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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 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.

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Windows Server 2003 Retirement – Are You Ready?

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Indulge me with a trip down memory lane.  Let’s go back to 2003.  What a great year. Apple introduced iTunes, American Idol debuted on television and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers won the Super Bowl.  In addition, Wikipedia was launched, the idea of Myspace (remember that) was born on a whiteboard and Mark Zuckerberg (creator of Facebook) entered Harvard – all in 2003.

On April 24, 2003, Microsoft released Windows Server 2003.  It has been supported for the last 11 years.  However, on July 14, 2015, Microsoft will cease creating updates, service patches, phone support and web support for the venerable operating system.