April 19, 2014

Polycom CloudAXIS Suite Makes Enterprise Video Collaboration Simple

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Last week at the Enterprise Connect event, Carousel was demonstrating the new Polycom CloudAXIS Suite in our booth and it was such a hit that we thought we’d delve into the topic a bit more here on the blog. Toward that end, we caught up with Roger Farnsworth, Senior Director of Cloud and Service Provider Solution Marketing at Polycom for this information packed podcast reviewing the new visual communications solution.

He calls the CloudAXIS Suite a game-changing development because it makes video collaboration so much simpler and easier – about as simple as sending a text or email.


Not Your Father’s Video Conferencing Solution

It’s no secret that ease of use has long been a stumbling block to the widespread adoption of video in the enterprise. “People have developed wonderful ways to connect using email, phone and other traditional channels. They can connect with little trouble,” Farnsworth says. “The video channel has often proven difficult because of differences in address methods and connectivity.”Polycom CloudAxis Video Collaboration

Polycom has long been a leader in trying to remedy that situation, helping to drive standards-based video interoperability by working with partners such as Microsoft and IBM as well as with groups such as the Open Visual Collaboration Consortium.

“The real beauty of the RealPresence CloudAXIS Suite is now video communications will be as simple as sending an instant message or an email,” he says. That text or email will include a URL that the recipient simply clicks on to be connected to a video collaboration session. In that way, CloudAXIS closes the “air gap” that has long existed between enterprise video collaboration systems and the widespread availability of a Web environment, he says.


The Engine Behind the CloudAXIS Solution

CloudAXIS is a software-only add-on to the Polycom RealPresence video platform. End users need only a device that’s capable of supporting video and a Web browser, meaning most tablets, laptops, smart phones and video-capable desktops will work just fine. (Polycom will be coming out with a list of hardware and software requirements shortly.)

The first time a recipient gets an invitation to connect to a video session, he will be prompted to download a small plug-in. “It’s our goal to eliminate that plug-in,” Farnsworth says, but for the time being it’s necessary to ensure compatibility. And you only need to download it once; on subsequent sessions users will be able to dive right in.

“The vast majority of folks who receive a text or email with the URL will be up and running in seconds the first time and subsequently even more quickly,” he says.

And because the solution is built on top of the RealPresence platform, it takes advantage of all of its security features. “You can drive video collaboration outside the company borders according to the same type of enterprise policies and postures you currently have in use,” Farnsworth says. He notes that all meetings are invitation-only, meaning participants are “invited guests” who use the same path to collaboration sessions as internal employees. What’s more, meetings rooms are transient and users can mandate use of pass codes and encryption.


CloudAXIS Changes the Visual Communications Dynamic

“We think this will transform the video collaboration space,” he says, because it will make video so much easier to deploy to thousands of participants.

“Right now we have customers who have built RealPresence platform-based video collaboration solutions that touch hundreds of thousands of users and tens of thousands of participants in calls,” Farnsworth says. Editor’s Note: Personally, I think the real game changer here is going to be the quick three, five, ten person call that eliminates headaches for the invited guests and allows for ubiquitous use of video calling.

On another note, Polycom also has a large number of service providers using its platform to offer hosted video collaboration solutions. “They’re looking forward to getting the service provider version of CloudAXIS Suite later this year to offer their own services.”   As a result, enterprises will have multiple options for how to deploy a video collaboration solution that can incorporate a few, or thousands of participants. “It’s going to continue to transform the way they do business,” he says. “It’s going to allow more remote working, business-to-business and business-to-consumer connectivity in a way we haven’t seen.”

The CloudAXIS Suite will be available next week, on April 1. The base license supports 100 concurrent users and additional increments are available from there.

To learn more, check out the video (of course!) and additional info on Polycom’s site, or simply contact Carousel.

 

 

BYOD Drives Need for Context-aware Security and Consolidated Management: Aruba Networks Podcast

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In seemingly the blink of an eye, we’ve witnessed an evolution from employees carrying almost nothing but Blackberry’s to the bring your own device era, driven by iPhones, iPads, Androids, Windows phones and all manner of computing and communication devices.

In the midst of it all is Carousel Industries’ partner Aruba Networks, which builds the wired and wireless networking components and tools that make BYOD possible. To check the pulse of the BYOD movement, we checked in with Robert Fenstermacher, director of product and solutions marketing at Aruba, who brought us up to speed in this information-packed podcast.

