The Zeitgeist of Internet-Connected Things

zeitgeist

The Consumer Electronics Show was in Las Vegas a couple weeks ago, and product announcements were steadily trickling out. It comes as no surprise that an entire slew of new smartphones, tablets, and laptops has been announced, but a growing trend is all the other intelligent, Wi-Fi connected devices being announced, such as Parrott’s Flower Power potted plant sensor or Canon’s PowerShot point-and-shoot camera.

Without a doubt, 2013 is the year of the network connected device, prompting Cisco to coin the term “Internet of Everything.” [Read more…]

10 Critical Things You Need To Know About A UC Deployment

top ten UC considerations

Softchoice Solutions Architect Matthew Bynum reveals his top ten considerations for any organization considering a unified communications (UC) deployment. 

#10. Understand why

All too often, the driver behind IT change is as simple as “our existing gear is old,” or “we can’t get support on it anymore.” Make sure you can articulate the actual reasons why you are looking at a change to your communications technology. This will go a long way in winning people over internally and figuring out the right solution for you.

#9. Match technology to a need – not vice versa

Once you identify the reasons for the change, make sure the technology and vendor you choose align with your business drivers. This seems like a no-brainer, but often vendors are chosen because of political pressures or misconstrued financial benefits, and not because the actual needs of the business demand X, Y, or Z functionality. An agnostic assessment that clearly maps out where you are today, where you’re looking to go can provide the objectivity you need to make the right decision, the right architecture and the right implementation plan. [Read more…]

Optimize the management of network resources

Containing virtual sprawl by optimizing management of network resources.

As environments being more and more virtualized, the cost of computing goes down, efficiency, uptime and productivity increase and application performance is optimized. But, as with any major technology shift or revolution such as this, there are bumps in the road. That’s certainly true in the evolving data center. More flexible and scalable environments are being formed, to be sure, but there are a ton of challenges – adequately managing network resources for systems that were supposed to make our lives easier, for instance.

Why did this become a challenge? While the number of physical servers and related parts were being reduced, a potential new enemy was created: sprawl in the number of virtual machines – potentially hundreds of thousands of them. And with that sprawl, increased time and difficulty in provisioning virtual storage pools and virtual network resources. 

If you’re a network engineer or data center manager, you need to make sure business-critical processes are working properly – after all, you don’t have a lot of time to spend cataloging everything on the network. It’s not uncommon for me these days to have a conversation with overworked IT folks asking how they’re managing IP addresses – something that would normally be static and, in the past, could be done manually in a notebook or spreadsheet but which today simply doesn’t scale in this new virtual frontier. What’s needed are provisioning tools that can [Read more…]

It’s time for a little housekeeping on the data center floor.

What’s Unified Fabric Networking technologies?

 As the number of data, applications and servers in data centers have increased, so have corresponding storage and networks. Couple this with an increasing appetite for Virtualization and networking seems to have been a bit forgotten.  As organizations look to condense platforms and applications the demand on networking and storage connectivity continues to increase.  Most organizations have separate fabrics, and redundant networking switches, for their IP data and SAN connectivity.  This adds additional complexity and equipment in the environment that has to be managed, monitored and controlled.

 The place has gotten crowded to put it mildly and it’s reduced the flexibility of organizations to adapt to changing business needs – like getting onboard the cloud.

 One answer to this housekeeping challenge has been a new standard called Data Center Bridging (DCBx), which collapses IP and Storage networks (regardless or protocol) down to a single common network infrastructure and unifies all these disparate networking fabrics – eliminating a lot of switches, cables and more.

 This converged infrastructure – or Unified Fabric Networking as it’s often called – is really about unifying the fabrics of connectivity on the data center floor so that as much as possible works through one single wire. Now you’re able to provision any connectivity you want across that wire. No longer do you have to bring down a machine and recable or bring in more switches. It can all be done elastically and dynamically. [Read more…]

Leaving the dirt road network behind

There was a time, back in the horse and buggy days or even the early days of automobiles, where dirt roads were just fine. They could be a little dusty or muddy at times but they fit the technology requirements well enough. They did the job. But once technology improved, once heavier cars and particularly trucks – like 18-wheelers for instance – started making their way onto our transportation infrastructure, that infrastructure had to catch up. We needed asphalt roads, interstate highways, stronger bridges, a transportation network that could get us where we wanted to go more quickly and securely.

That’s a little bit like where you are right now on your enterprise’s journey to the cloud. No, you won’t need some fancy Star Trek transporter device to get you up there – at least not yet. You simply need a network infrastructure that offers better bandwidth and throughput, one that does a better job of [Read more…]