Archive for January 2015

Solutions that cleanse and prepare data will become more valuable as businesses look to spend more time analyzing it.

Saying that big data is hot today is as big an understatement as saying that the New England Patriots like to stretch the rules of football. It’s hard to go anywhere or speak to anyone without the term “big data” coming up. In fact, I flew to Milan and back this week and saw a big data story in the airline magazine. The term big data is a bit over-used, as it means different things to different people. But there’s one commonality to all the definitions, and that’s…(drumroll, please)…data!

Where speed matters, new Cisco technology provides an easy, cost-effective upgrade path to 802.11AC Wave 2.

With Ferrari-like speed coming to Wi-Fi this year in the form of 802.11AC Wave 2 and new switch technology that’ll smooth its integration into the enterprise, Italy — home of the Ferrari — was a fitting site for Cisco’s annual European user conference, Cisco Live Milan 2015.

AC Wave 2, despite the lame naming convention of the standard, is the most significant wireless standard ever, blowing the doors off current access speeds — both wired and wireless. While AC Wave 1 brought speeds comparable to Gigabit Ethernet, the current dominant standard for wired access, Wave 2 has a top speed of 6.8 Gbps.

Historically, workers needed to choose between the speed and dedicated performance of a wired connection for applications like VoIP and video and the flexibility of wireless for applications for which performance wasn’t a top priority. But now with Wave 2 workers can have the best of both worlds — speed and mobility. Want to do a video call over Wi-Fi? No problem. Heck, with 6.8 Gbps, do a telepresence session and it will work great. For the first time ever, the performance of wireless isn’t just on par with wired, it’s significantly better.

Is the cloud ready for the Internet of Things?

This week, Cisco Live Europe kicks off in Milan, Italy. The City of Milan is not only the host city for Cisco Live, but also for the World Expo in 2015 when the city will show off its evolution to a smart city. Milan is just the latest city to leverage the power of IoT to transform itself. We’ve clearly entered the era of IoT, as examples can now be found in any region or any vertical – in other words, everywhere.

Making use of once widely questioned acquisition, Cisco is expanding the role of Meraki in its portfolio.

In November 2012, Cisco acquired Meraki for a whopping $1.2 billion. At the time, most people thought that was a huge overpayment for a 330-person startup that made its living selling cloud-managed Wi-Fi to small- and mid-sized businesses. Prior to the Meraki acquisition, Cisco didn’t have a down-market Wi-Fi product, so Meraki filled a hole in the company’s portfolio. Dropping Meraki into Cisco’s channel has made it wildly successful, as it has been one of the consistently strong performers at the company over the past few years.

Despite Meraki’s success, it has remained a product that has been targeted to the SMB market. That’s about to change, though. Today at Cisco Live Europe, in Milan, Cisco announced it was taking Meraki to the enterprise with the release of a number of cloud-managed products that include the following:

Cisco recently addressed some of the challenges in migrating to 802.11AC Wave 2 Wi-Fi.

Remember the old days when Wi-Fi was much slower than a wired connection? Workers were forced to choose between speed and mobility. Plug into the wired network and have great connectivity speeds so users could browse the web quickly, watch streamed videos, copy files from one location to the other, or send that large attachment off. Alternatively, a worker might choose to go wireless to have the freedom to roam around the building. Sitting at a desk and want to move into a conference room? No problem, just use Wi-Fi. Just remember to send that large PowerPoint out when you reconnect to the wired network.

Extra steps that Polycom is taking to improve quality, usability, and interoperability should significantly help its competitive position in an increasingly crowded video collaboration market.

People not deeply familiar with the unified communications industry still know Polycom as one of the vendors that provides video endpoints in conference rooms. Some might also know that the company makes those weird looking speaker phones that mimic the Cylon base ships from the new Battlestar Galactica. Ask a non-communications person what differentiates Polycom from the many other video vendors out there and they probably can’t tell you.

This is something Polycom has been actively trying to change over the past few years, and today the company announced several new solutions and product updates to not just let people see each other when in separate locations but genuinely change the way people collaborate with one another. The newly updated portfolio is tightly aligned with the “Defy Distance” go-to-market campaign the company has been running over the past year or so.

The Sanbolic acquisition bolsters Citrix’s storage resources, and raises questions about its needs in other areas.

This week, Citrix announced it was acquiring Sanbolic, a vendor that provides virtual storage technology for virtual data centers. The Waltham, Massachusetts-based company enables customers to “software define” storage to optimize the delivery of workloads between any types of media. This includes SSD, flash storage, cloud, SAN, and NAS systems, and the aim is to improve application performance and availability, and especially storage utilization.

The purchase by Citrix is an interesting one in that it fills a big void in the company’s overall virtualization portfolio. Sanbolic plugs nicely into Citrix’s desktop virtualization suite, and the two have actually been technology partners for years, so the acquisition seems logical.

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