Datacenter is Not a Physical Destination

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By Andrew Sherman, VP of Advanced Consulting, Presidio

"Datacenter is not a physical destination."

I made this statement in early 2013 to a customer who subsequently stared at me like I had a couple of extra heads. This customer had just explained to me that they were in the process of trying to determine whether they should build a new datacenter and relocate their entire enterprise from 30 distinct datacenters to a single physical location. With the emergence of cloud infrastructure, we have become less sensitive to where systems live and breathe, but this can still be disconcerting for folks who like to see blinking lights and are used to paying high HVAC bills.

As an end user, I am more concerned with applications and services, than I am with where that service resides. If I want to book my travel, I want to access my application from whatever device and wherever I’m located. If I want to enter time for accounting purposes, I want to do so seamlessly from wherever I am that day. The location of the equipment that serves the application is irrelevant. The fact that services and applications come from a variety of datacenters is only problematic if that service isn’t available. If the server in Maryland is reliable, I may never know that it is sitting in Maryland even though it might rely on supporting services from Dallas and Boston datacenters.

Blind Descent Author Drafts Open Letter to Presidio

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Brian Dickinson, www.briandickinson.net

Blind Descent author and 7 Summit solo climber extraordinaire, Brian Dickinson, proves that we all can #makeithappen

Several years ago, Presidio connected with a local Cisco engineer, Brian Dickinson, who was trying to complete the 7 Summits and had Everest next on his list.  We helped to sponsor his journey, which quickly turned into a huge story of a harrowing descent once he reached the top.  Brian has since written a book, been interviewed by Anderson Cooper on CNN, and finished the 7 Summits successfully.   Brian is thankful for the support he received during his triumph feat and even thanked Presidio in his book. 

A Little About Brian Dickinson's Story

Evolving Cyber Security Attacks Bypass Legacy Protective Measures

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Q&A with Ernest Dunn, Presidio and Peter Romness, Cisco

To help our customers find out about the latest trends in cyber security and the measures they must now take to protect their businesses, Presidio recently interviewed Ernest Dunn, our Director of Secure Networks, as well as Peter Romness—Cisco’s Cyber Security Business Development Manager for the Public Sector. The valuable insights that Ernest and Peter provided appear below:

What cyber security trends you are seeing right now?

Dunn: We’ve seen the number of cyber attacks grow at an alarming rate. Every year, attacks amount to a $400 billion problem for organizations, and the attacks now hit a different tier of business than we saw in the past—literally impacting almost every type of customer we work with. The attackers use a variety of interesting techniques and are becoming more sophisticated in the ways they target and attack our customer base. 

The Reality of Database as a Service (DBaaS)

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Brian Feeny, Director of Engineering, South Florida, Presidio

There has been a proliferation in cloud offered services over the last few years.  Almost every vendor now has a cloud like offering or is selling their technology or software as a service. These services mean to simplify the costs and effort needed to deploy and maintain IT services. One of the latest offerings is Database as a Service.

Data is possibly the most important asset a business has.

Databases can be found everywhere in an enterprise. There are usually hundreds of databases and many have thousands. Just about every operational data store or reporting tool requires a database of some sort. Because departments within the enterprise have started to become autonomous from IT, you end up with a sprawl of databases, sometimes being managed by those with very little database knowledge or time to manage it.

Enter the appeal of a DBaaS. Companies have made their database products available in the cloud. This simplifies the startup and capitalization of database services, as well as the ongoing maintenance and support. Many of these services are “pay as you go” and have rather attractive price points. The amount of responsibility undertaken by the DBaaS provider generally includes:

Cisco’s New MDS Line is Worth Looking at. Here is Why.

