David Greenfield

Network Computing Blogger


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Where the Cloud Touches Down: Simplifying Data Center Infrastructure Management

Thursday, July 25, 2013
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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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Thursday, August 8, 2013
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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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Avaya Flare: Eye Candy For Your CEO

Collaboration pundits got their drool opportunity last week with the introduction of Flare, Avaya's new communication tablet. For IT pros, Flare's real impact may have less to do what happens while in the hall and more at the desk. The Flare Experience, as Avaya calls it, is a new kind of interface that will initially be available on the Avaya Desktop Video Device. Think of it as an iPad for business users.

I know Avaya will hate that, but as a tablet, Flare will be naturally compared with the iPad, at least in the consumer market. Probably a better comparison will be Cisco's Cius, announced last June. The Flare and Cius are communications-oriented tables meant to unify all your communication and collaboration onto a portable device. There's a great video explaining Flare here. You can see a video about Cisco Cius here and read Network Computing contributor Lee Badman's blog on the Cius here. The iPad is at your neighbor's home.

"Flare is arguably the first unified app interface that integrates all those other applications into a single UI," Irwin Lazar, vice president of collaboration research at Nemertes, says.  "Rather than using the buddy list to launch separate windows, everything occurs within the same window."

Most UC systems begin with the buddy list and escalate from there into individual applications, IM, video conferencing, Web conferencing and so forth. Flare pulls those modalities together, along with social networking, business applications and more, into a single application across personal and professional contacts. You can bring contacts in from many sources including Skype and LDAP into a single experience, which should make the collaboration experience that much easier.

But mid-size enterprises aren't ready to allocate unified communications tablets to their employees, not when those tablets will run $1,500 to $2,000, and not when they're already buying them a laptop and a phone. There's also no way a Flare, with its 11.6" screen, will replace the convenience of a smartphone, besides the fact that it doesn't have 3G or 4G access. So who will Avaya target with Flare?


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