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What is the Cisco UCS Manager?

Article | Feb. 01, 2012

The Cisco UCS is truly a “unified” architecture that integrates three major datacenter technologies into a single, coherent system: Computing Network Storage Instead of being simply the next generation of blade servers, the Cisco UCS is an innova­tive architecture designed from scratch to be highly scalable, efficient, and powerful with one-third less infrastructure than traditional blade servers.

How to Design a Cisco Wireless Lab

Article | Feb. 14, 2012

Previously, I talked about the logical and physical steps to building a basic certification lab, concentrating mostly on the CCENT/CCNA Routing and Switching level. Once you have that set of certifications under your belt, there are several options for specialization. Each of these advanced technology tracks serve as methods of enhancing your professional skill set as follows:

Cisco UCS: Spanning-Tree Need Not Apply!

Article | Feb. 15, 2012

Anyone who’s managed switches over the years knows that the Spanning-tree protocol (STP) is both the best and worst thing to ever happen to the data center at layer 2 of the OSI model. On the plus side, the Spanning-tree protocol is what first allowed us to create redundant paths within our switching infrastructure, making our data center much more resilient to outages than ever before. Anyone who’s experienced a “broadcast storm” knows the full value of Spanning-tree in the traditional switching environment. We’ve also seen many improvements in Spanning-tree over the years to make it work faster and more efficiently (i.e. Rapid Spanning-tree, Bridge Assurance, and many others).

How to Configure a Cisco Wireless Lab

Article | Feb. 28, 2012

Configuring a wireless lab for study and testing capabilities is a bit more involved than you might think at first glance. Most of the requirements take place on the management devices, but the underlying switch infrastructure requires some preparations as well. The tasks involved are as follows:

What Kind of Network Am I On?

Article | March 01, 2012

Good question! There are lots of networks, so I’m sorry to say that it depends. Let me explain. The smallest computer-based networks are usually PANs or Personal Area Networks. They can connect a wireless keyboard, mouse, or other devices to a computer. You may find them wirelessly linking a printer to your computer. You may have noticed these all include wireless connections. A PAN most often uses wireless technologies like infrared and Bluetooth, so it is really a WPAN (Wireless Personal Area Network).

Virtualization: Myths vs. Facts

White Paper | March 05, 2012

Examine fifteen common myths surrounding virtualization, including many that prevent IT administrators (or their bosses) from getting the maximum value from virtualization. This paper is designed to be vendor-neutral; in other words, the basic concepts and advantages are the same whether you choose to use Citrix XenServer, VMware vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-V, or one of the many Linux-based solutions. We'll break the reasons into three broad categories (Cost/ROI, Performance, and Other), allowing you to focus in on a specific area if desired, or you can review the entire white paper for a broader view.

Incidents and Problems - Workarounds

Article | March 14, 2012

In my last post I discussed aspects of problem management in the context of a real-life situation regarding the first vehicle I owned. In that scenario, and throughout this series of posts, I’ve demonstrated a real-life situation from a standpoint of the incident and problem management processes that ITIL describes.

Defining QOS (Quality of Service)

Video | March 15, 2012

Global Knowledge Course Director and Lab Topology Architect Joey DeWiele, a specialist in Unified Communications, explains QoS.

Go Further with Microsoft Certification

Video | March 15, 2012

The 'Go Further' video is an testimonial to the value of Microsoft Certification as a validation of technical skills. Whether you're just starting your IT career, or looking to advance it, certification can make a huge impact. Take a look at the video, and hear the stories of real MCPs.

VXLAN: What is It, and Why Do We Need It - the Conclusion

Article | March 26, 2012

In the previous post, we discussed the need for VXLAN in the cloud along with the issues it solves. In this post, we will focus more on how VXLAN works.

