Category Archives: Cisco

Hitachi Vantara and Cisco unveil next-gen Hybrid Cloud Managed Services

Hitachi Vantara, the data storage, infrastructure, and hybrid cloud management subsidiary of Hitachi, has announced the next evolution of its partnership with Cisco, introducing an innovative suite of hybrid cloud services designed to address ongoing data management challenges faced by modern enterprises. The joint offering, Hitachi EverFlex with Cisco Powered Hybrid Cloud, is unique because… Read more »

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HCLTech and Cisco create collaborative hybrid workplaces

Digital comms specialist Cisco and global tech firm HCLTech have teamed up to launch Meeting-Rooms-as-a-Service (MRaaS). Available on a subscription model, this solution modernises legacy meeting rooms and enables users to join meetings from any meeting solution provider using Webex devices. The MRaaS solution helps enterprises simplify the design, implementation and maintenance of integrated meeting… Read more »

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Cohesity expands partnerships with Cisco and HPE to grow cloud services

Cohesity, a specialist in data security and management, has revealed Cisco and Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) will each be offering Cohesity Cloud Services (CCS) to bring efficient data security and management to companies operating in today’s modern hybrid and multicloud environments.  Cohesity has benefited from strategic partnerships with Cisco and HPE to help deliver the benefits of… Read more »

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Cisco updates aim to simplify networking and securely connect the world

Cisco has unveiled its vision for Cisco Networking Cloud, an integrated management platform experience for both on-prem and cloud operating models. Building a Better Future for Cisco Customers and PartnersManaging networks in today’s era of connecting everyone, everywhere is hard. According to Cisco’s State of Global Innovation report, 85% of IT professionals indicate they value… Read more »

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ThousandEyes launches new EU Cloud Region to serve European customer growth

Cisco ThousandEyes has expanded its global presence with the launch of a new EU Cloud Region. Ready for operation immediately, the new EU Cloud Region, hosted on an AWS-based data centre in Frankfurt, Germany, will serve the company’s growing base of customers using ThousandEyes’ cloud and Internet intelligence technology in the European Union (EU) and… Read more »

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Technical Trainer Leverages Parallels Toolbox to Optimize Presentations

Parallels® Toolbox is helping users find new ways to increase productivity – especially if you need to optimize presentations! Recently released, Parallels Toolbox empowers users with more than 30 easy-to-use, one-click tools, all packaged within a simple interface for both Mac® and PC. This must-have, all-in-one application has helped Sean Bugler, a technical trainer, simplify […]

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Cisco Live 2017: Kinetic Launch, ACI Updates, & More!

Cisco Live 2017

GreenPages Solutions Architect, Kevin Dresser, recently attended Cisco Live 2017 in Las Vegas. Here are his hightlights and thoughts from the conference:

I arrived a day early to Cisco Live to attend a technical seminar on Cisco’s Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) which is their software-defined-networking solution for the Nexus Data Center platform.  ACI has been out for over two years, however, this year’s conference had a great deal of emphasis on the fundamentals of ACI and taking these beyond just the data center.  The theme this year was “The Network.  Intuitive.” and just a week prior to CiscoLive was a major announcement of intent-based networking solutions under the Cisco Digital Network Architecture (DNA) portfolio.

The graphic below shows the core ACI fundamentals that tie together the analysis services, the defining of network functions and the provisioning and configuration of devices.

ACI Fundamentals

The opening keynote highlighted three core challenges that Cisco’s vision is now focused on:  Scale, Complexity, and Security.  Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins stated that “in 2020, as many as 1 million new connections will be added to the internet every hour”.  The reality of this type of continuous growth of connected devices is where reducing complexity becomes a necessity.  And as that network footprint grows, so does the threat surface.  The emphasis on security was paramount and needs to be built into everything.  The messaging from Cisco around this new era of networking is that their intuitive network, “powered by intent and informed by context”, will provide a secure, intelligent and adaptable platform.  At the core of this intuitive network is the vast amount of data points that are available from these network connected devices.  Last year’s Tetration and AppDynamics acquisitions are now integrated into the network to bring analytics to the DNA portfolio and leverage the huge amounts of data points that are available from these network connected devices.  One example of how this will work is “Encrypted Traffic Analytics” which will look at network traffic and perform packet analytics that can accurately detect threats in encrypted traffic with more than 99 percent accuracy.  ETA will accomplish this by looking at packet meta data and flow dynamics without needing to decrypt the data which has always been a resource intensive bottleneck.  Another major benefit of network data analytics is in the information learned about the network to help significantly reduce the time administrators spend on problem identification, troubleshooting, and resolution. 

