressPod, a pre-packed and tested and downsized FlexPod. Storage clustering has been added into the FlexPod mix and Oracle has announced an RAC/VMware FlexPod.
Just one day after Hitachi's converged UCP platform was announced, NetApp and Cisco have upped the converged systems' ante and moved downmarket with their ExpressPod as well as boosting existing FlexPods.
The ExpressPod is for small and medium business (SMB) and includes:
- Cisco UCS C-Series servers
- NetApp FAS20 or 2240 storage
- Cisco Nexus 3048 switches
- All with a choice of infrastructure management and hypervisor products.
NetApp ExpressPod at VMWorld Barcelona
The data centre-class FlexPod converged systems now support vSphere on ONTAP 8 cluster mode, meaning customers can simply add more NetApp storage to a FlexPod configuration to grow the storage pool size. The storage pool supports multi-tenancy and dynamic allocation, good for cloud service providers.
Clustering also supports non-disruptive migration of data from old to new arrays, data that could be hundreds of running virtual machines. This aids load-balancing, system maintenance and upgrades.
Oracle RAC databases can now run on VMware FlexPods, inheriting all the existing FlexPod goodness.
NetApp says that there are now in excess of 1,300 customers after just under two years of availability, plus more than 600 certified FlexPod partners who have access to a Cisco/NetApp help desk for system planning, design and implementation.
By moving down into the small and medium biz (SMB) space, NetApp and Cisco are encroaching into the existing SMB businesses of Dell, HP and IBM. We might expect that Hitachi and EMC will respond to NetApp with low-end branded converged system offerings of their own.
EMC's Eric Herzog, SVP for product management and marketing, says EMC is already present in the SMB converged system space with VSPEX, since it comes in a VNXe version.
One thought: by having converged systems dedicated to specific applications, such as the RAC FlexPod and HDS's UCP Select application-specific offerings we are seeing the introduction of converged system app execution stack silo systems. Whether this is a bad thing or not depends upon future needs for general purpose systems.
ExpressPods will be available from NetApp and Cisco partners in November.
---Original reading from http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/10/11/netapp_expresspod/
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Cisco CEO John Chambers had a very active week this week, making the rounds with the daily business press to address such topics as his retirement, rival HP and suggestions for the next President of the United States. His week ended with the disclosure that his compensation dropped 9% based on Cisco's stock price and its challenges in facing up to - and down - competition and the macro economy.
Early in the week, Chambers told Bloomberg reporters about his possible retirement plans in two to four years, and who might succeed him. The roster has 10 names attached to it, including Robert Lloyd, executive vice president of worldwide operations; Chuck Robbins, senior vice president of the Americas; and Edzard Overbeek, senior vice president of global services. And if he should get hit by a bus before he retires, Chambers says he would be replaced by COO Gary Moore.
As the week progressed, Chambers had some insights on the daunting task facing HP CEO Meg Whitman as she attempts to turn that company around after a flurry of CEO turnover and some badly managed multibillion dollar acquisitions. To Reuters, Chambers said: "There's not been a company ever turned around by the fifth CEO on the job," referring to the revolving door recently installed HP's corner office. He added that the Silicon Valley pioneer might have a hard time catching up to the rest of the industry in cloud and tablet computing. Huh? Cius anyone?
Later that day, Chambers told Reuters what he thinks the next president should do - take a page from the book of former President Bill Clinton. Chambers is a "strong Republican" and supporter of Mitt Romney, but said Clinton worked with businesses to generate jobs and growth in real income for families, while taking the budget from a deficit to a surplus.
"And when business got out of line, he smacked them," Chambers told Reuters, adding that Clinton was "the most effective president during my lifetime."
A day later, Chambers and Cisco bought ThinkSmart Technologies, an Irish developer of software for Wi-Fi location services. ThinkSmart's products will help enterprises and service providers gauge customer traffic in a variety of venues and then increase customer service representation based on that traffic.
Chambers then went back to Bloomberg to discuss Cisco's strategy and the need of the U.S. to overhaul its tax code.
For all of this activity and exposure, Chambers' week ended with a 9% cut in pay. He lost $1.2 million in compensation - from $12.9 million in Cisco's fiscal 2011 to $11.7 million in fiscal 2012 - due to growth concerns weighing down Cisco stock. Cisco shares fell 2% in fiscal 2012, which ended July 28.
