TechKnowledge: The Best of 2014

As we look back at 2014 to prepare for 2015, we thought it would be great to provide you with some of the best tips from our NEC Today series. So sit back, relax and prepare to be informed!

MOBILITY – COMMUNICATION

Creating a strong mobile platform provides flexibility for your workforce, but must remain secure in order to protect company assets. Take a look at these posts on the subject:

  1. Get the Best of All Worlds with In-Store Mobile
  2. How to Stay ‘Mobile’ during a severe Weather Event
  3. Healthcare Innovation for Improved Patient Experience
  4. Under the Sea…with Internet?

SDN

Software-defined networking supports business agility through architecture that is dynamic, manageable, and adaptable. Are your ready for some transformative technology?

  1. Is Your Company Seeking Business Agility? Uncovering the Business Value of SDN
  2. NEC Teams with Microsoft for flexible, open, standards-based SDN for the cloud

BIG DATA

A critical component and potential differentiator for businesses going forward, big data and analytics are showing up in every industry and business type, as you can see in the posts referenced below:

  1. Big Data to the Rescue!
  2. Armchair Quarterbacks Rejoice! Big Data is in the Game!

IERS

Our guest blogger, Matt Sarrel, provided us with many good posts on InfoFrame Elastic Relational Store, so if you are in need of information on high-performance databases building for high availability and flexible scalability, look no further! Here is a sampling:

  1. An Introduction to IERS and NoSQL/NewSQL
  2. An Interview with Atsushi Kitazawa of NEC Japan, the “Father” of IERS
  3. IERS is Built for Elasticity

We hope you enjoyed some of our best posts from 2014. We look forward to providing more compelling information in 2015, so check back regularly to see what’s going on with NECToday!

The Top Traits of Unified Communications Innovators

How to Benchmark and Rank Unified Communications (UC) Technology

nec-unified-communications-infrastructure-frost-sullivan-leadership-awardIt should come as no surprise to anyone that companies are still struggling to understand how to make the right technology decisions. Too often, businesses make important growth decisions based on a narrow understanding of their IT environment—which can have a negative impact down the line as the environment continues to change.

To avoid error when choosing new technologies, businesses need successful growth strategies that make use of innovative technologies. In order to determine what your business’s growth strategy should encompass, you need a thorough understanding of your market. By assessing the technical innovations within your market, your industry’s key challenges, your customers, and the best practices that have led to your own past successes, your business can preemptively ward off future regret by making the right technology choice the first time.

Key Industry Challenges

The businesses that are most equipped to meet the challenges of modern communications are already employing UC technology and infrastructure. They specifically leverage these new technologies to enhance the quality of communications for employees and customers, while also utilizing innovative UC technology and infrastructure as a means to optimize network traffic as network demand changes.

The following are two of the most common enterprise communications challenges that are addressed by UC technological innovation, and the most popular traits that innovative UC leaders have to answer those stresses:

• IT Infrastructure Stress—the transformation to modern unified communications platforms has seen enterprise communications become more reliant on IT infrastructure—particularly application and media servers, data center and campus IP networks, wide area networks, media gateways and session border controllers.

• Bandwidth Sensitivity—in converged voice, video, and data environments, bandwidth-sensitive IP telephony solutions are now sharing resources with other enterprise applications, with real time applications media traffic granted priority access through configurations set by network administrators. While Server and desktop virtualization has allowed UC to become increasingly dynamic in terms of on-demand capacity, the underlying infrastructure that carries voice and video traffic has largely remained static and unadaptable to utilization spikes.

Trait 1: Innovation-driven leaders are beginning to take a more holistic view of UC infrastructure.

Rather than treating the UC platform, data centers, and enterprise networks as discrete components, innovators are applying emerging standards within their own solutions to deliver a new level of intelligence and self-awareness to UC infrastructure. This ultimately allows UC systems to identify sources of trouble, and then adjust themselves to accommodate spikes in traffic or demand.

Trait 2: Innovative leaders enable UC and enterprise infrastructure solutions to thrive together rather than coexist.

Rather than having a static UC platform running alongside static infrastructure solutions, innovators are building intelligence and feedback loops between UC platforms and the enterprise network that empowers them. This allows the UC solution to preemptively prepare the infrastructure for planned events that will potentially stress it. Also, with the many existing manual configuration processes automated, the enterprise infrastructure is able to become as dynamic as the solutions it serves.

Key Benchmarking Criteria for Innovative UC Technology

Each year, Frost & Sullivan determines how best-in-class companies worldwide manage growth, innovation, and leadership. Based on the findings of their best practices research, they present an annual Global Technology Innovation Leadership Award in Unified Communications.

If you’re wondering how to differentiate between UC innovators, Frost & Sullivan has created criteria for benchmarking leading unified communications solutions.

