Campus Networks

SLG CIO’s cite network infrastructure as critical to “Big Five” success

by Rick Freedman on ‎04-04-2014 02:18 PM - last edited on ‎10-23-2014 03:36 PM by (3,142 Views)

The “Big Five” IT initiatives: 1) data center consolidation; 2) mobility; 3) security; 4) big data; and 5) cloud computing are gaining visibility and awareness for their promise to improve state and local agency performance, productivity and service.  However, a recent MeriTalk study and webinar on “The Big Five in Overdrive” demonstrate that while these solutions get a lot of attention, it’s the underlying network infrastructure needed to support these that is keeping CIOs awake at night.  The hot, new technologies get the visibility, but it’s the basics, blocking and tackling, where the real opportunity to re-engineer and save big comes from.

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Leading the Road to SDN

by Rick Freedman ‎03-19-2014 05:15 PM - edited ‎03-19-2014 05:21 PM (3,905 Views)

Everyone seems to believe that Software Defined Networks (SDN) is the future.  They know it’s coming… whatever it is and whenever it gets here, but don’t really know what to do about it. 

 

We talked to hundreds of attendees at the Open Network Summit (ONS) in Santa Clara and the Aruba Airheads Developers Conference in Las Vegas over the past two weeks about our SDN strategy.  Most were familiar with the general concepts of SDN and knew what it is, at least in concept.  Some had ideas about what they might do with it… some day.  Few had specific plans to implement SDN or had even done any work with SDN yet.

 

What we learned was that Brocade is helping customers on the road to SDN with OpenFlow 1.3 and Hybrid SDN implementation to make the transition smoother.

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Are State and Local Government Networks Ready for the Big Five of IT?

by Jeff Sejourne on ‎02-27-2014 12:34 PM - last edited on ‎10-23-2014 03:38 PM by (3,111 Views)

A new Meritalk study, underwritten by Brocade, examines how the implementation of the Big Five of IT-data center consolidationmobilitysecuritybig data, and cloud computing – will affect state and local government.  According to the report, most state and local organizations plan to fully deploy the Big Five in the next three years, but almost all say their agency is not fully prepared for the resulting demands on the IT organization and the network infrastructure.

The study examines:

  • The potential combined network impact of the Big Five
  • The current state of readiness for state and local agencies
  • How agencies can take advantage of Big Five benefits without bottlenecks, downtime, and security risks
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Out is the new Up in Network Design

by Jeff Sejourne on ‎11-24-2013 08:36 AM - last edited on ‎10-23-2014 03:18 PM by (4,615 Views)

Scaling up vs. Scaling out:  for years, IT architects have been debating the respective merits of big box vs. multi-box solutions to achieve scalability.  Big box solutions can be simpler to deploy and manage but they are typically more expensive to acquire and offer limited upgradability and future proofing.  With the recent success of cloud computing, the question has been settled for compute and storage: only distributed multi-box architectures can achieve the level of scalability and availability required for cloud based applications.

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Is managing your campus network a bit of a daily headache?  Are you finding you have more not-spots than hot-spots in your wireless coverage? Do you find yourself have to explain (again) just why it is going to take “THAT long” to deploy that application?  The campus environment in many organizations has just not kept up with evolving trends, and the legacy networks are showing their age.  The “fixes” that have been deployed over time often make things worse rather than better, as complexity and cost go up, and overall performance and availability at best stay static.

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Lego Networks

by Simon Pollard on ‎10-28-2013 01:04 PM - last edited on ‎10-23-2014 03:42 PM by (3,481 Views)

The Effortless Network is about making campus networks fit the environment that they are being deployed into, making things simpler and more flexible by allowing network managers to build networks that are only limited by their imaginations. By using Ethernet as the connection medium within a switch stack we allow far greater deployment flexibility.

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Tee it up!

by plaporte on ‎10-26-2013 05:02 AM - last edited on ‎10-23-2014 03:44 PM by (2,212 Views)

For campus networking, customers have been challenged with a convergence of trends that are forcing them to rethink their architectures and technology. For the last year or so, we’ve been saying that campus networks have moved beyond “best effort” and are now as critical as your datacenter network. While some early visionaries “get it”, many campus network architects have not….yet.