--Original news from networkworld.com
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September 25, 2012, Cisco announced that it has been selected by NBN Co to provide equipment for its national data connectivity network. Established by the Australian federal government, NBN Co will design, build and operate Australia's wholesale-only, high-speed broadband network, the National Broadband Network (NBN).
After a competitive tender, Cisco was awarded the contract to supply Multi-Protocol Layer Switching on Cisco routers and firewalls to support NBN Co's National Connectivity Network (NCN) in a deal estimated to be worth up to $38 million over five years. The Cisco intelligent network technology will be deployed in NBN Co's depot, aggregation nodes and other key locations and will support the Operations Support System (OSS) and Business Support System (BSS) platforms, signalling and timing.
In particular, the NCN will play a key role in activating and assuring services as homes and businesses across Australia connect onto the NBN. Cisco will commence work on the five-year project immediately.
NBN Co's executive general manager of Network Architecture and Technology, Tony Cross, said: "We are pleased to extend our relationship with Cisco as a supplier of data centre infrastructure to include the supply of a high-performing, highly secure network foundation composed of switches, routers and firewalls to support our NCN."
"This equipment will enable communication between NBN Co's centralised operational staff and IT systems with the fibre, fixed wireless and satellite equipment situated at various locations across Australia. The remote control of this equipment, via the NCN, will allow new services to be activated and faults to be diagnosed and repaired quickly and efficiently across Australia," said Cross.
The win formally expands Cisco's role in the development of the NBN. In late 2010, a consortium led by Cisco was awarded the contract to provide NBN Co with a data centre platform. Together with its technology partners EMC and VMware, Cisco was commissioned to build a scalable platform to run essential applications, including network management, inventory management, customer care, billing, service provisioning and fulfilment systems, as well as a web portal to support customer self-service and the corporate website.
Sam Gerner, director of Service Provider and Cloud for Cisco Australia and New Zealand, said, "We are very pleased with the success of the data centre deployment at NBN Co to date. This has been an important project for both organisations and has enabled industry-leading data centre capabilities for NBN Co's significant scale and flexibility requirements. We are thrilled to be selected as preferred partner in the building of the NCN and we look forward to continuing our involvement with NBN Co on this exciting journey."
---Original Press Release from Cisco’s newsroom
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Cisco introduced a set of security solutions designed to protect data centers in the Middle East against the threats they face in moving toward more consolidated and virtualized environments, while also enabling businesses to take advantage of new cloud-based models. 70% of the world’s Internet traffic and 35% of the world’s email traffic flows through Cisco networks. This enables Cisco to gain intelligence from throughout the network to make more informed security decisions placing them in the best position to see and protect against threats before they affect customers’ networks.
Collectively, the new offerings extend data center and security professionals’ power to enforce end-to-end security for high-capacity data centers and mobile workforces. The offerings include new highly scalable software for the world’s most widely deployed firewall, the Cisco Adaptive Security Appliance (ASA) line; virtualized ASA for multi-tenant environments; data center-grade intrusion prevention system (IPS); as well as new improvements to the Cisco AnyConnect Secure Mobility Client to meet the stringent requirements of a more mobile and productive workforce.
The virtualization and cloud mega trend is forcing profound shifts within data centers, affecting everything from IT services to business models to architectures. According to recent Cisco reports:
Nearly 3000% increase in application traffic and network connections per second by 2015.
More than 50% of workloads in the data center will be virtualized by 2013.
An average of 3 X mobile devices are used on enterprise networks by employees.
Business leaders are embracing these trends, and using them to really grow their data center operations to the next level. If addressed properly, these trends offer business benefits such as reduced capital investments, new revenue growth and the greater efficiency, agility and scalability demanded by globalization.
With this announcement, Cisco is helping security to keep pace with the demands of changing high-performance virtual and cloud environments, as well as the demands of increased complexity, compliance and employees bringing their own devices to work, among other trends. As they grow to the next level, data centers have the following security requirements, to support their changing needs:
Scalable Security: The amount of data and transactions moving through most data centers requires ever-increasing levels of performance. Security must have the ability to scale to meet these seemingly insatiable performance requirements, while ensuring the highest levels of security.
