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Adventures with Pi #1 – ConsolePi

Take one look at me and you’ll quickly identify me as someone who loves pi (and pie). Specifically, the Raspberry Pi, they are a permanent accoutrement to my workspaces. With the Pi 4 now officially out what better time to dust off those old Pis and put them to work in your network tool kit. Chances are you already have all the components laying around.

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Cisco Webex Contact Center (aka CJP) Update

Cisco is and has been a leader in on-prem solutions for Contact Center and now is leading in Cloud solutions for CC as well.  Appropriate for solutions that range between 21 – 300 agents, Webex Contact Center enable Sales and Service departments in an enterprise find and fulfill customer needs.

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Introducing ACELA - The Lifecycle Management Tool

Being in the IT world, we know how difficult it can be to track maintenance and support contracts on one’s network infrastructure. Pouring through endless lines of confusing spreadsheets trying to identify what you need to renew support on can make your eyes cross and want to throw your hands up in defeat.  Between asset tracking and the renewal process, too much time is consumed going through one’s entire environment to make sure all items are captured. 

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Cisco Live 2019 Recap

Last week was the long-awaited Cisco Live 2019! And two of our wonderful engineers wrote up their thoughts on the week. For a quick recap check out Dominic Zeni's overview of the week below and if you want a more in-depth recap check out Trevor Butler's deep dive into the Cisco Live 2019 World.

 

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For the Short Attention Span Readers:

Another year, another Live!  Building Bridges was one of the themes of this years’ Cisco Live and you can see it ringing true across the portfolio.  Take Cisco Umbrella for example.  It is no longer just a DNS layer security tool.  Using the cloud-native Umbrella application, Cisco has built integrations to CloudLock, SDWAN, and soon ThreatGrid.  With just the click of a button from your vManage, you can build tunnels (bridges??) from your SDWAN to your Umbrella and begin leveraging the full featured Umbrella Secure Internet Gateway.  Or how about Cognitive Collaboration, building bridges to well…everywhere!  Taking in contextual information from the Internet in all forms, Cognitive Collaboration promises to make us more prepared, more productive, and more successful in the meetings we attend.  The new SVP of Collab, Amy Chang, came to Cisco through an acquisition of Accompany (the technology at the heart of Cognitive Collab).  I’m very excited for the things to come from Amy’s team and Cognitive Collaboration.  At the heart of all of these technological bridges are API’s.  So, where’s the bridge for me as a traditional systems or network engineer that takes me from the CLI or the GUI to the API?  Enter the new DevNet certifications announced at Cisco Live.  A path (bridge??) for learning is very helpful when approaching an ocean of new technology and I’m excited to see what it’s all about! - Dominic Zeni

 

For The Insatiable Readers:

This year Cisco Live was held in sunny San Diego. Between the breakout sessions, the walk-in labs, and an amazing performance by Weezer and the Foo Fighters, Cisco announced some new products and new certifications.

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5 Key Components to Successful Project Management

Project Management has many highs and lows; often times with unexpected twists and turns, yet even with all the uncertainty accompanying a typical project, with the focus and the right skills, you can help steer your project to success.  Being an effective project manager enables you to utilize your skills to be a problem solving and creative leader where you can foster synergy within a team to accomplish great feats. As the project manager you are the face of the project and how you present yourself and manage your team will have a huge impact on whether you succeed or fail.  By definition, each project is unique, but it’s not difficult to find commonalities woven throughout all projects.  Mastering these specific aspects of a project, can set the stage for successful projects moving forward.

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Maximize your time at Cisco Live!

The countdown begins for Cisco Live 2019 in San Diego! We are super excited to see all that Cisco will be presenting and introducing to us. We thought that we would give you our top picks of sessions to attend during this jam packed, awesome week!

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Take the Assessment: Should I hire a managed service provider?

 

If you are like many of our customers, you have asked the question “Why would I hire an MSP?” or you have considered hiring a managed service provider but not sure if it makes sense. Before we get into does it make sense or not, you need to know where you are at. To do that we recommend you ask yourself a few questions. Based on the answers to these questions you will have a better sense if you should consider a managed service provider. Let’s get to it!

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Welcome to the Family: The Catalyst 9200 is Born

 

Two years ago Cisco introduced the Catalyst 9000 series switches as the next generation of campus switches.  Every Catalyst switch family had an equivalent 9K to replace it; the 3800s were replaced with the 9300, the 4500s were replaced with the 9500, and the long standing 6500 chassis switches were replaced with the 9400.  Cisco was consolidating all Catalyst switches into the 9000 series, well all but one.  It seemed, at the time, that the wildly successful Catalyst 2000 series switch was spared from the chopping block as there was no comparable 9K.  Enter the 9200!

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Meraki and Webex Calling – or how to avoid startup growing pains

 

As IT consultants in the Bay Area, we see a lot of startups.  Small businesses with bold ideas filled with hard working people focused on achieving a specific goal.  Usually in their infancy, these businesses focus all their time and money on the goal they are trying to achieve and usually don’t have the dedicated staff needed to support enterprise IT solutions.  The employees are extremely sharp and very tech savvy, able to quickly piece together solutions to fit their needs that actually work pretty well.  Ran out of ports on a switch?  Order an inexpensive PoE switch and start daisy chaining them!  More ports = problem solved.  Same goes for wireless, if you have a dead spot, just get another AP.  If you want video in a conference room, get some 3rd party camera to work with Google Hangouts. 

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Webex Update: Connecting PSTN to Webex Teams

 

Cisco Spark Call was able offer customers ready to move their PBX to the cloud a simple, easy, all cloud offer including PSTN connectivity. While it was and continues to be a great option for a number  customers, those shops that were either locked in to carrier PSTN agreements or only wanted to move a portion of their users but didn’t want to compromise with a fractured dial plan have been without a clear path of migration to cloud, until now. With Webex Teams Calling, customers have the capability of moving their entire user base or just a subset of users to a cloud first PBX all while retaining their existing PSTN circuits.

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