One last item to mention regarding the keynote was the announcement of the Cisco Security Connector for iOS.  Apple CEO Tim Cook joined the stage with Chuck Robbins to discuss the Cisco/Apple partnership and how they are committed to enterprise network security.  The Security Connector for iOS app will deliver visibility, control, and privacy to enterprise owned iOS devices and use existing solutions like Umbrella to prevent access to malicious sites whether on the corporate network, public wifi or cellular data connections.

Here’s a summary of some of the new products and solutions:

DNA Center 

The DNA Center is a management dashboard and command center for all network functions.  This is where Scale and Complexity are addressed by eliminating the need to configure individual devices through the traditional CLI.  Auto provisioning and policy definitions are all centrally managed through the DNA Center.

Data Analytics and Assurance 

The analytics and assurance platform continuously collects data from NetFlow, SNMP and Syslog sources to monitor device, user and application performance.  The analytics and correlation of data help reduce troubleshooting time determining root cause and remediation of issues.  Network traffic patterns and trends are also identified to help proactively plan changes before performance issues impact users.

Catalyst 9000 Switching 

The new Catalyst 9300, 9400 and 9500 switches come with custom built ASICs that are programmable, enabling software developers to leverage network resources to optimize their applications.  The Catalyst 9000 is the ACI solution to the Enterprise as the Nexus 9000 is to the Data Center.

Software-Defined Access 

SD-Access will bring SDN to the Enterprise access layer.  Segmentation policies for users, devices, and applications will provide greater security to the access network devices.  Identity Services Engine will ensure user and device security policies are enforced as they move between wired and wireless connections.  The DNA Center will provide auto-provisioning and management through the centralized UI and will tap into the network analytics platform for performance monitoring, management, and troubleshooting.

The following hardware platforms are supported for SD-Access:

Switches:  Catalyst 9300, 9400, 9500, 3650, 3850, 4500E, 6500, 6800 and Nexus 7000

Routers:  4000 ISR and 1000 ASR

Wireless:  3800, 2800, 1850, 1830 and 1815 APs; 8540, 5520 and 3504 Controllers

Encrypted Traffic Analytics – 

Although not available until Fall 2017, Encrypted Traffic Analytics can accurately detect threats in encrypted traffic without needing to decrypt the data.  The technology uses NetFlow and Stealthwatch to feed packet flow dynamics and meta data flow analysis to pick out threats with 99.9% accuracy.

Threat Intelligence Director on Firepower 

The Threat Intelligence Director will be available on the FMC in Fall 2017 to enable 3rd party threat intelligence feeds beyond the current Talos services.  

Jasper Control Center 7 – 

The Jasper service provides real-time control and visibility of IoT deployments using cellular data connections.  New features include improved reporting, integration with other Cisco products such as Spark and Umbrella as well as an analytics package. 

Cisco Kinetic – 

Kinetic is another IoT tool that compliments Jasper by working with wifi and wired endpoints and runs on the new Catalyst 9000 switches.

My takeaway from this year’s Cisco Live conference is that Cisco has really turned a corner on their movement towards providing software solutions for the network.  Most significant is how they are integrating the analytics, automation and security solutions across many different network platforms.  Changes are coming in the way we design, implement and support networks. 

By Kevin Dresser, Solutions Architect

Cisco cracks open wallet for $293m CloudLock acquisition

Cisco corporateCisco has announced its intent to acquire cloud security company CloudLock in a $293 million deal which is expected to close in Q1 2017, writes

CloudLock specializes in cloud access security broker (CASB) technology which provides insight and analytics focused on user behaviour and sensitive data in the cloud. The move builds on Cisco’s ‘Security Everywhere’ strategy, its initiative designed to provide protection from the cloud to the network to the endpoint.

“As companies are migrating to the cloud, they need a technology partner that can accelerate that transition and deliver critical security capabilities for all their users, apps and data in a seamless way,” said Rob Salvagno, VP of Cisco Corporate Development. “CloudLock brings a unique cloud-native, platform and API-based approach to cloud security which allows them to build powerful security solutions that are easy to deploy and simple to manage.”

CASB technology is an aspect of cloud security which has caught the attention of a number of decision makers in recent months. When we spoke to Intel Security CTO Raj Samani earlier this month, he told us CASB solutions were set to be one of the largest talking points for the cloud security market segment in the next couple of years.

“Companies will find controls and measures to give them a level of trust in a vendor to ensure they can operate effectively,” said Samani at the time. “CASBs will be one of the biggest trends we’ll see in the next couple of years.”

“CASB is the ultimate business case, because you can do things faster and more efficiently – you can actually but an ROI and a TCO next to it.”

The purpose of CASB solutions is to sit between the cloud provider and cloud consumer to consolidate multiple types of security policies including authentication, single sign-on, encryption, tokenization and malware detection. The CASB solution offers a level of assurance for those customers who have concerns over the security provided by cloud providers themselves, as the concept of secure and risk with vary dependent on the company.

