Our insight

Richard Harvey

Solutions Architect and 2018 Cisco Champion

Recent Posts


DevOps is often thought of in a cloud context. But how can networking benefit from breaking down the silos of Development and IT Operations roles and introduce automation to achieve efficiencies, speed and agility? SD-WAN has the answer. 

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It’s argued that there is a place for both SD-WAN and MPLS in modern WANs. But we’re backing SD-WAN and for good reason...

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At the start of the month I was at Cisco Live in Barcelona: an entire week of presentations, workshops, networking and general hobnobbing among Cisco, its partners and IT professionals. I've been before, but this year I was with fellow solution architects Daren Vallyon and Adrian Clarke - a strong showing from Ideal.

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It's a few weeks since Cisco announced the next step in its journey toward simplifying and automating network provisioning and management: Cisco DNA Centre. Building on the APIC-EM, which we've been using for a while to help configure intelligent wide-area networks (iWAN), Cisco promises that DNA Centre will be a transformative tool in network design, provisioning, policy management, and support. It's up to people like me to work out whether and when that promise will be fulfilled.

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I've already written a bit about segregating enterprise networks, and about the new technologies that are making this easier and more effective. As Ideal's solution architect for networks it's something I get asked about a lot, so I thought it might be helpful to look at this from the customer point of view. You can probably boil it down to three questions: Do I need to segregate?, What do I need to segregate? and How do I segregate?

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We've talked a lot about software-defined networking (SDN) and the increasingly intelligent network hardware that enables it. Lately, fellow solutions architect Daren Vallyon and I have been trying to provide a bit more detail about how Cisco is innovating in both areas, with technologies like Digital Network Architecture (DNA) and Campus Fabric.

Our take on the details might be interesting to fellow technologists, but what if you're trying to build the business case for your organisation to invest in new networking technologies?

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We all know the Internet of Things (IoT) is coming, but a recent conversation made me realise that for some of us, it's already arrived. A colleague here mentioned that he'd got something like 20 connected devices on his home network. That seemed a bit of a stretch, so he listed them. After we'd enumerated computers (5), phones and tablets (5), Kindles (2), Audio and TV kit (4), network hardware (4), IP cameras (2) and a printer, we'd arrived at 23 devices, all on a single home network.

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Regular readers will know we've written a lot about the software-defined network (SDN), from explaining the concept in a two-page customer briefing, to building up a bricks and mortar analogy for what it actually means in real life. Inspired by Cisco's recent launch of Campus Fabric, I wanted to take a look at what comes next - and why we need it.

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Cisco's vPath is becoming well established within Nexus 1000V customer networks. I recently found myself with a requirement to add a load-balancing and three-tier firewall function to a VMware / FlexPod environment that did not have any existing hosting capability.

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