Five Secrets for Successfully Virtualizing a Data Center

White Paper | April 04, 2012

Here are some secrets, tips, and tricks for virtualizing your datacenter. We want to introduce some best practices for virtualization, while not being too biased towards one virtualization vendor or another. We'll use some common examples of products and tools that work with VMware's vSphere and Microsoft's Hyper-V, but with an eye toward virtualization in general, and not the specifics of any of the capable platforms that could be used). We will assume, however, that bare metal hypervisors, in other words virtualization platforms where the hyper visor is the OS, will be used as opposed to running a hypervisor on top of an existing general-purpose operating system (which is great in a lab, but terrible for data center projects).

Five Secrets for Successfully Virtualizing Desktops

White Paper | April 04, 2012

These five "secrets" to virtualizing desktops will greatly increase the chance of a successfully VDI implementation. It is very important to plan for this; to balance the hardware environment to handle not just average but peak load; to properly size storage, not just for capacity, but for performance as well; to minimize the number of base images so that the costs of maintaining each can also be minimized; and to accept and embrace the fact that people will connect with a wide variety of devices, and to create a plan to accommodate as many of these devices as is feasible at the lowest cost.

An Introduction to PMI’s Project Management Life Cycle

Article | April 06, 2012

The term "life cycle" implies two things: that a process is perpetual and that the sequence of events is obligatory or uni-directional. There is no beginning or end to a life cycle and the sequence of events cannot change. A seed cannot go directly to being a mature plant nor revert back to the blossom stage.

10 New Features for Citrix XenApp 6.5

Article | April 09, 2012

XenApp 6.5 brings a host of features and benefits that most companies will need as the technology continues to evolve and user requirements continue to expand.

The Difference Between a Project and a Service

Article | April 11, 2012

During a recent ITIL foundation class, a student asked an interesting question. She wanted to know: “What is the difference between a project and a service?” To be honest, I haven’t spent much time thinking about this distinction. However, I think that those of us who practice ITIL consulting and training should have good answers to questions such as this. Here’s how I answered this question.

12 Steps to Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Success

White Paper | April 16, 2012

IT departments have multiple opportunities and challenges as a result of the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) invasion. The most common opportunity is to reinforce enterprise network security from both the inside and the outside. Supporting BYOD also offers more monitoring and tracking of activities that provide a more detailed view of network traffic flow. Alternatively, it will be a challenge for some IT departments to give up control over which devices may access their enterprise network. Another challenge will be to have the users doing configurations for network access, which adds human error to a crucial part of the process. The opportunities and challenges BYOD represents are real. Enterprises must make their network infrastructure BYOD ready to meet the onslaught.

Incident Management Process Flow – Which Comes First, Categorization or Initial Diagnosis?

Article | April 18, 2012

What's the correct sequence of activities for handling an incident? Find out why categorization occurs before initial diagnosis in the ITIL incident management process flow so you can answer this common ITIL Foundation exam question.

Introduction to Juniper Junos

Article | April 23, 2012

None of us have much time to waste, so what can you do when your environment changes quickly and you need to come up to speed on a device that you have never seen before? You find the quickest way to bring yourself up to speed. Some of you will have experience with other vendors’ equipment, and some of you will not have much experience at all; therefore, we will focus on topics that will get your feet wet the quickest and have you talking Junos in no time.

Seven Security Myths of Windows 7

White Paper | May 10, 2012

Network security is everyone's concern, and this applies to computer security as well. Many security breaches occur due to user ignorance of basic security principles, not malicious intent. Network and computer security are like an onion - there are multiple layers. Good security begins with understanding what you can do to keep your systems safe and implementing a layered approach. If you depend on one program or feature to secure your computer, then when (not if, but when) that dependency is breached, you may have personal information stolen or even have your computer taken over.

When Learning Fails: Six Classic Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Webinar – Recorded | May 12, 2012

Everyone has been involved in a learning program or project that has not delivered its intended impact. Across organizations, remarkably similar but preventable missteps are made in needs identification, learning strategies, program development and implementation.  Instructor Tom Gram, Senior Director of Professional Services at Global Knowledge, will present six classic mistakes learning professionals make that reduce chances for success along with evidence-based practices to help prevent them. 