4 Steps to Ensuring Security in a BYOD World

Asked what challenges companies face in implementing BYOD, Fenstermacher is quick to point to security as topping the list. Issues range from how to securely get devices onto the network, the types of access privileges to give them with respect to networks, applications and data, and what happens when a device is lost. “These are the questions most organizations are asking,” he says.

To properly address the security issue, Aruba advises customers to take four steps:
1. Have a process for getting devices onto the network in a secure manner, without involving IT or the help desk. That means you need to be able to automatically configure the device’s network and security settings and review and update its security posture.
2. Define and invoke the appropriate access policies for the device. This requires you take into consideration the context around the connection, including who the user is, their role in the organization, what type of device they’re using, what OS the device is running, location and who owns the device – whether it’s personal or corporate-issued.
3. Enforcement of policies. As the user moves to different locations, the security policy that needs to be enforced will change. Customers need to have a way to ensure that the appropriate policy is enforced at all times.
4. Consider what lives on the device. Security will be handled differently depending on what data and applications are on a device, and what OS it runs. This applies not just to smart phones and tablets, but laptops, Fenstermacher notes. “BYOD isn’t just iPhones anymore, or Androids,” he says. “It’s people selecting their primary computing devices, their laptops and so on.”

Sounds simple, right?  As you can see, multiple devices (some BYOD) per user, and limitless mobility has exponentially increased the complexity of network management, and made it all about ‘context’.

Context Is Key with BYOD

The whole idea of context – looking at all aspects of a connection – is much more important with BYOD that ever before, he says. While previously companies might consider what type of device was connecting and make a policy decision based on whether it’s a smart phone or laptop, now you also have to take into account the ownership model. Is it corporate-owned or something the employee got at an electronics store?

Similarly, with respect to identity, it’s no longer just employee vs. guest, but what type of guest – contractors, temporary employees, visitors and so on. And even on the employee side, you have people with different levels of responsibility who should be given different access privileges.

And of course, location matters. “Devices today can seamlessly move between a public network and a private network because they typically have both a WiFi radio and a cellular radio,” Fenstermacher notes. “So you want to be able to ensure the appropriate policies are invoked, whether the device is connected over corporate WiFi, from a coffee shop, or over cellular using a VPN to get back to the corporate network.”

BYOD Drives Need for Centralized, Consolidated Management

The way employees are free to move about and use different types of network connections depending on what they’re doing at any given time means IT has many different networks to monitor. There’s the traditional wired network that employees use while at their desks, plus the WiFi network they connect to when they’re in a conference room or a colleague’s office, and remote workers connecting from home or the Starbucks.

“IT is having to look at a separate management systems, there are different code versions, separate firewall policies, separate UI, VLANs and on and on,” he says. “There’s a growing need to consolidate all these network services,” so IT can manage them from a single, central console that can handle wired, wireless and cellular networks – with equipment from different vendors.

Aruba and Carousel can combine to deliver the tools and expertise to help you do just that. Check out our full podcast to learn more about the issues and how Aruba and Carousel can help you address them. Or contact Carousel to learn more.

State of the Security Marketplace – Fortinet Podcast Interview

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As we’ve previously reported, the IT security threat landscape has changed in the last couple of years, shifting from one dominated by “bored hackers” to one where monetary gain is the primary objective. “[Today] we’re seeing a large component of organized crime, corporate espionage and terrorism,” says Kevin Flynn, senior manager of product marketing for Fortinet, a Carousel Industries partner that is a leader in the unified threat management security space.

To properly protect themselves in this environment, companies have to adjust their thinking when it comes to security. Listen to the whole discussion in this information packed podcast.

Mind Your Apps – Application-Layer Security Becoming Critical

“The main shift, and the place where people have to pay the most attention, is this issue ofapplication layer security,” Flynn says. Bad guys know that most companies have the bases covered when it comes to the basics like firewalls, VPNs, antivirus and antispam, intrusion detection. So they’re going after the application layer, where far fewer companies are putting up a good defense.

When it comes to application layer security, control is critical, he says. You have to look at what applications and behaviors you do want to allow, and which you don’t. “The question really becomes one of developing a good policy and having the tools to enforce that policy,” Flynn says.

