Mike Fratto

Network Computing Editor

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Where the Cloud Touches Down: Simplifying Data Center Infrastructure Management

Thursday, July 25, 2013
10:00 AM PT/1:00 PM ET

In most data centers, DCIM rests on a shaky foundation of manual record keeping and scattered documentation. OpManager replaces data center documentation with a single repository for data, QRCodes for asset tracking, accurate 3D mapping of asset locations, and a configuration management database (CMDB). In this webcast, sponsored by ManageEngine, you will see how a real-world datacenter mapping stored in racktables gets imported into OpManager, which then provides a 3D visualization of where assets actually are. You'll also see how the QR Code generator helps you make the link between real assets and the monitoring world, and how the layered CMDB provides a single point of view for all your configuration data.

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A Network Computing Webinar:
SDN First Steps

Thursday, August 8, 2013
11:00 AM PT / 2:00 PM ET

This webinar will help attendees understand the overall concept of SDN and its benefits, describe the different conceptual approaches to SDN, and examine the various technologies, both proprietary and open source, that are emerging. It will also help users decide whether SDN makes sense in their environment, and outline the first steps IT can take for testing SDN technologies.

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Cisco's Connect Cloud Policy Change Was Bad Business

Cisco did a very strange thing June 27: It pushed a firmware update to its Linksys EA4500, EA3500 and EA2700 wireless routers that required router users to create a Cisco Connect Cloud account and changed its privacy policy. The update gave Cisco the rights to collect and retain data. That's a problem for anyone who cares about privacy and could affect your organization's governance policy.

There are two troubling aspects to what happened: The first is requiring that end users create a service account before they're allowed to access the equipment they bought. When the access points shipped there was no such requirement, and when Cisco pushed out the new firmware, some owners were surprised to find they were locked out of the routers.

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Brett Wingo, VP and general manager of Cisco Home Networking, cheekily said in a blog post that the only people affected where those who opted in to automatic updates. ZDNet's Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols, who owns one of the affected router models, said auto-update was enabled by default. So, pretty much everyone who bought the product was affected. By the way, I turn off auto-updates on everything I own.

Wingo just announced that Connect Cloud is no longer required to manage the routers nor will Cisco arbitrarily disconnect Connect Cloud users from the service based on how they are using the Internet. Cisco is being responsive to the complaints.

The primary issue causing the uproar was a change in the Cisco Connect Cloud Supplement policy that stated the company could "keep track of certain information related to your use of the Service, including but not limited to the status and health of your network and networked products; which apps relating to the Service you are using; which features you are using within the Service infrastructure; network traffic (e.g., megabytes per hour); Internet history; how frequently you encounter errors on the Service system and other related information ('Other Information')" [emphasis added]. The policy immediately explains that this data will be used for support and optimized service. Cisco has since changed the supplement and removed the language granting it access to your data.

Next: When Data Gathering Makes Sense

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