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Taking the Network outside of the Wiring Closet with Enterprise Compact Switches

by Jeff Sejourne on ‎10-26-2013 02:31 AM - last edited on ‎10-23-2014 03:46 PM by (3,104 Views)

So, what do you do when you need to convert an existing room into a conference room or a classroom where you are going to need more ports than what’s currently wired in the walls? Essentially, the network admin faces two options, deploy an enterprise switch inside the room or let users bring their own switches to solve the problem on their own as they often do. 

 

Deploying consumer class unmanaged switches in an enterprise network is a bad idea, the problems are numerous: no security, no quality of service, no traffic management, no monitoring, no visibility to the network administrator and the biggest of all, no spanning tree.  What if a user inadvertently creates a loop through improper wiring and brings part of the network down?

 

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What is The True Cost of Your Campus Network?

by Jeff Sejourne on ‎09-29-2013 07:02 AM - last edited on ‎10-23-2014 03:49 PM by (1,734 Views)

According to Gartner, enterprise customers  expect a useful life of 5 to 10 years for their network infrastructure.  Over such an extended ownership period the initial cost of acquisition is going to represent only a fraction of the total cost.

 

So it’s important for IT departments to evaluate the total cost of ownership, including the cost of service and support, power, cooling and floor space, over the expected life of the network when making the vendor selections.

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Brocade Healthcare Network Architecture

by pbal on ‎09-09-2013 07:11 AM - last edited on ‎10-23-2014 04:05 PM by (1,342 Views)

Healthcare makes up a large segment of all worldwide economies. It is a very diverse environment made up of many entities, which can include large health systems, children’s medical centers, rural hospitals, ambulatory facilities, urgent care centers, laboratories, medical testing facilities, pharmacies, therapy centers, surgical facilities, long-term care facilities, teaching and research organizations, ambulance and mobile units, component and equipment manufacturers, vendors and distributors, etc. These entities are often spread over a large geographical area and are heavily regulated by each respective government. Correspondingly, the networks employed by the industry reflect the inherent complexity.

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NEWSFLASH: Brocade Delivers HyperEdge Architecture for Campus Networks

by Dawn.Morris on ‎09-03-2013 09:31 PM - last edited on ‎10-23-2014 04:15 PM by (1,236 Views)

Today we are pleased to announce the availability of our pioneering HyperEdge Architecture, which provides a holistic wired and wireless edge infrastructure and supports the next phase in delivering “The Effortless Network” to customers.

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Does Your BYOD = Bring Your Own Disaster?

by plaporte on ‎07-30-2013 08:21 AM (1,613 Views)

BYOD = Bring Your Own Disaster

 

For many enterprises, schools, or even Federal agencies; BYOD stands for Bring Your Own Disaster. After talking with lots of customers and partners, I can relate. By my anecdotal calculation, over half of all BYOD projects fail (a major Brocade partner swears it’s closer to 90%). The thing is, it doesn’t need to be that way. After attending numerous seminars, reading tons of papers and blogs, etc., and viewing vendor ads; you’d think BYOD was all about security. But it’s not!! And this is the trap that everyone falls into and is the main cause for failure.

 

Surprisingly, the solution is very simple –it just takes planning and focus. With careful planning and a focus on delivering a secure, high quality user experience as your guide post; you’ll see that BYOD is much more than just security. Yes. Security is a very important aspect but without forethought and planning for the impact BYOD will have on your infrastructure, you’re doomed to fail. You have to make sure your wireless and wired infrastructure can deliver the level of service your...

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Going with the Flow

by Simon Pollard on ‎05-23-2013 01:18 AM - last edited on ‎10-23-2014 04:18 PM by (1,335 Views)

"You can't manage what you can't measure" is a quotation that we often hear thrown around the business world by people who forget that organizations are populated by human beings who can be somewhat unpredictable as they are often respond in ways are governed by what Human Resources professionals call “hygiene factors”, in other words, unpredictable things driven by emotion and instinct. KPIs are not the only answer to management headaches. I’m not suggesting that data and statistics have no part to play in managing modern IT systems just because they are used by irrational and unruly human beings, what is important is the interpretation of the data and the best decisions are made when we have the maximum amount of information available at our fingertips.

