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Volume 29, Issue 3

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Jon Seals

Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) Provides Powerful Policy-Based, Programmable Automated Architecture to Support More Efficient, Highly Secure Data Center

SAN JOSE, Calif. – Online learning, high-speed mobile Internet access, continuous application deployments, research support, interactive learning modules, and aggressive hackers are just a few of the challenges in today's university IT environments. 

To address these requirements, provide a highly secure environment, and support the increased bandwidth need driven by online learning and interactive learning modules, Bowling Green State University (BGSU) in Ohio will deploy Cisco® Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) to support improved educational experiences both inside and outside the classroom. Cisco ACI™ will increase IT efficiency, reduce operational costs, improve scalability for future growth, and free up IT staff time to support new university initiatives and serve students faster.

Bowling Green State University will deploy Cisco ACI in a colocation facility, freeing up valuable on-campus space that will be repurposed for student services. IT management predicts that the time spent deploying applications and automating the underlying DC infrastructure, including setting up switch hardware, firewalls, servers, load balancers and applications, will be significantly reduced with the turnkey ACI programmable data center.

BGSU looked at other SDN solutions but decided they weren't as mature as Cisco ACI, according to Matt Haschak, director of IT security and infrastructure. While Cisco ACI was chosen for its ability to simplify and accelerate application delivery, the security aspects were equally important. "ACI is a policy-based architecture," Haschak explains. "Once you define those policies, they follow the applications no matter where they are stored or accessed, and everything else becomes faster, easier, more consistent and more secure moving forward. With ACI, we can see how everything is connected in a single pane of glass, and understand how security policies are being enforced."

Cisco ACI provides a fully integrated SDN approach focused on security multi-tenancy, policy-based centralized management, compliance from a single point of management for physical, virtual and container workloads, and an ability to scale quickly. ACI meets these expectations through an automated application-centric policy model with embedded security, while integrating a broad open ecosystem of industry leaders. ACI's integrated overlay and underlay network model provides full support of heterogeneous physical and virtual networks, using consistent policy, with single pane of management, with deeper visibility into infrastructure health, enabling faster troubleshooting of the whole data center environment. ACI's support for secure multi-tenancy is a key requirement for universities because they need to provide highly secure separation between research projects, administrative applications, student information, and other sensitive applications.

"When we started looking at SDN, we had three requirements," said Haschak. "We wanted an architecture that would allow us to be more efficient; that would be more flexible and open; and offer better, more consistent security. Our new architecture will allow us to evolve as an IT staff and as a university."

As part of its evolution, the university is expanding outside its traditional on-campus students, with initiatives like online learning. They are also working to meet student expectations for faster internet access and deliver the latest technologies in the classrooms for active learning. The new BGSU data center based on Cisco SDN technology will help the university meet those requirements and achieve new goals in the future. 

Frequently, department leaders find new applications they want to employ for teaching purposes and want them online quickly. With Cisco ACI, the IT department will be able to respond quickly to these requests without derailing other priorities. According to Haschak, "We needed the ability to develop a research network where we can provision resources for research projects and enable them to collaborate with others, while restricting access and maintaining security for core administrative systems."

With cloud solutions, the use of Cisco Unified Computing System (Cisco UCS®) and server virtualization, and ACI, the BGSU IT staff will consolidate 27 racks of equipment to four racks. The BGSU data center includes Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure (Cisco ACI), Cisco Nexus® switches, and the Intel® Xeon® processor-based Cisco UCS. The data center is a leaf-spine configuration, with the Cisco Nexus 9396 data center switch as a leaf, and the Cisco Nexus 9336 serving as the spine.

Additional Resources

Read IDC Report: Symantec Delivering on Its Strategic Vision with Next-Generation Secure Datacenter Powered by Cisco ACI
Learn more about: Cisco Data Center and Virtualization
Learn more about: Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI)
Learn How Cisco ACI delivers business outcomes
Cisco Data Center Services

About Cisco
Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) is the worldwide leader in IT that helps companies seize the opportunities of tomorrow by proving that amazing things can happen when you connect the previously unconnected. For ongoing news, please go to http://thenetwork.cisco.com.