Physical & Virtual: Modern-day data centers are no longer comprised solely of physical deployments. Instead, they are a mixture of physical, virtual, and cloud infrastructures – built to solve the business’ specific needs. Security policies must have the ability work consistently across hybrid environments.
Business Integration: While security is certainly important to data center administrators, it isn’t their only concern. They must also focus on maintaining business/IT alignment and avoiding chokepoints that can degrade performance and jeopardize their SLAs. Security needs to be an integral part of the network architecture, so that it can help maintain business/IT alignment, avoid performance chokepoints, and enable business flexibility.
Operating under the principle that security must be integrated across the network to ensure protection of unified data centers, Cisco believes network policies must be unified across physical and virtual worlds, intra-virtual machine communication should be secured, and access to applications by wired and mobile clients must be protected. This security approach has become imperative as customers look to make the migration to cloud and a more flexible device-agnostic corporate culture. Cisco’s latest product developments support such an approach.
The new security solutions announced today include:
ASA 9.0 Platform: Major update to the operating system.
Cisco ASA 1000V: Mainstream ASA technology optimized for virtual/cloud environments.
IPS 4500 Series: A new intrusion prevention system (IPS) built for data centers.
Cisco Security Manager 4.3: Cisco Security Manager (CSM) provides scalable, centralized management.
Cisco AnyConnect 3.1: Enables secure remote access to network resources.
Security Services: Professional and support services, from Cisco and its partners.
Mark Hosking, Data Center and Virtualization Lead for the Middle East:
“For enterprises to confidently seize the business benefits offered by data center virtualization and the cloud, security must be seen as the art of the possible, not as a hindrance. As with the rest of your network, we make consistent security a deployment decision that enables policies to work throughout hybrid environments—physical, virtual and cloud—and enables data center professionals to securely deliver IT-as-a-Service without impeding network performance.”
---Original reading from http://www.albawaba.com/business/pr/cisco-security-solutions-442453
Chinese telecom giant and increasingly important server player Huawei Technologies is moving from racks and blades into modular designs that use a mix of both approaches – and look very much like modular kit from Cisco Systems, IBM, and Hitachi, as well as the newer bladish iron from HP and Dell.
The likeness between the forthcoming Huawei servers and IBM and Hitachi machines announced back in April is enough to make you wonder if Huawei is actually manufacturing those companies' respective Flex System and Compute Blade 500 machines.
Huawei isn't – as far as we know – but as El Reg pointed out when Hitachi announced the CB500 machines, it sure does look like IBM and Hitachi are tag-teaming on manufacturing for modular systems. Possibly by using the same ODM to bend the metal and make the server node enclosures, perhaps?
The distinction between a blade and a modular system is a subtle one. With modular systems, server nodes are oriented horizontally in the chassis and are taller than a typical vertical blade is wide, allowing for hotter and taller processors as well as taller memory and peripheral cards than you can typically put in a skinny blade server.
The modular nodes can be half-width or full-width in the chassis and offer the same or slightly better compute density as a blade server in a similar-sized rack enclosure, and because of the extra room in the node, can accommodate GPU or x86 coprocessors as well. They are made for peripheral expansion and maximizing airflow around the nodes.
Modular systems generally have converged Ethernet networks for server and storage traffic, but also support an InfiniBand alternative to Ethernet for server networks and Fibre Channel for storage networks, just as do blade servers. Modular systems also tend to have integrated systems management that spans multiple compute node enclosures and are geared for virtualized server clouds. It's not a huge difference, when you get right down to it.
What is most important about modular systems, in this evolving definition, is that they look like – and compete with – the "California" Unified Computing System machines that Cisco put into the field three years ago when it broke into the server racket.
Cisco's business has been nearly doubling for the past two years and is bucking the slowdown big-time in serverland. Cisco is defining the look of the modern blade server and eating market share. Huawei wants to pull the same California maneuver, peddling its own servers to its installed base of networking and telecom gear customers and driving out the server incumbents.
