Tag Archive | cisco

The Internet of Things (IOT) – “make it real or stop trying to make it at all”.

The current next big thing, the Internet of Things (IOT) or “Internet of Everything” could easily be relegated to the “hype” or more damningly the “spam” folder of your mental inbox.

It is currently one of the hot topics driving the dialogue of industry analysts & business thought leaders as they strive to unlock the potential of the abundance of digital sensors and IP connected devices now pervasive in the modern world. In enterprise “systems rich” organisations, it’s fairly straightforward to understand the importance of the IP connected elements that underpin both personal and professional activities. However, the Internet of Things ideology captivating the imagination of many embraces the access and use of data from the almost invisible sensor based digital community hidden in virtually every modern, electronic device. They exist in the most diverse places including household devices (alarms, TVs), environmental (weather, planet), government (traffic signals), retail (rfid tags) and even the common SmartPhone. But without rambling “Star Trek” style perspectives, it has proved challenging to showcase IOT use cases with real substance which makes the following example from the non IT community looks very exciting.

A major well known luxury carmaker is leveraging the Internet of Things (IOT) ideology via a real world implementation within forthcoming vehicles. By using on-board wireless and GPS technology, exchanging data in real time with traffic and environmental sensors, cars with traffic light assistance will help the driver to avoid stopping at red lights (thus speeding the journey, increasing safety, reducing fuel, and vehicle wear) by adapting the vehicle speed in relation to real time traffic flows.

The well known car makers approach to leveraging the IOT, is a real world example of the power of connected devices, the Internet of Things (IOT) and a valid use case that delivers commercial and human benefits. For the “Internet of Things” to make sense to us all, emerging examples must deliver personal benefits to drive the end user/customer to seek more and greater IOT benefits in the future (thus making it commercially attractive). Following that track, the Internet of Things will evolve from an urban IT myth to deliver real world human impacting benefits.

Maybe this next big thing could actually be the biggest next thing of all time

Until next time.

Colin W

Twitter@ Colinwccuk

it’s all over; again!

It’s been a hectic couple of weeks, mainly as it’s been conference season which involves spending time away (usually in a foreign country), listening to vendor x, y, z, talk about their market perspective, and how their technology fits into the eco system of workplace technology (well, usually they talk about more than just workplace, but it’s what I pay most attention to 🙂 ).

Whilst it’s often perceived as a jolly, the days at such events are ordinarily long, mixed with a combination of vendor key messages, technology insights and details of technology improvements, and vendor meetings where we often talk about what we’ve done the past year with respect to them, and what we all think the opportunity is going to be for the following year.

For those of you internally, you’ll know that we’ve (CC) established ourselves as the leading service provider in the UK around Windows transformation, with our EMEA business equating to worldwide levels of prominence, numbers which frankly leave me very proud of what we’ve achieved over the last 15 years of improving and refining of our extensive service offerings to our customers.

It was actually this traction that lead to Citrix & Cisco asking us (well me) to present at the recent Citrix conference to extol the benefits of how we’ve deployed their integrated technology stacks to our customers, and how we’ve made such traction in a difficult market, (desktop virtualisation).  We’re being used as the poster boy (for want of a better description), on how it can be done, and how it’s possible to provide cutting edge desktop transformation services that provide innovate solutions to business problems.  Quite a vindication from these key vendors we felt, and why we agreed to do it.

This position in the market is allowing us to starting thinking about the future of workplace services, and for the last 6 months or so, I’ve been working on and considering the next generation of services and technologies, and how they’re going to impact us, our service offerings, and most importantly our customers.

The key vendors in this area are all thinking big, and are thinking cloud enablement (private and public) and this tricky integration and how it can reduce costs and provide better services for modern working environments.

In the next 12-18 months, it will be possible to build a true Desktop as a Service (DaaS) model, that critically will be able to flexible both up and down, and scale appropriately with need, (which the IT industry really can’t do right now).  I fully anticipate however,  it will probably be another 2-3 years before it’ll really be a viable option for our customer to consider buying and is thus part of our next generation  of service development unlikely to gain any traction until after the Windows XP to 7 uplift.

I’m working with these vendors on helping them shape their products, to be more complete service offerings, (as the vendors are notorious on concentrating on technology features and functions over service integration considerations or really thinking about their customers business need and problems), and I’ll share more on these interesting developments in time when it becomes more appropriate to share this insight.

I’m off on Holiday from today for 2 weeks; recharge the batteries before the big push for the remainder of the year.  I’ll pick up the blog when I return, as whilst I like technology and my job, even I like to put it down sometimes. 🙂

How can a good enough network really be good enough?

A quick look at the current popular enterprise networking infrastructure platforms and they all seem to suffer from a similar predicament – almost without exception the functionality is good, reliability levels are high and performance (in relevant terms) delivers against expectations.

The reasons for this rather stable state include a networking journey to date that embraced the pain of interoperability and standardisation many years ago, the common use of high performance off the shelf network processing asics (with a few notable vendor exceptions) and until recently no real need to change the status quo.

After numerous years of highly effective network solution design by the extensively trained and highly talented network engineers, that embraced inherent technology limitations and extracted maximum performance we now have our “good enough” networks. I reiterate that there are many great network engineers that underpin the largest enterprises in the world, make complex networking “just work” and deliver business outcome after outcome – helping in many cases to hide that fact that below the surface all is not as well as it may seem.  

But surely, if you were given a blank sheet of paper and networking / security designs were architected with a clean view of the vendor landscape plus tomorrows business outcomes as well as today’s, would you still design yesterdays way? If the business outcomes of today and definitely tomorrow differ from the network usage approach of yesteryear surely good enough can’t still be “good enough”.

A five year old network designed and configured for large volumes of direct connected network servers with one Gigabit interfaces surely won’t be good enough for a densely consolidated converged infrastructure requiring multiple ten Gigabit network interfaces. Equally a multi layer network topology originally configured for hundreds and potentially thousands of physical servers, with multiple physical network interfaces has very different operational and performance characteristics to a distributed switch, hypervisor virtualised network layer.

The stage is set for good enough (or worse) networks to be evolved in line with tomorrow’s application and business requirements. Software defined networks (SDN) underpinned by the open standards aligned with OpenFlow and Openstack protocols and frameworks may in time enable the granular levels of flexibility and capability required to personalise today’s “good enough” general purpose networked infrastructure footprint into outcome specific networked topologies. This blog was set to discuss the well crafted Cisco ONE strategy that leverages the value delivered by OpenFlow and Openstack and clearly positions a customer journey that leverages existing technologies interfaced with the emerging software network footprints and equally the highly innovative HP VAN software aligned network play that leverages IMC and IRF tightly woven into those same open network software foundations, to deliver tangible application aligned networking.

But both of those great stories may now be somewhat pale when compared to VMware shock acquisition of Nicira. Put simply the worlds dominant x86 hypervisor vendor now includes a highly regarded SDN networking core that can be leveraged in numerous and as yet unannounced ways that could potentially paint a new picture for enterprise networking. (save this for another blog).

So “Good enough networks” in the not too distant future may become a thing of the past. Will they ever be “perfect networks”, unlikely due to the ever changing nature of business and increasing levels of complexity, but could they become much closer aligned with the levels of flexibility and adaptability and cost effectiveness currently sought by enteprise network customers. “Quite possibly”…….

And then they will be more than “Good enough”.

Until next time

Colin W

Twitter: @Colinwccuk