Cisco and the Cisco logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Cisco and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and other countries. A listing of Cisco's trademarks can be found at www.cisco.com/go/trademarks. Third-party trademarks mentioned are the property of their respective owners. The use of the word partner does not imply a partnership relationship between Cisco and any other company.

Availability Disclaimer: Many of the products and features described herein remain in varying stages of development and will be offered on a when-and-if-available basis. This products and features are subject to change at the sole discretion of Cisco, and Cisco will have no liability for delay in the delivery or failure to deliver any of the products or features set forth in this document.

RSS Feed for Cisco: http://newsroom.cisco.com/rss-feeds

New Geospatial Meta-Mapping Platform Contextualises Data for Interiors and Places


DUNDEE, UKeeGeo, the UK-based 3D mapping company, today launched its geospatial meta-mapping platform which enables organisations to build interactive mobile applications to deliver content and location-based information. The eeGeo platform enables businesses across a range of sectors to easily visualise complex data sets on a geospatially accurate representation of the interior and exterior world. The platform is disrupting the industry through enabling customers to deliver engaging, compelling and differentiated 3D map experiences.


“The world is a three dimensional space and our platform accurately represents this as a global 3D map, transitioning seamlessly from outdoors with detail of all terrain, roads and landmarks, to the interior of buildings, right down to office, desk or counter level,” said Ian Hetherington, CEO, eeGeo. “We are able to visualise any space in intricate detail, including airports, shopping malls, museums, offices, stadiums and whole campuses. We enable location-based services in the widest sense, encompassing many vertical markets. With our solutions, businesses can extract meaningful understanding and insight from big data, all on one single integrated platform. Our most powerful differentiator is our ability to engage and retain users, a legacy of our video game roots.”


Hetherington continues, “This is a platform of true scale; to date we have built the entire USA, Britain, Canada and Japan, plus a host of iconic cities around the world. Building whole countries is carried out in response to customer demand, the process taking only a matter of weeks to create a country-wide, cloud-based map. This dynamic, interactive world enables our clients to highlight key destinations and places of interest specific to their brand, enriching the end user experience. eeGeo has helped clients within the facilities management, travel, tourism, local media and advertising sectors to successfully launch applications to better visualise data, increase engagement with customers and differentiate as brands.”


“This is no mean feat – after four years of intensive development we are really excited to bring eeGeo to market. The applications and use cases of the eeGeo platform are endless. In an increasingly mobile-first world it provides the ability to present multiple real-time data feeds within one visually stunning app, enabling end users to visualise, understand and act on information instantly and intuitively,” Hetherington added.


“Often businesses have the ability to attract users but struggle to maintain engagement and retention levels,” said Jeremy Copp, Chief Commercial Officer, eeGeo. “Presenting information and services on our platform maximises user acquisition, engagement and retention. As an example, our users have been found to interact with the application nearly three times longer than the sector benchmark and over-index on the frequency of use. And, NTT DoCoMo has successfully attracted millions of consumers after launching its 3D Map application delivered using the eeGeo platform.”


The cloud-based software as a service (SaaS) platform can ingest raw map and GIS data from any source, creating integrated 3D maps of any building interior, city or country. The platform delivers high performance, real-time streaming of the 3D maps over wireless networks, eliminating the need to store map data in the application or on the device. Streaming is optimised for mainstream mobile devices and low bandwidth networks to deliver a dynamic, interactive experience to all users. The platform software development kit enables customers to develop applications on a full range of device architectures including smartphones, tablets, browsers, PCs and virtual reality headsets.


The eeGeo 3D geospatial meta-mapping platform provides its customers with the following advantages:

  • Clear differentiation from competitors through the ability to fully customise the appearance and functionality of the map, specific to brand preferences
  • The ability to map the interior and exterior of buildings, providing an instantly recognisable environment for orientation and information discovery and an engaging user experience
  • No restrictions on business models, data or service types means that customers have the freedom to include all types of localised search and advertising results, to including display advertising and dynamic content
  • Transparent and cost effective, per-active-user, monthly pricing models enable customers to control the services margin without any surprises

Recce, the eeGeo proof of concept application, can be downloaded through the Android and iOS app stores. Recce provides users with insight into the eeGeo experience and is an example of some of the platform’s capabilities. Users can explore and navigate their way through major cities in 3D such as London, San Francisco and New York, whilst discovering key points of interest around them.