Huawei lifted the veil on the Tecal E9000 modular machines at the Huawei Cloud Congress show recently in Shanghai, and says that the boxes won't actually ship until the first quarter of next year – Huawei is clearly not in any kind of a big hurry to get its Cisco-alike boxes out the door.
The Tecal E9000 is based on a 12U chassis that can support either eight full-width nodes or sixteen half-width nodes. The chassis has 95 per cent efficient power supplies, and a total of six supplies can go into the enclosure with redundant spares, rated at 3,000 watts a pop AC and 2,500 watts a pop DC.
The chassis and server nodes have enough airflow that they can operate at 40°C (104°F) without additional water blocks or other cooling mechanisms on the chassis or the rack. This is the big difference with modular designs, and one that was not possible with traditional blades. Blade enclosures ran hot because they were the wrong shape, and the fact that by simply reorienting the parts you can get the machines to have the same computing capacity in the same form factor just goes to show you that the world still need engineers.
The Tecal E9000 server nodes are all based on Intel's Xeon E5-2600 or E5-4600 processors, which span two or four processor sockets in a single system image, respectively. There are a couple server node variants to give customers flexibility on memory and peripheral expansion. The nodes and the chassis are NEBS Level 3 certified (which means they can be deployed in telco networks) and also meet the European Telecommunications Standards Institute's acoustic noise standards (which means workers won't go deaf working on switching gear).
The Tecal CH121 server node
The CH121 is a single-width server node with two sockets that can be plugged with any of the Xeon E5-2600 series processors, whether they have four, six, or eight cores per socket. Each socket has a dozen DDR3 memory slots for a maximum capacity of 768GB across the two sockets using fat (and crazy expensive) 32GB memory sticks.
The node has two 2.5-inch disk bays, which can be jammed with SATA or SAS disk drives or solid state disks if you want lots of local I/O bandwidth but not as much capacity for storage on the nodes. The on-node disk controller supports RAID 0, 1, and 10 data protection on the pair of drives.
The CH121 machine has one full-height-half-length PCI-Express 3.0 x16 expansion card and two PCI-Express 3.0 x16 mezzanine cards that plug the server node into the midplane and then out to either top-of-rack switches through a pass-through module or to integrated switches in the E9000 enclosure.
The CH221 takes the same server and makes it a double-wide node, which gives it enough room to add six PCI-Express peripheral slots. That's two x16 slots in full-height, full-length form factors plus four x8 slots with full-height, half-length dimensions.
The double-wide Tecal CH221 server node
A modified version of this node, called the CH222, uses the extra node's worth of space for disk storage instead of PCI-Express peripherals. The node has room for the same two front-plugged 2.5-inch drives plus another thirteen 2.5-inch bays for SAS or SATA disks or solid state drives if you want to get all flashy. These hang off the two E5-2600 processors, and the node is upgraded with a RAID disk controller that has 512MB of cache memory and supports RAID 0, 1, 10, 5, 50, 6, and 60 protection algorithms across the drives. This units steps back to one PCI-Express x16 slot and two x16 mezz cards into the backplane.
If you want more processing to be aggregated together in an SMP node, then Huawei is happy to sell you the CH240 node, a four-socket box based on the Xeon E5-4600. Like other machines in this class from other vendors, the CH240 has 48 memory slots, and that taps out at 1.5TB of memory using those fat 32GB memory sticks. The CH240 supports all of the different SKUs of Intel's Xeon E5-4600 chips, which includes processors with four, six, or eight cores.
The Tecal CH240 four-socketeer
The CH240 does not double-up on the system I/O even as it does double-up the processing and memory capacity compared to the CH221. It has the two PCI-Express x16 mezzanine cards to link into the midplane and then out to switches, but no other peripheral expansion beyond that in the base configuration.
This is a compute engine in and of itself, designed predominantly as a database, email, or server virtualization monster. It supports the same RAID disk controller used in the CH221, but because of all that memory crammed into the server node, there's only enough room for eight 2.5-inch bays for disks or SSDs in the front. If you want to sacrifice some local storage, you can put in a PCI-Express riser card, which lets you put one full-height, 3/4ths length x16 peripheral card into the CH240.
All of the machines are currently certified to run Windows Server 2008 R2, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6, and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11, and presumably will be ready to run the new Windows Server 2012 when they start shipping early next year.
