Passing through the doors on the first day of Cisco Live: Berlin last month, I was greeted by DevNet projects which are taking place within Cisco most of which are API-driven and all following Cisco's push in this field to simplify and automate everyday tasks. With opportunities to speak with engineers and product experts, and whiteboard solutions that I was working on, the week was fully packed from start to finish. And why shouldn't it be as I was there on work after all!
The session intervals were a perfect opportunity to visit partner stands and dedicated Cisco kiosks for each area like enterprise networking, security, Internet of Things, collaboration and the datacentre. The Cisco datacentre area had key members from Cisco internal teams conducting demos of each software suite under the Cisco ONE umbrella. Behind each software suite is Cisco hardware, which was also on display. It's not easy to glorify hardware but Cisco does make a good job of having a simple, sleek finish. Recently added is a stable HTML5 interface for UCS Manager, Cisco HyperFlex, and soon to come UCS Director, which will provide a better user experience as I'm sure we have all had issues with Java.
Looking to the future - IoT by 2020
Cisco's opening keynote focused on Internet of Things (IoT). This is a long-term focus for Cisco and they have estimated that by 2020 IoT will be a key transformation for every organisation. But this is not a quick change, and the time is now to start thinking about how you plan to embrace IoT to transform into a digital organisation.
Security is pegged to be a major stumbling block for this digital transformation. A key catch phrase from the event was, 'The best digital offence creates the best security defence', and Cisco do believe that the best security infrastructure is required to lay the foundations for IoT and they are certainly in the right position to assist. Some examples were provided on the current daily threat blocks within the Cisco environment, which is roughly around 20 billion. Automation and machine e-learning speeds up these threat block searches and, to put this into context, there are currently around 3.5 billion Google searches daily. This is only going to grow as IoT develops and we increase the number of connected devices.
During the keynote, we were given a quick digital ceiling demonstration on how Cisco is developing IoT for organisations which lead to me spending hours looking at dedicated IoT kiosks in the conference halls. This digital ceiling has almost made me jealous of our CTO, Sam Routledge, whose focus here at Softcat is talking with organisations in preparation for this next wave in IT.
How do I prepare for the future? ASAP Data Center
Cisco has a fresh approach to preparing your datacentre for the future. This new approach is called ASAP data center (DC) and Cisco is in a great position to support this with its complete software suite hosted on, but not solely confined to, Cisco hardware. So, what is an ASAP DC?
An ASAP DC can analyse your existing environment giving you real-time analytics, simplify management through a central point, automate tasks through workflows and API's and protect your entire data centre against a security breach, not just the perimeter.
Cisco is well equipped from a hardware and software perspective to adopt an ASAP DC. A great starting point to being an ASAP DC is to look at Tetration, which can give you a great physical hardware analysis into your datacentre by uncovering any security weaknesses and may even allow you to be leaner to better utilise existing hardware. Originally Tetration was introduced as a standalone device aimed at the very large datacentre but thankfully, and more suited to our customers, there is a smaller physical appliance. Better still there is a cloud based service which was announced in Berlin.
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