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Is managing your campus network a bit of a daily headache?  Are you finding you have more not-spots than hot-spots in your wireless coverage? Do you find yourself have to explain (again) just why it is going to take “THAT long” to deploy tha

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Why You Need an Effortless Network Now: Watch the Video

by Dawn.Morris on ‎03-05-2013 11:51 PM - last edited on ‎10-23-2014 04:19 PM by (1,078 Views)

We are so used to, and so busy dealing with or working around, the complexity of our networks that sometimes we need reminding that it doesn't have to be this way.  Network complexity is an issue of the way legacy campus environments are designed.  It wasn't an inherently bad design when campus networks began to be deployed for the first time; it’s just that it isn't a design that could cope with the massive changes in scale, volume and mobility that have come into play since. 

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Build a Campus Network as Dynamic as its Users

by Dawn.Morris on ‎03-04-2013 06:39 PM - last edited on ‎10-23-2014 04:21 PM by (1,187 Views)

Last year Brocade unveiled our vision for campus networking under the banner “The Effortless Network”.  Our proposition; that we need to make things simpler not more complex to create campus networks that can not only cope with but can improve the performance of wireless devices, applications, video, unified communications and cloud services etc, clearly hit a cord.

 

As Simon Pollard wrote in his post on this site titled Lego Networks; “If only networks could be built the same way [as Lego]. We seem to have got bound up in a dizzying array of complex protocols and technologies that have been designed to solve relatively simple problems. Whatever happened to plug-and-play?”

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Customers are increasingly finding their campus networks don’t deliver the agility, scalability and cost-per-port they require to realize the benefits from their investments in IT. Legacy campus networks were designed on the basis of several assumptions, such as the requirement to support desktop workers accessing client/server-based applications. Although that requirement still exists, a new wave of requirements is beginning to take priority, and they are forcing a re-think when it comes to how campus networks should be designed.

 

There are several other industry trends and business requirements that are impacting the way today’s organizations approach their campus design projects. Chief among these are:

• The proliferation of mobile devices

• The advent of desktop virtualization

• The need for greater collaboration

These are highlighting the limitations of traditional campus design.  Because historically there was only a minimum amount of wireless LAN connectivity to support, few IT organizations implemented a tightly integrated wired and wireless campus LAN infrastructure, and security was often a secondary consideration...

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Before I get to today's topic, let me put in a shameless plug for the Launch of our New Community site for the Education Segment.  You can find the site at http://community.brocade.com/edu . Lots of K-12/Primary Schools, Higher Education and Research & Education Network content has been posted there, as well as opporunities to join in conversations with your peers on topics like today's topic: the state of the E-rate program.  Join us on the Education Community site!

 

In the US, a big day for K-12 IT administrators draws near.  This year that day is Thursday February 14, 2013.  This is the last day for schools and libraries to file their FCC Form 470s.The universal service Schools and Libraries Program, commonly known as “E-rate,” provides schools and libraries discounts of up to 90 percent to help them obtain affordable telecommunications and Internet access...

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It’s Good to be Taken for Granted

by Simon Pollard on ‎02-04-2013 10:07 AM - last edited on ‎10-23-2014 04:24 PM by (956 Views)

Possibly the most common back-handed compliment that utility providers get on a daily basis is that they are taken for granted. When you turn a tap you never doubt that water will flow and when you need light or power, well of course it will be there at the flick of a switch. Being taken for granted is a good thing because the underlying message is that the service is simple, reliable and efficient, or in other words; always-on and effortless. If everyone knows the intimate details of a service that they are using it’s because they have to continually battle with challenges to get what they need. To quote the fictional character Mike Engleby“I don't like being rumbled, I like to be invisible.”

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For many, sports and networking probably aren’t two things they automatically put together.  But how we engage with sports is being changed by technology, whether we watch from the comfort of home or enjoy the spectacle and atmosphere at the stadium.  Watch Brocade CTO Dave Stevens on NBC explaining how for the 49ers Brocade is helping build the stadium of the future, so sports fans get the most from the game and can share the experience and use services that enhance their experience via their mobile devices.