VMware's ESXi 5.X hypervisor and Citrix Systems' XenServer 6 hypervisor as well, and again, presumably Hyper-V 3.0 will get certified on the box at some point and maybe even Red Hat's KVM hypervisor as well. There is no technical reason to believe that the server nodes can't run any modern release of any of the popular x86 hypervisors, but there's always a question of driver testing and certification.
The CX series of switch modules for the E9000 enclosure
On the switch front, Huawei is sticking with three different switch modules, which slide into the back of the E9000 chassis and provide networking to the outside world. The CX110, on the right in the above image, has 32 Gigabit Ethernet ports downstream into the server midplane and out to the PCI-Express mezz cards, which is two per node. The CX110 switch module has a dozen Gigabit and four 10GbE uplinks to talk to aggregation switches in the network.
The CX311 switch module takes the networking up another notch, with 32 10GbE downstream ports and sixteen 10GbE uplinks. This switch also has an expansion slot that can have an additional eight 10GbE ports or eight 8Gb/sec Fibre Channel switch ports linking out to storage arrays.
Huawei also has a QDR/FDR InfiniBand switch model with sixteen downstream ports and eighteen upstream ports, which can run at either 40Gb/sec or 56Gb/sec speeds.
The current midplane in the E9000 chassis is rated at 5.6Tbit/sec of aggregate switching bandwidth across its four networking switch slots, which can be used to drive Ethernet or InfiniBand traffic (depending on the switch module you choose).
Here's the important thing: the Tecal E9000 midplane will have an upgrade option that will allow it to push that enclosure midplane bandwidth up to 14.4Tb/sec, allowing it to push Ethernet at 40 and 100 Gigabit speeds and next-generation InfiniBand EDR, which will run at 100Gb/sec; 16Gb/sec and 32Gb/sec Fibre Channel will also be supported after the midplane is upgraded. It is not clear when this upgraded midplane will debut.
Pricing on all of this Tecal E9000 gear has not been set yet, according to Huawei.
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After four years of hard work it’s time to celebrate – the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games are finally here. But for Cisco, and the athletes, challenges still lie ahead…
As the London 2012 procession makes its final push to Stratford, the country is full of anticipation and excitement.
The London 2012 Festival has transformed our streets with music, events and performances building up to tomorrow’s Opening Ceremony.
Yet for the athletes at the heart of the Games, such as Gold medalist Tim Brabants, this is a time to remain calm and focused. Tim’s most critical work begins when the starting gun is fired. And with potentially 8 billion collective eyes watching every stroke of his kayak paddle in full HD, now is not the time to lose concentration.
Tim is not alone in being ready for this moment. Cisco–the Official Network Infrastructure Provider for London 2012 has been working hard behind the scenes to deliver the cutting- edge infrastructure needed to make sure the Games run without a hitch. For example, they will seamlessly connect nearly 100 different locations across the UK into one virtual Games venue while managing the network traffic of 200,000 visitors and media personnel via 1,800 wireless access points. Like Tim, Cisco faces a monumental task that leaves no room for error. Fortunately they are just as prepared.
For Cisco, getting it right first time is imperative to the success of the Games.
So while the world’s most famous Olympians take centre stage, behind the scenes a much less celebrated, yet vital, team will ensure that spectators around the world enjoy and share what’s set to be the most connected Games ever.
Cisco’s philosophy “Built for the Human Network” could have been made for this moment. They believe technology shouldn’t define what we do, but provide the backdrop that makes human excellence possible.
Combined with a track record that includes the Beijing 2008 Games and FIFA World Cup 2010 – as well as working with top Fortune 500 Companies, telecoms and utility providers – Cisco has the experience and passion necessary to embrace their biggest challenge yet.
To start, they helped build the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (Locog) from scratch.
Working with their fellow technology partners, Cisco, helped to develop Locog’s conferencing and collaboration software. Starting with just two employees working on the Games in 2009, Cisco now has upwards of 80 employees and volunteers all dedicated to the smooth running of Locog and London 2012.
Four years on, Cisco has succeeded in creating one of the most robust, secure and available network infrastructures the world has ever seen. The stadia, venues and infrastructure built around the Olympic Park are second to none and Cisco’s borderless network infrastructure will connect it all together.