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Raphael Meyerowitz, AVP, Data Center Technical Services, Presidio

In today’s highly-converged datacenter and the all-flash array market, more Fiber Channel and FCoE bandwidth has become a necessity. Video, Big Data, and the accelerated pace of private and hybrid cloud adoption are driving demand for increased data storage

Just a few months ago, Cisco announced that two new switches will be able to deliver this required bandwidth. The 9148S 16G fabric switch and the MDS 9706 director class switch are both new to the market and each will support 2, 4, 8 and 16 Gbps. Both of the new switches will continue to use the now 10-year-old NX-OS operating system and will support Data Center Network Manager. Some highlights are listed below:

MDS 9148S

  • Up to 48 x 16-Gbps at line-rate performance
  • Easily scalable in 12 port increments
  • Automated provisioning which prevents errors from occurring during zoning
  • Integration with UCS Director and EMC ViPR

MDS 9706

  • 16-Gbps are all at line-rate performance
  • Up to 192 16-Gbps ports in a 9U chassis
  • Multi-hop FCoE with a new 48x10G FCoE module
  • Support of over 4,000 logins per switch (100% improvement over previous generations)

MDS FCoE Line Card

The Mobility Cobblers’ Kids have Shoes

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Samuel Clements, Mobility Practice Manager, Presidio

The proverbial saying of the Cobbler’s Kids is true in the high tech industry. Even here at Presidio, as a nationwide top systems integrator, we find it challenging to carve out the time to implement our own technology in the same way we would comprehensively for a client. Mobility technologies are changing so fast and are so critical to productivity that we recently had to prioritize our own employee experience and standardize on the right tool set.  

Presidio is currently distributing, to all mobility employees, a common set of best of breed tools to enable a consistent delivery experience, companywide. Our clients can expect that as well, regardless of the geographic area they are engaged. The tools used to do a Wireless LAN design and troubleshooting are consistent across any team, in any area. This ultimately enables us to scale to meet any mobility project size by being able to leverage local engineering resources from across the country.

Networking Technology: Proactive Detection Continues to Evolve

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Kevin Corace, Sr. Solutions Engineer, Presidio

Over the past several years, there has been some good news for network administrators as the tools they use have transitioned from reactionary to proactive. Gone are the times when tools were only utilized to troubleshoot issues after a user reported it. Today’s tools have evolved to provide methods for IT staff to be able to detect issues as soon as they happen or to predict an issue before it impacts users. Not only has the technology we deliver to end users increased, but our ability to support it has as well. One of the keys to being able to transition to this proactive approach is to understand how the various technologies interact to provide an underlying infrastructure for an application. Once this is understood, you can test and alert upon the infrastructure as a whole, as well as the individual components.

There are several examples of how our day to day tools have evolved. Rather than responding to user complaints about poor voice quality over a network, we can now simulate voice traffic routinely, end-to-end, throughout the network and alert as voice traffic nears thresholds on critical factors such as jitter, latency, and loss. Instead of waiting for users to alert of wireless coverage issues, monitoring can now be done actively through access points detecting the signal strength of other nearby access points and showing the actual wireless coverage in an area.

Internet of Things for Enhanced Education Security

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Shawn Rahn, VP Systems Engineering, Presidio

Recently a local school system was looking for a way to introduce new technology into their massive transportation fleet in order to improve the service and security for students and drivers.  The school system covered a large geographic area, making the commute for many students quite lengthy. They desired to better utilize their video security solution, extend connectivity to students’ devices allowing for homework using back office systems to be done during the long commute, validate the vehicles were on time and securely on the prescribed route, and collect vehicle telematics information to ensure efficient vehicle operations.  While manufacturers like Cisco provide individual products, no manufacturer provides a unified architecture to meet the requirements of the physical vehicle environments or the integrated applications architecture the client desired. 

"I Read From a Laptop"

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Tom Gamull, Practice Manager, Workforce Mobility, Presidio

Students are digital natives that want to keep learning. But they are no longer limited to traditional text books, pencil and paper or in-classroom studies.  Virtual schools are here and they are demanding real-time, active learning, and opportunity to connect students to the rest of the world, not just their local classrooms.  As a matter of fact, it’s projected that by 2019, half of all high school classes will be conducted online.

So what does this mean to Public School systems who are looking to keep up with changing educational models but are relying on traditional IT infrastructure to enable change?  Atlanta Public Schools answered this question straight on.

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