1. Uniqueness of Technology
2. Impact on New Products/Applications
3. Impact on Functionality
4. Impact on Customer Value
5. Relevance of Innovation to Industry

Best Practice Award Analysis for NEC

NEC has been an early proponent, adopter, and provider of many new networking technologies. Frost & Sullivan analyzed NEC’s UNIVERGE 3C and UCaaS Solutions for technological innovation. Part of their findings include:

Impact on New Products/Applications

NEC’s UNIVERGE portfolio of solutions are built on key pillars of NEC’s IT Empowered Framework and Smart Enterprise programs, the foundation of which is utilizing adaptable network infrastructures. NEC’s UC products are therefore fully-distributed and data center-ready, virtualized UC solutions. In contrast, traditional network architectures require a near duplication of hardware and costs to achieve similar levels of business continuity and disaster recovery capabilities.

Impact on Customer Value

NEC’s innovation in delivering a high-level of integration between enterprise communication applications and the underlying infrastructure ultimately drives customer value through automation and optimizations. Integration with Software-Defined Networks (SDN) enables real-time communications between the UC platform and the network. NEC’s UNIVERGE 3C platform programmatically adjusts the infrastructure to work around trouble or allocate additional network resources to cope with spikes in demand without administrator interaction.

Global Technology Innovation Leadership Award

According to the 2014 Global Technology Innovation Leadership Award Report, NEC’s holistic approach to deploying enterprise communications solutions, and the level of automation and dynamic flexibility inherent in NEC UC infrastructures should appeal to customers and serve as a roadmap for the direction of communication networks.

But don’t just take our word for it.

Learn more about the criteria used by Frost & Sullivan in awarding the 2014 Global Technology Innovation Leadership Award in Unified Communications Infrastructure

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NEC teams with Microsoft for flexible, open, standards-based SDN for the cloud

In case you missed it, NEC announced on October 7 the general availability of their integrated compute and network orchestration solution for Microsoft Hyper-V and System Center Virtual Machine Manager customers. The streamlined infrastructure solution, with a REST-based northbound interface to applications from the ProgrammableFlow Software-defined Network and the integration with Virtual Machine Manager, enables application-aware networking and unprecedented levels of control and flexibility.

Mike Schutz, General Manager of Microsoft Product Marketing for the Server and Tools Group, talks about the collaboration between these strategic partners and the benefits customers can expect in a new video entitled NEC and Microsoft: Delivering Open, Standards-based SDN for Cloud. NEC is looking forward to demonstrating the technology at Microsoft TechEd May 12-15 in Houston, TX.

As a re-cap, here are key benefits customers can expect from this award-winning SDN solution:

  • Radically speeds network provisioning and configuration
  • Control data center traffic flow on a granular level, including dynamic, supplication-centric security policy for reduced OpEx and CapEx
  • Apply business policy consistently and automatically across the compute and network infrastructure for greater responsiveness to the business
  • Increase network visibility for greater manageability and accelerated troubleshooting
  • Enable isolated, secure multi-tenant networks for private clouds to meet compliance and service level goals
  • Improve throughput with the server and across the network fabric
  • Reduce power and footprint over traditional networks, with savings up to 80%
  • Scales to thousands of virtual networks, and hundreds of thousands of VMs
  • Provide an open, standards-based architecture for investment protection
  • Add, move or change virtual and physical networks in seconds from Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager, shaving days or weeks from traditional deployment models

For more information, go to necam.com/sdn, or customers can contact either NEC or their Microsoft reseller for further information.

What Do Intel’s Youngest Intern and NEC Have in Common?

Joey Hudy has been described as many things, including one of the 10 most brilliant kids in the world. He is a self-described “Maker” or someone who designs and builds things on his own time. Joey’s infamous “extreme marshmallow canon” made news when he launched a marshmallow across the East Room during the 2012 White House Science Fair. Another milestone for Joey is being appointed the youngest intern at Intel. At 16 years old, he has already achieved multiple accomplishments, including a solar-powered computer he submitted at another science fair. It’s that type of innovative thinking that helped Intel CEO Brian Krzanich hire Joey when they met at the Rome Maker Faire. Joey even has a personal credo that he has on business cards he passes out – “Don’t be bored, make something.” We couldn’t agree more, Joey.

Much like Joey, NEC also believes in “building something,” and we are also joined Intel recently when it released the new Intel® Xeon® processor E7 v2 product family. It’s the innovation of those chips that supports NEC’s latest enterprise server – the Express5800/A2000 (A2000) series server – providing a new class of server that manages big data projects, among others. In fact, the A2000 series server offers RISC-class availability, and is at least twice as fast as previous enterprise servers, making it ideally suited for enterprise mission-critical use.

Build with Innovation in Mind

When the NEC team makes a decision to “build something,” our standard is to empower it with innovation. The reality is that developing a new line of servers is certainly important to helping our clients’ growth, but it is even more powerful if we can help them reach new heights by combining technology for rapid transformation of their data centers, including virtualization. This is certainly the case when you combine the A2000 series server and software-defined networking (SDN).

With the advent of cloud technology and the continued need to process larger amounts of mission- critical data, it became time to rethink networking. NEC’s SDN offerings leverage the OpenFlow protocol in the ProgrammableFlow® networking suite. Combining SDN and the A2000 series server provides both server and networking virtualization that addresses the inherent challenge of inflexibility found in many IT data centers today.