“The IT systems for London 2012 will process 30 per cent more information than any other Games in history and Cisco networking is at the heart of it,”says Neil Crockett, managing director for London 2012 at Cisco Systems With a huge increase in network traffic from previous Olympic Games, Cisco is braced to provide recordbreaking amounts of data, video and voice via a fully converged IP network for the very first time ever. With 1,800 wireless access points, 16,500 IP telephones, 65,000 active connections and 80,000 data ports they are fully prepared for the network demands of the 11 million reporters, fans, athletes and staff descending upon London this summer.
The network infrastructure will not only cope with staggering amounts of data, but will also be responsible for connecting nearly 100 locations – including 36 competition venues, 20 further venues such as the Olympic Village and operations centre, and around 50 other spectator and athlete sites including transport hubs, training grounds and ticketing booths.
A mission-critical network infrastructure also requires round-theclock technical support. Cisco is ready to provide rapid-response expert assistance and support to their fellow technology partners in their roles, to ensure successful delivery of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. What’s more, they are upping their support to their non-Olympic customers, helping them keep their businesses running as usual during this busy time.
In 2008 Tim Brabants took Britian’s first ever kayaking Gold – but no one witnessed his historic victory live on a tablet device. Unsurprisingly, technology has changed a lot since Beijing.
High Definition has become virtually synonymous with sports broadcasting, and smart phones have worked their way into our psyches, becoming indispensable to our lives.
Part of Cisco’s challenge was anticipating how technology would evolve over four years, while developing infrastructure to cope with future innovations.
Cisco has created network infrastructure to meet new consumer demands – such as watching the Games in full HD, or relying on quick and secure network connections.
Cisco Games face brings a human touch to Cisco’s offering. Visitors to the Cisco Cloud in Stratford can upload their favourite photos of the Games in order to create a 3D artwork commemorating their unique experience of London 2012. Londoners aren’t the only ones who can join in the fun – the application is also available online for fans nationwide.
Looking beyond tomorrow
With technology continually evolving, and sustainability and urban regeneration high on the agenda, Cisco needed vision to create a network infrastructure that would take the 2012 Games, London and the UK into the future.
The British Innovation Gateway (BIG) is the start of Cisco’s five-year effort to drive economic growth through high-tech innovation. Launched in January 2011 by David Cameron and global CEO John Chambers it will repurpose the infrastructure of London 2012 to foster entrepreneurship and enable small and medium high-tech businesses in a sustainable and scalable way.
“I welcome this major statement of support from Cisco,” says David Cameron. “This will help create many new jobs and opportunities, and support our drive to diversify our economy and generate sus tainabl e economic growth.”
Cisco’s network infrastructure will also connect research clusters, higher education establishments and science parks all over the country. They will continue to support STEM initiatives in schools, inspiring young people to study maths and sciences. By encouraging collaborations and innovation in this crucial area of the economy, Cisco will continue to have a hand in London’s 2012 legacy for years to come.
Over the final hurdle
Coordinating the network infrastructure for an event equivalent to 46 World Championships is no small accomplishment – but Cisco is not resting on its laurels. Their staff will continue to work around the clock throughout the Games to make sure the hard work dedicated to this Herculean effort results in a personal success worthy of Gold.
“Preparation is very, very key to ultimate performance,” says Tim Brabant as he looks forward to his own challenge at Eton Dorney. It’s a sentiment perfectly echoed by Cisco over the past four years. And now everything is finally in place – the network infrastructure tested to the limits.
They’ve completed two extensive technical rehearsals.
They’ve run over 200,000 hours of testing. They’ve passed the final sign off from the London 2012 Organising Committee.
Now let’s see what Cisco, and Great Britain, can do.
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We caught up with tech-industry analyst Zeus Kerravala for feedback on Cisco's acquisition of Virtuata. He believes Virtuata fits in well with Cisco's overall acquisition strategy, which inks big deals and small deals when necessary to fill out its portfolio. In fact, Cisco has acquired five companies this year, four of them focused on the data center and networking.
Cisco quietly acquired a privately held company that has been developing capabilities for securing virtual and cloud environments. Cisco did not disclose the financial terms of the deal.