Those tools include good analytics, so you can benchmark what constitutes appropriate behavior for a given user or set of users, or a given type of information flow, and then recognize traffic or behavior that is outside the norm. For example, it may be perfectly normal to see lots of traffic coming out of your accounts receivable server between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on a weekday, but highly unusual at 3 a.m. on a Saturday.

Providing Security for the Mobile User

Another challenge with respect to security today is the increase in number of mobile users and the whole bring your own device movement. With respect to BYOD, Flynn says to focus on a couple of areas, one being strong authentication, so you know who is connecting no matter what device they may be using. Another is to provide encryption for data in transit, such as by using VPNs.

It’s also critical that security functions such as application control be utilized in BYOD environments as mobile users will be accessing applications from multiple types of devices and potentially in unique ways depending on the type of device.

Finally, it is important to provide such protection right at the network border, he notes and that these types of controls (along with other UTM functionality such as web filtering, spam control and data leak protection, etc.) be utilized at the wireless access point.

Protecting What’s Inside the Perimeter

Enterprises have long been characterized as having a hard outer shell and a soft, squishy middle when it comes to security, like an M&M. That is a dangerous position to be in today, when so many security professionals say you have to pretty much assume your perimeter will eventually be compromised.

“So you have to look at the priorities of your internal information. What is the thing that needs to be most protected?” Flynn says. “And in the LAN, what kind of traffic needs to be inspected, what kind of controls need to be placed on it.”

Companies need tools such as data leak prevention that can identify when certain predefined types of information – perhaps credit card numbers – are leaving the enterprise then they shouldn’t be.

Analytics again come into play when it comes to protecting the corporate crown jewels, so you can identify activity that is outside the norm.

To learn more about the top security challenges companies are facing, and how the concept of unified threat management helps address them, listen to our podcast with Kevin Flynn.

A 4-Step Strategy for Big Data Center Energy Savings: Schneider Electric / APC Podcast

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Too many companies are leaving money on the table when it comes to their data centers – or, more accurately, tossing it out the window. That’s because they don’t spend the time and effort to ensure their data centers are as energy efficient as they can be, and wind up spending more than they have to on data center power and cooling.

Take a listen to this information packed podcast to get some tips on how to remedy the problem from Russell Senesac, the director of data center business for APC by Schneider Electric, a Carousel partner. As you’ll hear in just one segment of this podcast, Senesac says Schneider Electric has developed a sound, four-part methodology for helping customers reduce their data center energy tab – to the tune of 30 percent or more in many cases.

1. Meter to Measure Energy Flows

Every watt of power that comes into your data center requires a watt of power to remove the resulting heat, Senesac says, so understanding where energy is going is critical to figuring out where to best spend your money on remediation efforts. That means you’ve got to determine which systems are drawing how much power – and when. A server that draws just one amp for most of the day may spike for short periods during which it draws 10 amps. That’s something you need to know about in order to properly cool the area – but not over-cool it when it’s not required.

2. Fix the Basics First to Reduce Energy Consumption

Rather than immediately replacing your entire HVAC system with a brand new energy efficient model, first make sure you’re following some simple industry best practices. Many data centers, for example, have yet to implement a hot aisle/cool aisle strategy. That’s where rows are set up such that all the fronts of server and other equipment face each other as well as the backs. Since hot air is expelled out the back, that becomes the hot aisle. The idea is to separate the hot air from the cool, so it requires less horsepower to cool the room.

Similarly, don’t leave empty spaces in your racks because cool air can escape from them into the hot aisle, where it’s wasted. Installing inexpensive blanking panels will solve the problem. Also, consider containment systems to seal off the hot and cold rows from each other. “It’s basically just bent sheet metal, so it’s not a huge investment,” Senesac says.

3. Optimize to Achieve Greater Energy Efficiency

Once you’ve tackled all the basics, then you can look at newer, more energy efficient equipment to replace any aging components. “Anywhere you go in the data center, you’ll find components made today that are more efficient than those made even a couple of years ago,” he says.

For example, close-coupled cooling systems exist today that can be placed in or just above your rows, closer to the IT load they are intended to cool – and thus requiring less energy to do the job. “It drives greater efficiency because you don’t have to move huge amounts of air around,” Senesac says.

