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The Coming Server-pocalypse

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Companies throughout the world have been very busy for the past couple of years upgrading their Windows XP systems before the end of extended support earlier this year. While many began to breathe a sigh of relief when that project wrapped up (and others are continuing to work through it), there really isn’t time to rest. The reason: There is another deadline that is quickly approaching which should be of equal, if not greater, concern.

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At-a-Glance Guidelines: Understanding the Federal Criminal Justice Information Services Security Policy

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Our nation’s state and local law enforcement agencies have looked to the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Security Policy for many years to set the standard for security requirements in the industry. The CJIS Policy dictates the minimum level of security requirements while providing guidelines and agreements for organizations to protect the transmission, storage and generation of criminal justice information (CJI).

Already Made a Move to the Cloud with Office 365? What other Cloud Platforms Should You Consider?

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Many enterprises are happily running their Office desktop apps or Exchange, SharePoint, Yammer and Lync services online through Office 365 subscriptions. Some now are asking what other workloads they might move to the cloud. Microsoft Azure answers that need and complements Office 365 through its platform and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) offerings.

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Evolving Technology and Network Choices

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I’ve seen plenty of change throughout my career.  The first big wave was IP telephony, then a large security wave, next up was wireless and then security again. Now, we are on to the data center.  I have learned that the more we change the better we become, and the more our users rely upon the services we provide.

Technology, specifically IP-based networking technology, is no longer a luxury – it is something that we all have become dependent on.  For example, school systems are starting to use tablets over traditional books.  When networking outages started to be related to revenue lost, I knew it was a big deal.  Now if the network is down – our children’s’ education could be effected.

While we are becoming more dependent on IP Internetworks – our forwarding decisions are still largely based on technology that was developed in the ’80s and ‘90s.  Literally, BGPv4 – something that was standardized in 1994 – carried the IP packet that delivered this post to you.

Admittedly, there has been work to enhance our routing protocols each and every year.  But largely they are all founded on simple destination-based forwarding.  While destination-based forwarding works perfectly well, it does not offer the granular flexibility that modern day applications and engineers require.

Intelligent WAN Design

Enter the concept of Intelligent Wide Area Networking – or iWAN.  iWAN is a huge idea.  At its core, it is a graceful way to determine path by application.  This is a grand shift of thought.  As I previously stated, forwarding decisions are currently destination or subnet based.

Diving a bit deeper: The typical subnet may contain hundreds of applications inside.  As a result, in a traditionally routed environment, all applications within that subnet or destination would follow the same path.  The iWAN concept allows us to intelligently program the network to take full advantage of multipath networks on a very granular basis.

iWAN could not have come at a better time.  The businesses that we support are adopting cloud services faster than ever before.  This means, as network engineers, we need to build our network more flexible, more agile and more cost effective than ever before.  iWAN provides us all of this ability plus much more.

Windows Server 2003 Retirement: Risk and Reward

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By now everyone knows that Windows Server 2003 is fast approaching end of life. But each organization needs to assess the impact, both in terms of the risks of not removing Windows Server 2003 from the infrastructure, and the rewards of deploying a current server OS in the data center. In this brief blog post, we will examine each, the risks and the benefits, with the hope that your organization will benefit.

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An Open Cloud Computing Email to the CIO – Part 1/2

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In the following blog post, the people are make-believe, but their situation is real.

Dear Mr. CIO,

As you know, I have worked for ABC Company for the last 14 years. In this time, I have given my blood sweat and tears to this company with very little vacation time. Besides a day off here and there, you’ll find me with my ear in my phone and my face in my laptop the whole time.