Virtuata secures machine level information in data centers and cloud environments. Together, Cisco and Virtuata will enable consistent and enhanced security for virtual machines allowing customers to accelerate the deployment of multi-tenant, multi-hypervisor cloud infrastructures, according to Hilton Romanski, a vice president and head of Cisco's Corporate Business Development.
Filling Out UCS
"Cloud and virtualization are significant disrupters in the market. When customers move to these environments, security concerns arise where infrastructure is shared across multiple applications, business units or even organizations," Romanski said.
"As more and more business applications move to virtualized platforms, security and isolation become necessary conditions at the virtual machine level. This acquisition is highly complementary to Cisco's vision of a unified data center that securely connects people and businesses with applications and data through virtual and cloud environments."
Cisco is acquiring both the technology and the talent that makes up Virtuata. The company said the combination offers a unique infrastructure expertise in virtualization, cloud and security domains to Cisco's data center and cloud product portfolio, including its Unified Computing System (UCS) and Nexus-based Unified Fabric portfolio.
Cisco's UCS is a converged data center platform that delivers programmable infrastructure in bare-metal, virtualized and cloud computing environments. The system integrates Cisco servers and network and I/O resources into one system.
The Right Security Move
"The Virtuata acquisition reinforces Cisco's build, buy, partner innovation framework and supports our strategy of providing best-in-class solutions for our customers," Romanski said. "It is well-aligned to our strategic goals to develop innovative virtualization, cloud and security technologies, while also cultivating top talent."
We caught up with Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst at ZK Research, to get his take on the small acquisition. He told us Virtuata fits in well with Cisco's overall acquisition strategy, which inks big deals and small deals when necessary to fill out its portfolio. Cisco has acquired five companies this year. Four of them have been focused on the data center and networking.
"This fits squarely into the cloud and data center space, which has been a big focus for Cisco. That's the area of IT that's been the most opportunistic right now because you've got this coming together of compute, storage and networking gear. Almost all vendors in that space, be it Dell, HP or Cisco, are fighting for more and more footprint," Kerravala said.
"With security being by far the biggest inhibitor to broader cloud adoption, this is probably the right move for Cisco to make. I think Virtuata is a good addition to its cloud portfolio. It makes a lot of sense for them."
---Original news reading sci-tech-today.com
The cloud service, which among other things allows users of some Wi-Fi home routers to manage their devices from away from home, went live last week and was included in an automatic firmware update to those routers. That brought a flood of complaints to online forums about both the firmware update and the privacy document, which said Cisco might track and share information about customers' Internet use and other data.
"We removed content that could have been misinterpreted as being inconsistent with Cisco's privacy statement based on a selective analysis," Cisco said in a statement.
"In a nutshell, this was just a mistake," Cisco spokesman David McCulloch said.
Some users of the Linksys EA3500 and EA4500 routers wrote on online forums last week that Cisco apparently had updated the firmware on their routers automatically without their consent. The new firmware prompted them to start managing their routers through the Cisco Connect Cloud service, which administers a router over the Internet instead of directly over the wireless LAN. Some users said they weren't able to keep managing their routers locally except through a limited interface that lacked features they were used to.
The updated privacy supplement for the cloud service says, "Cisco may collect and store detailed information regarding your network configuration and usage for the purpose of providing you technical networking support." It says that data will be associated with the customer only when he or she provides an ID number, randomly generated and under the user's control, to the support representative.
An administrator on the Cisco Home Community forum subsequently posted a link to instructions for downgrading the routers' firmware and opting out of future automatic upgrades.
But Cisco also responded to the complaints with a dedicated post to its official blog on Friday.
"Cisco Connect Cloud was delivered only to consumers who opted in to automatic updates. However, we apologize that the opt-out process for Cisco Connect Cloud and automatic updates was not more clear in this product release, and we are developing an updated version that will improve this process," Cisco Home Networking Vice President and General Manager Brett Wingo wrote in the blog post. The post directed customers who wanted to return to the traditional Linksys management software to call the Linksys customer support line.
Linksys is a brand used on products from Cisco's Home Networking Business Unit.
---Reading resource from pcworld.com
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