4. Monitor and Control to Ensure You Maintain Efficiency Gains

Too often, customers do the metering, address the basics, install some newer energy efficient equipment – then forget all about their efficiency efforts. Six months later, they find that because some new equipment has been added or existing loads moved, they’re no longer getting the efficiencies they achieved earlier.

What’s required is some kind of software package that can continuously monitor your environment and keep you informed about how energy is being consumed. Some packages perform computational fluid dynamics to create “weather maps” that show where the cold and hot air is in a data center. Systems known as data center infrastructure management tools can also help you plan a data center, such as by tracking the amount of energy consumption by rack to help you plan where to put new servers. The systems can also help you create high-density areas of the data center, such as for racks of heavily loaded blade servers that host a virtual server environment. That can help you target cooling more efficiently, with those high density areas getting more cooling power than other areas.

Take a listen to the podcast now to get more details on ways to save energy, including designing and implementing cooling solutions, monitoring and control solutions, right-sizing a solution that’s right for your business and much more. If you are considering a data center retrofit or planning on developing a greenfield data center, contact Carousel today….we’ll put our experts and some of the best partners in the industry on making sure you’re project succeeds.

Trends in the Modern Contact Center: Zeacom Podcast Interview

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We’ve all had our share of nightmare customer service calls but Miles Valentine is on a mission to keep them to a minimum. Valentine is CEO of Zeacom, a leading provider of customer contact center and telephony integration software, and a Carousel partner. For the latest installment in our podcast series, we spoke to him about trends in the Contact Center area, including the adoption of unified communications technologies, the integration of social media into call centers and how call centers can affect the company brand, for better or worse.  In this information packed interview, we discuss all of these topics as well as the trend towards Business Process Automation in the contact center.

Integrating Unified Communications into the Contact Center

While noting that he’s skeptical of some polls, Valentine notes that statistics say 80% of contact centers still handle only voice calls, which means only 20% are incorporating some other form of media. Typically, the first step beyond voice is email, which means queuing incoming email for call center agents to respond to.

But UC comes into play in other ways. Presence technology is used to help achieve the goal of all call centers, first-call resolution. Simply by knowing what subject matter experts are available to help at any given moment, call center agents are much more likely to be able to direct a call to someone who can help – or perhaps use instant messaging to get the answer from the expert.

Beyond that, Valentine notes there’s a growing demand to cater to whatever form of media the customer might want to use, be it chat, IM or Twitter.

Social Media Channels in the Contact Center

The ability to effectively deal with customer queries via social media channels requires companies have in place some form of system to monitor what’s being said about the company across various social media channels, including blogs, Twitter and LinkedIn. Dozens of such services exist to help, feeding companies all sorts of information on what’s being said about them, based on whatever key words they select.

A growing number of companies are now trying to manage those transactions, so they come in to a contact center queue just like a phone call does. Zeacom’s software will queue such interactions, deliver them to appropriately skilled agents, monitor the response and report on the outcomes. The tool even keeps track of which agent handles each interaction, in case any follow-up is required.

The Contact Center and Your Brand

The ability to handle such interactions effectively can “absolutely” have an effect on customer perception of the company’s brand, Valentine says. “It’s a fundamental tenet of what we try to achieve. The contact center is a key place for customers to either be made happy or made grumpy,” he says.

Consider the classic case of an interactive voice response system that asks you for your account number. You dutifully enter it, listen to the IVR repeat it back to you, then wait to get transferred to an agent. The agent picks up and immediately asks for your account number. “That is a staggeringly bad and annoying way to start off a call in a contact center,” Valentine says, noting that it’s not just annoying for the customer, it’s bad for the company because it wastes time. “And time is money in a call center.”

What companies should be doing is placing that caller in a queue and, if the wait time is going to be more than a minute or two, provide varying announcements. Ideally, callers will be told their relative position in the queue and how long they can expect to wait. Even better, give the caller the option to have an agent call them back – and then do it, quickly. “The customer service response you get when you call them back 3, 4 or 5 minutes later is frankly outstanding,” he says. That’s because most companies place such call-back requests in a voicemail queue and get to them hours later, if ever.

If you want to ensure your contact center is putting your brand in the best possible light, contact Carousel.   We’ll bring our industry-leading expertise to bear and work with partners like Zeacom to make sure you impress your customers.