Seven Tips for Troubleshooting VMware vSphere5

White Paper | May 31, 2012

Here are seven tips for working with vSphere, including: Logging in via Command Line, dealing with connection problems using ssh to an ESXi host; network performance issues; possible storage problems; Log Files to View in vSphere ESXi 5; network performance troubleshooting; migrating to a virtual machine using VMotion.

Ethernet Switching vs. Fiber Channel Switching

Article | June 06, 2012

Both technologies, Ethernet and FC, satisfied the two conditions at that time, but there was a catch. Read more. 

Cloud Computing - It's a Business Model

Video | June 08, 2012

Global Knowledge practice director for cloud solutions, Hank Marquis, explains the people, process, and technology aspects of cloud computing.

What is Twisted Pair and Does It Work?

Article | June 12, 2012

“Twisted Pair” is another way to identify a network cabling solution that’s also called Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP) and was invented by Alexander Graham Bell in 1881. Indoor business telephone applications use them in 25-pair bundles. In homes, they were down to four wires, but in networking we use them in 8-wire cables. By twisting the pairs at different rates (twists per foot), cable manufacturers can reduce the electromagnetic pulses coming from the cable while improving the cable’s ability to reject common electronic noise from the environment.

Service Management Jobs – Intermediate Level Interview Questions

Article | June 13, 2012

As mentioned in last week’s post, interviews that require ITIL Intermediate level knowledge will most likely be targeted to specific process areas and activities. If I interviewed someone for a job that required ITIL Intermediate level knowledge, in addition to other questions about the specific technical responsibilities of the job, I might ask the following questions:

CCNA v1.1: IPv4 Address Classes

Article | June 29, 2012

This week we'll review the IPv4 Address Classes including subnet masks, examples of Class C, Class B, and Class A subnet masks, and planning IPv4 addresses.

Cisco Call Manager vs. Call Manager Express

Video | July 05, 2012

Global Knowledge Course Director and Lab Topology Architect Joey DeWiele, a specialist in Unified Communications, explains the difference between Cisco's Call Manager Express & Call Manager.

Outcomes and Outputs

Article | July 25, 2012

Previously I discussed service providers and their risks in the example of my involvement with a landscaping company. ITIL clearly states that services, “…deliver value to customers by facilitating outcomes customers want to achieve…” However, sometimes organizations and people focus on outputs as opposed to outcomes, which sacrifices some of the value of the service. This leads to a question, what is the difference between an outcome and an output?

Importance of Lessons Learned in Project Management

Article | July 27, 2012

Lessons learned is a theory, or conclusion, based on evidence at a given time and describes what went wrong (as well as what went right) throughout the lifecycle of a project. Although it’s completed during the project closeout process, it should occur during the entire project lifecycle to ensure all information is captured and documented. Consequences of not having a project review of lessons learned are the increased likelihood of repeating actions that might have caused:

Everyday Services and Technology

Article | Aug. 01, 2012

In the last two posts I discussed aspects of services in the context of some landscaping work that I’m having done. This is clearly what many people would call a “non-IT example.” I often use similar examples in my classes. However, I might initially describe an example that seems unrelated to IT, but will conclude with a challenge to students. That challenge is, “identify the IT in this example.” The truth of the matter is that most businesses these days are underpinned by some form of information technology. In fact, technology has become so ingrained into everyday services that often even the service providers themselves don’t realize how technology supports their business.

What is the Difference Between Bridges, Hubs, and Switches?

Article | Aug. 14, 2012

The most obvious difference is that hubs operate at Layer 1 of the OSI model while bridges and switches work with MAC addresses at Layer 2 of the OSI model. Hubs are really just multi-port repeaters. They ignore the content of an Ethernet frame and simply resend every frame they receive out every interface on the hub. The challenge is that the Ethernet frames will show up at every device attached to a hub instead of just the intended destination (a security gap), and inbound frames often collide with outbound frames (a performance issue).

