Sunday, November 30, 2008

Campus Communication Fabric Architecture


Architectures are more important than Network Designs. The network is more than a platform for transporting packet of information. Same as constructing a building with an architectural plan, IT infrastructures should be developed with an architectural framework in mind in order to prevent it from collapsing and allowing scalability. The goal is always to prevent the IT platform from having fires and produce costly revenue losses.

A Campus Communications Fabric framework can help a business solve complex planning issues, provide support for rich-media applications, enable consistent services and policies, and take advantage of a Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) foundation, among other things. What that means is that the network will be scalable to any level, will recover itself from failures, and will become a revenue generating and cost reducing instrument without major hassles, specifically for media transport purposes in the Campus. i.e. Using high-definition TelePresence video as meeting medium.

There are six attributes of the Campus Communications Fabric:

  1. Application Intelligence: Take control of applications and user experience
  2. Unified Network Services: Connect any person to any resource with any device
  3. Integrated Security: Secure every port with built-in protection for access, identity, and data
  4. Nonstop Communications: Stay connected with a resilient infrastructure that enables business continuity
  5. Virtualization: Simplify your network and maximize resource utilization
  6. Operational Manageability: Do more with less—deploy services faster and automate routine tasks

For more information on the value of an architectural framework, just visit Wikipedia, and search for the definition of Architecture: "the design of the total built environment, from the macro level of how a building integrates with its surrounding man made landscape". You can substitute the word "building" for "IT platform or Network", and "man made landscape" for "interrelated IT applications".

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Apples in the office


After three years of my IBM Thinkpad T43, the time has come to get a new laptop for work. I love my Thinkpad: it resists everything, and Windows XP is a great OS too. This time, I have decided to try out a MacBook Pro for the office.

My decision was based on two things. First of all, I can't seem to get over the idea of running 3 more years of an almost end-of-support Windows XP operating system. It is great, but I would rather have the option of a Windows Vista laptop. Second, I am not familiar with Apple at all. Yes, I have an iPod, and all I know is that the OS is based on FreeBSD. There is something very attractive about having to learn something completely new.

I have always thought that Mac's were for the home user and that Apple had very little to offer to the enterprise. This time, I will experience firsthand if that is true. I will be using this very same MacBook for 3 years as well.

I am compiling a list of applications that I use and its Mac OS-X version. I am collecting them in a dedicated del.icio.us page under a Mac-Migration tag. Some of my everyday apps and tools that I will be using are:

  • Cisco VPN Client for Mac OS X for my virtual office
  • Opera Web Browser for Mac OS X
  • VMWare Fusion for Mac OS X for running Windows XP and the apps that have no Mac version
  • Cisco Unified Personal Communicator for Mac
  • Twhirl with Adobe Air as my Twitter client
  • Adium as a multi IM platform client to connect to my corporate Sametime IM server and Yahoo Messenger for external communications
  • MS Office 2008 for Mac OS X, with Entourage as the primary email and calendar client (IMAP).

There are very few important applications that I will not be able to install natively in the Mac, but that I can install in a virtual instance of Windows XP. These are a design application that I use every day, Netformx, and WebEx Connect for my collaboration spaces and document repository. Netformx will be the ultimate test because I use it every day, but I am not concerned as everybody tells me that it runs fine in Fusion. WebEx Connect has a web-based client in beta today and, hopefully, there will eventually be a Mac version released.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Cloud computing's future

Cloud computing or offering software-as-a-service (SaaS) such as Google Docs, Collaboration Spaces, and even Yahoo Mail, is maturing at an accelerated pace. The key component: good old open-source...

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