New e-newsletter highlights the depth of information and expertise available from Carousel Industries

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Perhaps you’ve noticed a shift in where the information you get about the IT industry comes from. Whereas once your primary source of news and information more than likely was industry trade publications, today – while you still have trade publications and, more likely, web sites – you’ve also got rich, in-depth, expert content coming from trusted vendors like Carousel.

The reason Carousel is providing this content is that we want to share our knowledge with you and provide value to your organization as you tackle IT challenges critical to your company. In some ways we’re showing off, but we think we have a lot of smart people working for us and our focus is on enabling them to share what they know and hopefully help you out in the process.

Announcing Carousel Roundup, a new industry newsletter

We’re bringing this topic up now because we just launched a new email newsletter called Carousel Roundup than really brings home the vast amount of information that we’ve been creating and makes it easily accessible. Roundup is an apt name because there’s a diverse collection of information here, from white papers that take you on a deep dive, podcasts you can consume at your leisure or on your drive to or from work, webinars to give you insights into a particular issue, case studies to show you how others are tackling issues, and more.

Here at the Carousel Connect blog we work constantly with subject matter experts throughout Carousel and at our partner companies, picking their brains so we can share their expertise and depth of knowledge with you. But even we were fairly blown away after looking at the first newsletter because of the sheer volume and depth of information that Carousel makes available to you (for free!).

Carousel Roundup offers links to white papers, podcasts, webinars and more

Consider this small sampling to whet your appetite:

White papers on timely topics including 5 Key Considerations for Cloud Migration and Smart Phone Security.

Podcasts featuring an interview delving into data center networking trends with a true expert, the Director of Enterprise Marketing from our industry partner Juniper Networks,  and another on how to securely manage the flood of consumer devices coming into corporate networks with another expert, the head of solutions marketing at Aruba Networks.

Not one but two webinars focusing on desktop virtualization, one on how to incorporate tablets like the iPad and another on how to ensure your network is in shape so you can realize the potential of desktop virtualization technology.

Case studies on one organization that implemented a global videoconferencing solution, saving more than 30 trips between the U.S. and Asia each year, and another that installed a large, mission-critical wireless network.

We could go on, but you get the picture. Chances are, there’s something of interest to you in Carousel Roundup; probably several pieces.

Carousel Roundup – highlighting the expertise inside Carousel

Of course Carousel doesn’t publish all this information just out of the goodness of its heart (although we are very nice people). We want to educate you not only on the various technologies that you have to deal with day to day, but on the fact that we can help you.

In short, we know this stuff, inside and out. We have subject matter experts in virtually any technology area you can name, and we think Carousel Roundup highlights that point. Check it out and see for yourself. Don’t forget to sign up to get future issues of Carousel Roundup so you can keep up to speed. And by all means feel free to let us know if we can help with any projects you’ve got going or are even thinking about. We’d love to chat!

Amcom Interview: The Changing Face of Hospital Communications

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Remember the days when Communication Systems in hospitals meant pagers for doctors and speaking to an operator before getting transferred to a room for you? Those days are quickly disappearing as hospitals automate processes and make their communications infrastructure the focal point of that effort. Take a listen to this fascinating interview with Brian Edds, from Carousel partner Amcom Software, in which we discuss the ways hospitals are changing and the ways in which they are using data, mobile devices and communications systems to strealine processes, improve patient care and lower costs. Some of the topics we review include:

Mobility – The Impact of Consumer Devices on Hospital Communications

There has been an explosion in the number of communications devices in healthcare settings. Doctors (just like the rest of us) have smartphones and tablets now, and the market is shifting to accomodate. Streamlined messaging, device consolidation (the elimination of pagers), a growing list of users wanting updates on different topics, the types of data the drive notifications as well as organizations focused on automating business and patient care processes have fundamentally changed hospital communications.

Keys to Healthcare Communciations

What makes hospitals unique?   Dealing with life and death situations is certainly one thing. We discuss some of the challenges and priorities that healthcare organizations need to address in their communications and technology platforms, including.

Deliverability – Making sure the right message, gets to the right person on the right device, right away. This used to be handled by operators getting a message and sending out a page…now it is handled via integrated databases, a communications platform and smartphones. It is critical that the communications system takes full advantage of cellular networks as well as the hospital WiFi systems for seamless on-site and external communications.