 

CLICK HERE: http://www.nbcbayarea.com/video/#!/news/local/Brocade-Scores-Big-With-New-49ers-Stadium/188939751

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Meeting Location: Cloud Conference Room

by mlenehan on ‎01-29-2013 03:47 AM (1,203 Views)

“If only I didn’t have so many meetings; I could get my work done during the day” - sound familiar?  If you are like me, you often dig into a pile of work around 5pm, following a day of back-to-back meetings with a range of people, who are based at a range of locations. On an average day I’ll have at least one conference call with a colleague based in another country, an on-line project team meeting with attendees spanning Colorado, California and the UK, an agency briefing which could be with a team in San Francisco, the South of England or Singapore and a couple of face-to-face local team meetings (remember those?).  With collaboration tools like Microsoft Lync, we can now spend our days in multiple time zones with colleagues around the globe sharing rich media video and graphic content visuals, while reviewing project development plans or brainstorming new business ideas...

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Mobility: not just a “Wireless Problem”

by dhunt on ‎01-18-2013 10:15 AM (841 Views)

Gartner suggests that 80% of wireless LAN’s will not be able to handle their traffic loads by 2015 in a recent article

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Network Admins, Stuck in the Middle

by Simon Pollard on ‎01-14-2013 04:14 PM - last edited on ‎10-23-2014 04:28 PM by (880 Views)

Like so many elements, such as heat, power and light, that are fundamental to the running of a modern company no-one takes much notice of the network until it fails to deliver,  Unlike those basic services though,  people’s expectations of the network are multi-faceted. And those “people” are not just the users, they are the developers that build the applications and services that businesses rely on. So Network Administrators, to quote Stealers Wheel, find themselves “Stuck in the Middle” between users and application developers who both make very similar assumptions about the network and what it will do for them. The most common assumption is that bandwidth is limitless, there will always be sufficient regardless of the location of the user. It’s a similar story for WiFi coverage, users expect wired-like performance and no gaps in coverage. And of course it’s all cheap and it never fails, ever.

 

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Intelligent economy, dumb networks?

by svalliap on ‎01-11-2013 05:03 AM - last edited on ‎10-23-2014 04:31 PM by (847 Views)

“As the intelligent economy continues to transform the business landscape, enterprise networks must be ready for a new set of demands”, says IDC.  Or to put in another way; we need intelligent networks to support that intelligent economy opportunity.  Legacy networks with low-scale, high-latency, complex architectures  that are difficult to manage, don’t match up to requirement.

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Tee it up!

by plaporte on ‎01-10-2013 08:03 AM (773 Views)

For every tee shot, there’s a backswing. The bigger the backswing the bigger the drive. In Sales and Marketing terms, every customer pitch has a backswing. Typically, this is where we describe the situation, the trends, the problem, etc. If

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So how did you check your emails this morning? Are you a Blackberry user or a dedicated iPhone fan? Do you favor Android or Microsoft smartphones perhaps, or have you gone and got a tablet? Or did you spill toothpaste over your laptop while “multi-tasking” at breakfast time?  And while you were checking your mail, did it occur to you just HOW those emails got to your inbox and the sent ones to your colleagues?  If your honest answer is “no”, you are not alone. And you are probably not a network manager or engineer.

 

One of the biggest myths in our crazy, hyper-connected, world is that the physical network doesn’t matter anymore.  It seems that because we don’t see any cables or devices, we therefore don’t use any. Nice idea in theory; but as anyone in IT will tell you – very far from reality.  Think about it.  When people suddenly can’t access their email, applications or data or make an old fashioned voice call because they have gone into a tunnel or an elevator  while using a mobile device they say, “oh I’ve lost the signal”.  When they are static and the same thing happens what do we blame? That’s right – the network.  Because the network is critical.  Without it there would be no connection between the access point and the server or cloud service.  Mobile networks can connect you TO the access point; but past that point you are relying on the campus network as surely as you would be if you were sat in the office, cabled up and plugged in...

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Bridging the Gap: Customers, campus, and cloud

by Dave.Stevens on ‎01-08-2013 07:51 AM - last edited on ‎10-23-2014 04:36 PM by (960 Views)

As data centers across the globe benefit from more virtualization and flatter, faster and more resilient and scalable networks, the campus environment has been put under immense pressure.  Although innovation has been rampant in the data center, campus has remained the poor cousin in terms of development, design, and investment.  But with more mobility, more video, more cloud and frankly more everything, the campus network has become a serious bottle-neck for many businesses, preventing growth, killing commercial edge, and impacting productivity.

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