Are you ready? Cisco Live 2017!

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Are you ready? Cisco Live 2017!

Hey everyone!   The dynamic Cisco Champion duo of Paul Campbell (@paulmc3) and Robert Hawley (@writeerase) are heading out to Cisco Live again this year representing ROVE!

Did you catch our recap from 2016?  If not, click here! This year we're going to switch it up a little bit and post a daily blog update highlighting the news of the day as best we can!

Now, down to business! Last year was my first Cisco Live and I learned a lot.  I'd like to provide 5 top tips for Cisco Live from my perspective.

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Netapp! Welcome to the HCI Party!

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Netapp! Welcome to the HCI Party!

As if the hyper converged market wasn’t already crowded enough with offerings from EMC, Cisco, Nutanix, and Simplivity, NetApp has finally thrown their hat into the ring today with a SolidFire based solution.  In my opinion SolidFire is an awesome product and I am happy to see NetApp finally doing more with it post-acquisition.  Based on the messaging and configuration options it is apparent they are targeting enterprise-scale workloads instead of edge use cases. 

Let’s dig in.

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Integrate Fortinet Firewalls to enhance Cisco ACI security

Welcome to a quick blog about enhancing your Cisco ACI security by integrating Fortinet Firewalls through L4-L7 service insertion.  

First, let's take a look at the topology we want to setup (pictured below, who doesn't like pictures?).  Underneath a single tenant and single VRF, we have two separate bridge domains called LAB_DATA and FortiTest.  LAB_DATA has three EPGs, and FortiTest has only one.  Underneath LAB_DATA's bridge domain we have two subnets configured.

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Physical Server Protection with Rubrik

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Physical Server Protection with Rubrik

Rubrik within a VMware environment has always been an easy sell. The product demos well and customers respond positively to how easy it is to set up and manage.  As with many other Virtualization focused data protection products however, protecting physical servers that still exist has been an issue.  As a result, many organizations use a secondary set of backup tools to handle the physical servers or an overly complex solution that does both physical and virtual.  As IT organizations search for simplicity and a better way to protect their data, Rubrik is definitely delivering.  As a former backup administrator, I always had to choose the backup product that stunk less and was never really impressed with any of the options that I had. I’m not sure it’s possible to make data protection sexy, but Rubrik gets REALLY close.

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Cisco CloudCenter Summary

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Cisco CloudCenter Summary

had the opportunity to attend a 4 day partner Cisco Cloudcenter (formerly known as CliQr) class. For those not familiar with CloudCenter, it is an Application-Defined Cloud Management Platform that allows users to easily deploy and manage any application on any supported cloud, (private, AWS, Azure, Google, etc.)

CloudCenter has a simple architecture that consists of 2 primary components:

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Goodbye VGA & HDMI Cable! Wireless DESKTOP Sharing is now available with Cisco Spark!

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Goodbye VGA & HDMI Cable! Wireless DESKTOP Sharing is now available with Cisco Spark!

We’ve been able to use Cisco’s Wireless Proximity feature for quite some time on Telepresence room systems registered to on-premise infrastructure (Unified Communications Manager or VCS) to share content (desktop screen, power point presentations, etc.), but this has been a much-requested feature for those of us who have taken the plunge into the world of Cisco’s cloud-based telephony platform called Spark.  Removing clutter from the conference room table top has been a goal of all our customers who are fed up with VGA and HDMI cables strewn all over the place.  A cable for sharing content has been required with room endpoints registered to the Spark service … until now!

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Plan, Execute, THEN Drink the Beer!

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Plan, Execute, THEN Drink the Beer!

Everyone's favorite thing to hate: planning.  I don't have all the answers, but I want to try to provide some guidance to someone specific.  Yes, you, the dude who recognizes the need for planning when nobody else around does. The dudette who is tired of having projects go awry every... single… time. Beers are great to celebrate a project victory, but a lot of us can often find ourselves using them throughout the project cycle to help numb the pain. I get it; I've been there.  

There are a lot of things that this post is not.  It is not a crash course in project management.  I don't talk about cool buzzwords like agile or scrum, and I'm not going to talk about change management processes.  It is simply a collection of my observations around the businesses I've worked in or with, and the multitude of projects I've seen succeed and fail. But read on, I think you'll still find it useful.

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The Amazingness That Will Be vSphere 6.5

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The Amazingness That Will Be vSphere 6.5

n case you haven't heard the news, VMware announced vSphere 6.5 at VMworld Europe this year.  The software hasn't actually released yet, and as usual I wouldn't recommend anyone jumps on the bandwagon at the .0 release (unless you have test environments).  Nobody wants to be that first gazelle across the river!

Make no mistake, there are a TON of new features and enhancements in this version, which you should be checking out on VMware's press releases.  I don't want to cover them all, as you'd need a gallon of coffee to make it through, but I did want to talk about a few of them that I'm personally excited about.

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Going above and beyond for customers

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Going above and beyond for customers

In today’s competitive market, “satisfactory service” is no longer adequate. Businesses have to exceed customer expectations in delivering exceptional services. But as a professional service organization, it is very difficult to gauge what that is. So……how do we do it?   

Each customer comes with different needs and expectations.  As we work closely with our customers, we need to determine how we fit into their plans and how much they are willing to invest in the relationship.  The key is to identify which role the customer wants us to play. Whether it be a “service provider” or a “trusted partner.”  With that said, given the services we offer and reputation we always aim for all customers to consider us as the latter.

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How to stay ahead as we migrate away from traditional route switch

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How to stay ahead as we migrate away from traditional route switch

For the past ten years, I have been a traditional route/switch network engineer.  I have worked with spanning-tree environments that needed to be cleaned up.  I've helped transition between protocols like MSTP, STP, and Rapid-PVST.  I've looked at the routing protocols and helped migrate from RIP to EIGRP or OSPF.  Looking at the WAN, we have MPLS, DMVPNs, and other carrier-grade circuits running various IGPs or BGP.  I've worked in the data center and held firm my delineation where the network ends and other teams begin.  But, is that the world we live in today?  No. For the past five years, I have become more intimately involved in technologies such as storage (storage pools, LUNs), server virtualization (multi-hypervisor, configurations, deployments), security, load balancing, and more.  That said, I know I'm not the only one.  I hear this from companies who are going through the transition or those that have completed it.  Some companies will maintain this segregation and siloed environments for a while, but the shift is here and the time to evolve is now.

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