About eeGeo

eeGeo is revolutionising the way in which businesses engage with their markets. With its gaming industry heritage the cloud-based platform marries gaming software with mobile technology and big data. The result is a 3D geospatially accurate representation of the world, including building-level detail and interior and exterior mapping. The platform enables clients to present information and services to their customers in an environment differentiated from their competitors. It provides a new way to visualise local search results, businesses, destinations and marketing content within an interactive 3D environment, encouraging user acquisition, engagement and retention.


eeGeo is a UK-based, privately held company founded in September 2010 and is funded through investment from the founder, strategic partners, private investment funds and venture capital. eeGeo’s global customer base includes top brands from a range of sectors including retail, tourism, smart cities, local media and advertising, the Internet of Things and property.

More information and a full list of eeGeo’s customers can be found on the eeGeo website.

  • TalkTalk’s data breach is the latest high-impact attack by cybercriminals
  • 90% of Brits worry about the security of personal information online
  • One in five have been a victim of identity theft
  • Almost half (42%) don’t use online protection software

LONDON – Affinion International is today reminding consumers in Britain of the steps they can take to better protect their information online. The advice comes in the wake of last week’s data breach at telecommunications provider TalkTalk.

Research conducted by Affinion demonstrates that Brits are spending longer online and are increasingly concerned about the safety of their personal information online. Nine out of ten are worried about personal details being available publicly online, with a similar number (92%) concerned about fraudsters illegally obtaining their financial information.


Despite high concerns about personal data security, 13% of Brits admit they do nothing whatsoever to protect their information while online, a figure rising to 26% among 18-24s. Almost half (42%) of consumers do not use any online protection software, leaving themselves vulnerable to online criminal threats including phishing, key logging and screen capture malware.

Top tips to minimise your risk of identity fraud

  • Use complex passwords and never use the same password for more than one account, especially for banking
  • Check your credit report frequently for any unauthorised entries - 46% of all online fraud is first found by spotting something irregular on a credit report.
  • Check your bank and credit statements as soon as they arrive
  • Employ protective software across your PC and mobile devices to boost protection of your personal and financial details online against the latest threats of keylogging and malware
  • Use a shredder before throwing away personal letters and documents.

“While companies are ultimately responsible for protecting their customers’ data there are simple steps that people can take to protect themselves online,” said Giles Desforges, Affinion International’s Senior Vice President Northern Europe. “Customers should be proactive in monitoring their credit reports for unusual activity and they should use software to protect personal data and passwords while using the internet. Affinion helps brands to meet the needs of their customers and add value by offering easy to use credit monitoring and data protection products”.


Affinion International provides mycreditmonitor – www.mycreditmonitor.co.uk to support consumers with expert help and tools to manage and improve their credit score. The tool offers 24/7 monitoring of a credit profile, alerts over significant changes and helps customers spot potentially fraudulent activity.


About the research

The report entitled Data Security Research was compiled using a combination of consumer research, secondary research and market forecasts. Consumer research was based on a survey conducted with a UK nationally representative poll of 2,002 consumers.


About Affinion International

Affinion International, a division of Affinion Group, provides a wide range of protection and lifestyle products that offer value to consumers whilst building additional revenue streams and increased customer-to-brand loyalty and engagement for its partners. The division is made of more than 1,200 employees and offers services in 17 countries throughout Europe, Africa and South America. Over the past 15 years, Affinion International has built an impressive client base that includes 13 of the top 20 EU banks and many of Europe’s premier brands in travel and retail. For more information, visit www.affinioninternational.co.uk


About Conlumino

Conlumino is a retail research agency and consulting firm, focusing on all aspects of retailing and consumer behaviour. They work with many of the world’s leading retailers, property firms and those in the financial sector to help them maximize success through developing a thorough understanding of the sector and its likely future performance. They also work with many retail suppliers, from manufacturers to professional services firms.


Wednesday, 28 October 2015 00:00

The State of the Cloud 2015

Cloud technologies and services such as cloud-based file sharing are at or moving towards the forefront of today’s IT world. But some of the information we found may be surprising even to a knowledgeable MSP. Using data from a CDW report on all things cloud computing and a survey conducted by RightScale, we have selected some important facts and figures on the current cloud landscape.