Now, it is feasible to virtualize tier 1 applications with confidence. With its enhanced featured set, the A2000 series server provides excellent uptime and predictive failure analysis tools so that thresholds are continually monitored and SLAs are met.

It is this combination that intrigued NEC customer Edgenet, Inc., which collects, optimizes, and distributes data used by online retailers, search engines and consumers. Its systems process data for millions of products. Mike Steineke, VP of IT at Edgenet, had this to say:

“When you run applications that are mission critical and have high SLAs, it’s essential that hardware used in the infrastructure design mitigates the risk of downtime. NEC’s server architecture and engineering design were the biggest influence on our decision,” said Steineke. “The A2000 series server is engineered to offer advanced RAS features, such as redundant service processors or increased number of enhanced I/O slots, which Edgenet needs to provide continuous operation and performance. We are looking forward to combining the A2000 series server and ProgrammableFlow technology integrated with Microsoft’s SCVMM and Hyper-V to deliver improved management, reporting, quality-of-service, and dedicated resources for customer facing applications. It is this type of comprehensive solution offering that puts NEC at a level ahead of the competition.”

From Marshmallow Canons to Big Data

The A2000 series server offers up to 4TB of memory, making it an ideal platform for running in-memory databases. This capability supports rapid decision-making and large-scale analysis of complex data. The ability to analyze complex, robust data in minutes, rather than hours, provides opportunities for businesses to maximize profitability through greater access to important information.

There are other benefits as well, including having a smaller footprint and custom configuration options for performance requirements. In fact, there are exceptional levels of availability with this server for mission-critical applications, providing a better option over RISC. Some of the interesting technology benefits include:

  • 2 times* more powerful than NEC’s previous generation servers, with up to four CPUs using the Intel Xeon processor E7 v2 product family
  • Supports twice the memory capacity of current generation servers to support in-memory databases processing data at high speed using large-capacity memory
  • Highly efficient 80 PLUS® Platinum certified power supply significantly reduces power utilization when compared to current generation servers EXPRESSSCOPE ENGINE SP3 availability and serviceability framework delivers enhanced monitoring and autonomous operations
  • Improves efficiency through dynamic CPU core online additions when workloads increase, without suspending the system**
  • Responds to CPU and memory failures to ensure the system continues operating; memory can be added without a server reboot through a memory module hot-add feature
  • Includes up to 16 PCI-Express 3.0 slots (8x and 4x), delivering real-time analysis infrastructure that simultaneously supports network, storage and flash storage
  • Includes additional consolidation benefits (when compared to legacy two-way servers), such as: using nearly 78 percent less rack space; enabling nine-to-one conversion rate under standard test conditions, and delivering 124 percent more performance per watt.***

While the A2000 series won’t be launching marshmallows inside the White House, it will launch your business to new levels of reliability, flexibility, and cost savings. You can find more information on the A2000 series at www.necam.com/ExpressServer.

Is your company seeking business agility? Uncovering the Business Value of SDN

Gartner, in their research note, Ending the Confusion about Software-Defined Networking: A Taxonomy, published in March of 2013, states that “SDN is a new approach to designing, building and operating networks that support business agility. SDN brings a similar degree of agility to networks that abstraction, virtualization and orchestration have brought to server infrastructure.” If your company or organization is seeking agility, if competitors are nipping at your heels and the management team is constantly trying to move faster, more efficiently and innovatively, you will want to explore the benefits provided by this transformational technology: Software-defined Networking.

joe skorupa play image

Hear first-hand SDN thought leaders from NEC, IBM and featured analyst firm Gartner Research, talk about the business benefits of software-defined networking.

In a new interactive video, available from NEC and featuring SDN thought leaders from NEC, IBM, and Featured Analyst Firm Gartner, key questions are explored:

  • What is SDN and what are the key characteristics?
  • What business issues are propelling this technology?
  • What is the role of OpenFlow in SDN?
  • What are key SDN Use Cases?
  • How can a customer get started with SDN?

NEC has seen real benefits unfold for customers operating with ProgrammableFlow SDN in production today – some customers now with the PF6800 controller and OpenFlow-based switches have been functioning effectively for 2 years (including NEC’s own software development organization)! Examples of these key benefits have included:

  • Elimination of outsourced network engineers no longer necessary for network configuration assignments, saving one company over $70K annually
  • Reduction of resource usage, including power and square footage, by as much as 80% for another global Supply Chain leader
  • Indefinite delay of server purchases saving capital expenses at NEC itself
  • Operating expense savings at yet another customer in the area of 80% annually.
  • And at a service provider implemented in 2013, the new virtual hosting design and configuration enables the company to establish new customers on the day the order is placed, rather than 2-3 days later
  • This same customer has experienced decreases of 40% in the time spent on network maintenance, and a reduction of 90%+ in the time it takes to troubleshoot network issues, enabling the company to meet and exceed their Service Level Agreements

Learn more about the transformative benefits you can expect with this break-through technology. Watch the video today, and contact NEC to arrange your SDN pilot in 2014.