How to Apply Knowledge Management to Project Management

Article | Aug. 24, 2012

Knowledge Management examines how we acquire, organize, manage, share, and utilize knowledge and information. The Internet gives us an overwhelming amount of information on a daily basis — and the volume of information available is growing rapidly! One of the biggest challenges for individuals and organizations involved in project management is to make the best use of this knowledge and information so they can operate more efficiently, improve decision making, and sustain a competitive advantage.

Data Center Basics: the Differences Between IOS and NX-OS

Article | Sep. 04, 2012

As we discussed previously, Cisco created the Nexus Operating System (NX-OS) to power its next-generation data-center switching platform. While this new OS shares many similarities to the original IOS, there are some definite differences that you need to be aware of as you begin using it.

Which ITIL Processes Relate to a Data Center Operations Group?

Article | Sep. 19, 2012

I recently responded to a message on LinkedIn from a regular reader of this blog. He asked several questions which I will answer over the course of several posts. As part of his first question, he described a strategy report that his group is producing. The audience for this strategy report considers ITIL important to the future of their business, and so he must describe which ITIL processes his data center operations group works most closely with.

10 SQL Terms You Should Know

Article | Sep. 24, 2012

Some of you might just be starting out as a database administrator and need to know what a basic Transact-SQL query is for Microsoft SQL Server 2012, others might already be creating database objects. Either way, we put together a list of a few terms regarding Microsoft SQL Server that any database administrator should know.

What Happens If I Have More Than One Switch With Redundant Links?

Article | Oct. 11, 2012

That depends on their configurations. For example: While it makes very good sense to include redundant physical links in a network, connecting switches in loops, without taking the appropriate measures, will cause havoc on a network. Without the correct measures, a switch floods broadcast frames out all of its ports, causing serious problems for the network devices. The main problem is a broadcast storm where broadcast frames are flooded through every switch until all available bandwidth is used and all network devices have more inbound frames than they can process.

Meeting Customer's Needs Through Agile Development

Article | Oct. 12, 2012

There is a reason why the Agile methods are becoming mainstream. They can work! Although every Agile practice is not necessarily appropriate for every organization, each practice has delivered real value to many organizations, and some Agile practices can be used by anyone! This four part series explores twelve ways in which the Agile methods are valuable. I’ll bet that you will find more than a few that could be valuable for you!

What Happens if I Have More Than One Switch With Redundant Links? Part 2

Article | Oct. 18, 2012

Now that the network is installed, each switch has a bridge ID number, and the root switch has been elected, the next step is for each switch to perform a calculation to determine the best link to the root switch. Each switch will do this by comparing the path cost for each link based on the speed. For paths that go through one or more other switches, the link costs are added. The switch compares this aggregate value to the other link costs to determine the best path to the root switch.

Zero Day Exploits

White Paper | Oct. 23, 2012

For several years, most news articles about a computer, network, or Internet-based compromise have mentioned the phrase "zero day exploit" or "zero day attack," but rarely do these articles define what this is. A zero day exploit is any attack that was previously unknown to the target or security experts in general. Many believe that the term refers to attacks that were just released into the wild or developed by hackers in the current calendar day. This is generally not the case. The "zero day" component of the term refers to the lack of prior knowledge about the attack, highlighting the idea that the victim has zero day's notice of an attack. The main feature of a zero day attack is that since it is an unknown attack, there are no specific defenses or filters for it. Thus, a wide number of targets are vulnerable to the exploit.

Maximizing Self-Awareness for Business and Leadership Development

Webinar – Recorded | Oct. 25, 2012

Self-awareness is a very powerful tool for leaders in every type of business or organization. The more leaders can maximize their self awareness the greater the impact on business performance, employee engagement and leadership and development initiatives. Self-awareness is the central component of personal development and emotional intelligence. For most leaders today it is still underdeveloped and frequently underemployed. Better understanding of this important leadership trait is critical for leadership and organizational success.