By integrating CASB solutions, a cloud consumer can dictate how many additional layers of security are placed on top of a cloud provider’s offering, to allow the cloud consumer to define their own risk profile. The concept of CASB on the whole could go some way to mitigate the security concerns for those companies who have not currently adopted the cloud for more sensitive workloads.

Aside from this acquisition, Citrix has been bolstering its security capabilities through additional purchases, including Lancope for $452.5 million last December. Lancope helps customers monitor, detect, analyse and respond to modern threats on enterprise networks through continuous network visibility and threat analysis.

Citrix is one of a number of tech giants who have been forced to reconsider their primary focus, as cloud computing continued to increase its grip on IT decision making. During the company’s most recent earnings call, IoT was outlined as a target growth segment, though the security business unit was prominent during the financials, growing 17% year-on-year.

Microsoft, HPE and Cisco take top-spot for infrastructure vendors

male and female during the run of the marathon raceMicrosoft, HPE and Cisco have been named as three of the leading names in the cloud industry by Synergy Research as the firm wraps up the winners and losers for the first quarter.

While the cloud infrastructure market has been growing consistently at an average rate of 20% year-on-year, 2016 Q1 was estimated at 13%, though this was to be expected following peak sales during the latter stages of 2015. Microsoft led the way for cloud infrastructure software, whereas HPE led the private cloud hardware market segment, and Cisco led the public cloud hardware segment.

“With spend on cloud services growing by over 50% per year and spend on SaaS growing by over 30%, there is little surprise that cloud operator capex continues to drive strong growth in public cloud infrastructure,” said Jeremy Duke, Synergy Research Group’s Chief Analyst. “But on the enterprise data centre side too we continue to see a big swing towards spend on private cloud infrastructure as companies seek to benefit from more flexible and agile IT technology. The transition to cloud still has a long way to go.”

For the last eight quarters total spend on data centre infrastructure has been running at an average of $29 billion, with HPE controlling the largest share of cloud infrastructure hardware and software over the course of 2015. Cloud deployments or shipments of systems that are cloud enabled now account for well over half of the total data centre infrastructure market.

cloud leaders

IBM and Cisco combine to deliver IoT insight on the network edge

Oil and gas platform in the gulf or the sea, The world energy, OIBM and Cisco have extended a long-standing partnership to enable real-time IoT analytics and insight at the point of data collection.

The partnership will focus on combining the cognitive computing capabilities of IBM’s Watson with Cisco’s analytics competencies to support data action and insight at the point of collection. The team are targeting companies who operate in remote environments or on the network edge, for example oil rigs, where time is of the essence but access to the network can be limited or disruptive.

The long promise of IoT has been to increase the amount of data organizations can collect, which once analysed can be used to gain a greater understanding of a customer, environment or asset. Cloud computing offers organizations an opportunity to realize the potential of real-time insight, but for those with remote assets where access to high bandwidth connectivity is not a given, the promise has always been out of reach.

“The way we experience and interact with the physical world is being transformed by the power of cloud computing and the Internet of Things,” said Harriet Green, GM for IBM Watson IoT Commerce & Education. “For an oil rig in a remote location or a factory where critical decisions have to be taken immediately, uploading all data to the cloud is not always the best option.

“By coming together, IBM and Cisco are taking these powerful IoT technologies the last mile, extending Watson IoT from the cloud to the edge of computer networks, helping to make these strong analytics capabilities available virtually everywhere, always.”

IoT insight at the point of collection has been an area of interest to enterprise for a number of reasons. Firstly, by decreasing the quantity of data which has to be moved transmission costs and latency are reduced and the quality of service is improved. Secondly, the bottleneck of traffic at the network core can potentially be removed, reducing the likelihood of failure. And finally, the ability to virtualize on the network edge can extend the scalability of an organization.

ABI Research has estimated 90% of data which is collected through IoT connected devices are stored or processed locally, making it inaccessible for real-time analytics, therefore it must be transferred to another location for analysis. As the number of these devices increases, the quantity of data which must be transferred to another location, stored and analysed also increases. The cost of data transmission and storage could soon prohibit some organizations from achieving the goal of IoT. The new team are hoping the combination of Cisco’s edge analytics capabilities and the Watson cognitive solutions will enable real-time analysis at the scene, thus removing a number of the challenges faced.

“Together, Cisco and IBM are positioned to help organizations make real-time informed decisions based on business-critical data that was often previously undetected and overlooked,” said Mala Anand, SVP of the Cisco Data & Analytics Platforms Group. “With the vast amount of data being created at the edge of the network, using existing Cisco infrastructure to perform streaming analytics is the perfect way to cost-effectively obtain real-time insights. Our powerful technology provides customers with the flexibility to combine this edge processing with the cognitive computing power of the IBM Watson IoT Platform.”