Traceability - Keeping logs of every message sent is vital in order to understand when the message was sent, who received it, and how they responded.  Understanding the details leads to process improvements and improved patient care and outcomes.

Differentiation – Especially in a healthcare setting, clearly differentiating between an emergency message and a routine administrative notification is critical. How those different messages are presented on consumer devices is the key.

Security – Because of privacy considerations and regulations (HIPA) and how much more information is being passed back and forth to various constituents, security is critical in hospitals.  We discuss the challenges that need to be addressed in the communications layer, the application layer and well as with the devices themselves.

Hospital Process Improvement – Moving Beyond Paging

Hospitals are in many ways leading the charge when it comes to process improvement as their drive to improve care and keep costs down is critical.  Modern communications platforms like Amcom’s bring many more employees into the loop and make use of different data sources to make process improvements happen.

In order to ensure successful communications, Amcom needs to integrate with various web apps, like on-call and scheduling systems, patient directories and time tracking systems amongst others.  Tying this into messaging is critical to success.

Additionally, data streams from devices and equipment is starting to come on-line.  PulseOx systems, medical oxygen monitors, IV pumps, emergency equipment and fire alarms are all sending data streams of their own now.  These notices have to go to right person and escalate to an emergency when necessary.  This capability also brings a whole additional layer of employees into the communications system in the form of maintenance, housekeeping and IT personnel.

What’s Coming Next

According to Brian, we are just seeing the tip of the iceberg with the mobility revolution inside of hospitals.  Watch for real-time imaging on tablets while doctors sit with you at bedside, unified communications and video conferencing and collaboration tools, and data retrieval on a handheld as opposed to walking across the hospital to the lab.

To learn more about the rapidly changing hospital, listen to this interview now.  You’ll be glad you did.  If you have any questions, ask away, using the comments form.

The Modern Data Center – Podcast Interview with Juniper Networks

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In this information packed interview with Calvin Chai, the Director of Enterprise Marketing with JuniperNetworks, we discuss Data Centers. What’s new, what trends are impacting the market, how technology is evolving and how businesses are responding. Some of the topics we cover include:

Architectural Shifts in Technology

There are several mega-trends in the technology marketplace that are impacting modern Data Center design and deployment, including:

  • Application Development and Architecture – SOA, Web 2.0 and federated applications are all changing the way that applications call on additional resources and are significantly impacting Data Center traffic patterns.
  • Virtualization – Avoiding server sprawl, making better use of resources and the clear economic benefits of virtualization are driving businesses to fundamentally rethink their Data Center architecture.
  • Storage – Converging and connecting storage networks to ethernet networks changes the way the data center needs to be designed.

Modern Data Center Energy Requirements

While talking about the upside of Data Center consolidation, we discuss the significant energy requirements that modern Data Centers demand. Many older Data Centers are being decommissioned due to the lack of the appropriate Kilowatts per Square Foot capacity required by modern deployments.

Changing Traffic Patterns

Applications rely more and more on data and procedures available on other servers. This is fundamentally changing the traffic patterns in Data Centers. Most traffic used to come from clients requesting information from a server and the server responding (known as North – South traffic). Now, some reports are showing that up to 75% of Data Center traffic is related to servers needing to make a call to another server before responding to the client (known as East – West traffic).

This means that modern Data Centers need to be very good at processing East – West traffic in order to deliver expected performance.

What is a Fabric?

To improve performance, Juniper has come out with a new product called QFabric. The concept behind a Fabric is to vastly improve that East – West processing by ensuring that all servers in a Data Center are only one hop away from each other. Fabric attributes include:

  • Flat – All servers need to be directly connected to all other servers
  • Fast – The network has to be design with optimal capacity in mind
  • Scalable – You have to be able to scale to match your requirments. Currently QFabric can scale up to 6000 10GB ports
  • Simple – Even with that scalability, the Fabric can be managed as a single logical switch

You can understand why Juniper is getting so much buzz about this product.

Other Topics – Start Listening Now to Get the Details

We review a bunch of other issues, including the advent and deployment of Nanosecond switches (you read that right), the difference between Production-level Data Centers and Corporate IT-level Data Centers, trends in Data Center consolidation and questions that businesses should be asking themselves when planning for and considering deploying their next generation Data Center.