We’ve all had “that person” in our organization. The one who risks business security, who downloads information to personal accounts, who disregards IT policy and tries to save everything on a local device. So far in my lengthy career, I’ve worked with people who had these real incidents:

  • the CEO who dropped his mobile phone in the ocean during the company’s sales club trip to the Caribbean.
  • the sales manager who left her laptop at airport security — and flew across the country without it.
  • the engineering lead who lost his corporate phone in a New Orleans taxi during Microsoft TechEd.
  • the marketer who used a personal Dropbox account to share sales report data with his team – then left the company for a competitor.



Many British businesses have been lulled into a false sense of security when it comes to protecting their critical data from breaches, a new survey has found.

Research conducted by YouGov on behalf of Ilex International found that many firms express high levels of confidence in the defences they have in place, despite the growing threat posed by cyber criminals.

Almost a quarter of IT decision-makers surveyed (24 per cent) described themselves as very confident in their solutions, while a further 59 per cent said they were fairly confident their business is protected against data breaches.

Thierry Bettini, director of International Strategy at Ilex, said that given the fact the UK is a major economic centre and therefore a key target for cyber attacks, this level of confidence is concerning and “completely misplaced”.



Wednesday, 28 October 2015 00:00

Cloud Gateways in the Enterprise

In basic terms, cloud gateways translate block or file commands to the cloud via REST or SOAP APIs. They may be physical or virtual appliances, and in some cases, they are storage systems. Specific offerings vary. Some gateways are primarily caching mechanisms to speed up data transfers. Cloud gateways scale up the business food chain from SMB to the enterprise. For mid-sized businesses and enterprise, more advanced gateways offer robust features beyond simple caching.

Enterprise development is centering on gateways with added value, such as NAS storage systems with cloud enablement, native data protection, distributed file sharing and robust security. As of yet, gateways are not sufficient to translate high transaction commands to the cloud.

Some commenters put cloud storage gateways into the STaaS (storage as a service) category, but they aren't really the same thing. They require an on-premise appliance or storage system to work. Whether physical or virtual, the devices require IT optimization and maintenance time, as well as sufficient bandwidth to work. However, their value is clear when faced with the alternative of sending data to the cloud without a gateway.



Wednesday, 28 October 2015 00:00

Hurricane Patricia and Severe Weather Planning

Monumental damage was averted this week as Hurricane Patricia narrowly missed the urban centers of Puerto Vallarta, Manzanillo and Guadalajara and then downgraded when she reached the coastal mountains near Cuixmala in Jalisco state of southwest Mexico.

Strongest Pacific Hurricane on Record

With off-shore winds recorded at over 200 miles per hour, Patricia was recorded averaging 165 MPH when she hit land at 6:15 on the evening of 10/23.  The most powerful Pacific hurricane on record, Patricia, luckily resulted in considerably less damage than predicted and no loss of life.



Wednesday, 28 October 2015 00:00

Apple in the Enterprise: Is It Real This Time?

Apple has set its sights on the enterprise. This is nothing new, of course, as Apple has wanted to play a part in the world of professional data communications for decades.

But with its hold on consumer gadgets, and the idea that most knowledge workers would prefer to use a single client device for both their personal and professional lives, the company is now angling to invade the workplace in a big way.

Apple announced last month that the company earned about $25 billion in revenues from enterprise channels last year, which would be a stunning result for any other company but actually amounts to about 11 percent of Apple’s total haul. The company is busy working with IBM and others to make the iOS operating system more compatible with the enterprise back end, but as ZDNet’s Steve Ranger points out, rigid pricing and a high level of secrecy regarding future development paths make it hard for the enterprise to fully commit to the Apple platform. As well, business organizations are much less willing to pay the premium prices that Apple charges to consumers.



Wednesday, 28 October 2015 00:00

Grant Will Give County Back-up 911 System

(TNS) - Butte-Silver Bow has secured a $185,000 grant to set up an alternative 911 call center at the Emergency Operations Center on the Flat should the one at the Sheriff’s Department in Uptown Butte go down.

The federal grant, administered through the state, will pay for the entire system and equipment. It was one of the priorities when construction on the emergency operations center building was completed nearly a year ago.

The $3.5 million state-of-the-art building also houses the Butte district of the Montana Highway Patrol and a driver’s license office.