Take a listen to the information packed 20 minutes to get the low-down on where data centers are headed. You’ll be glad you did. Use the comment form to ask any additional questions you may have an we’ll get back to you.

Mobile Device Strategy – Aruba Networks Interview – Partner Podcast

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Take a listen to this interview with Aruba Networks, as we speak with Manav Khurana, their head of solutions marketing, about all aspects of creating a Mobile Device Strategy for an enterprise.  With the flood of consumer devices coming onto corporate  networks, having a clear vision and plan for how to securely manage these devices is critical.  Areas we discuss include:

Key Components of a Mobile Device Strategy from an IT perspective

1  Network Control.  With network complexity increasing exponentially, the IT team must be able to manage:

  • The types of devices allowed onto the network
  • The types of traffic allowed on each type of device and at what location.
  • The content accessible at each location on each type of device

2.  Ensure Capacity - As more and more of these devices come on-line, existing WiFi networks quickly reach their performance limits.  Upgrading to 802.11n and reassessing the wireless access point architecture may make sense.

3.  Helpdesk and support – With potentially thousands of new devices and multiple operating systems coming into the network, the IT team has to have a clearly defined approach to support, including:

  • Technology that provides centralized visibility into device, location, application and user allowing for better troubleshooting
  • A strategy to allow for employee self-service and self-provisioning so helpdesks don’t get overwhelmed.

Components of Aruba’s Mobile Device Enterprise Technology

We discuss the new solutions Aruba has deployed to help businesses address this challenge, including:

Mobility Services – Security, management and network services so IT has a single view of the enterprise network and has visibility and can control policy regardless of where users connect, how they connect and with which devices

Thin On-Ramps – Allowing seamless connectivity and visiblility regardless of how people connect, whether that be via wifi, wired, branch office, mobile or remote on-ramps.

Context-based Networking – The network is immediately aware of device, user, location and application contexts whenever a user connects.

Other topics we cover include:

  • The difference between Mobile Device Access Control (MDAC) and Mobile Device Management
  • Use case for on-boarding new users in both instances
  • Steps an organization should take as they start to define their Mobile Device Strategy
  • How businesses are going about implementing comprehensive Mobile Device Access Control within the face of legacy systems and networks

With the complexity businesses are facing in this rapidly evolving space, this podcast is a must listen.  Listen here, or download it and listen on the drive home!

Streamlining The Cloud: Riverbed Technology Interview – Partner Podcast

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Take a listen to this information packed interview with Evan Marcus, the Product Evangelistfor Riverbed Technology. Riverbed is a Carousel partner that specializes in improving performance and security for Wide-Area-Networks and Cloud solutions. Essentially, their technology makes networks run a lot faster, making your WAN feel like a LAN.  Topics we discuss:

Issues to Consider when Migrating to Cloud Services

  • Performance – How to ensure users get the same or improved performance relative to local services.
  • Security – How to provide the same level of security on the cloud as you do locally
  • Vendor Lockin – Avoiding having your data trapped with a vendor you want to ditch
  • Network Protocols – They are different for cloud solutions. What do companies need to do to provide a seamless transition for users
  • Cost Controls – How to manage data transfer, storage and throughput once you’ve made the migration. How planning ahead helps keep costs from spiraling out of control

How Businesses Can Improve Performance

  • Streamline Negotiations – TCP was not meant for long trips…there are too many negotiations necessary. Technology can eliminate all this repetitive handshaking and cut down on negotiations 60 to 90 percent
  • Streamline Applications – Understanding application protocols can eliminate many redundant negotiations and data transfer signiificantly improving performance and throughput
  • Deduplicate Data Streams – Drastically cut down on the amount of information passed back and forth. Once data (a logo for example) has been sent once anywhere on the network, all future transfers of that logo become a simple metadata identifier.

Securing your Cloud Solutions

Transferring data over the public Internet can create security issues. We review how to secure data in motion as well as data at rest.

With businesses pressing ahead so quickly on virtualization and cloud projects, making sure your network is delivering top-notch performance and security is critical to project success. If this is a focus for your organization, this podcast is a must listen. For more information on how to get the most out of your wide-area-network and cloud solutions, Contact Carousel today.