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The HHS (Department of Health and Human Services) is anticipating plenty of traffic in the last month of open enrollment for Obamacare (the deadline is March 31st). After the now-infamous debut snafu of Healthcare.gov, the government is taking preventative measures to ensure a smooth registration process for those still holding out until the deadline. As a result, the HHS has recently ordered $2.5 million worth of IT hardware to bolster the anticipated bandwidth.
Surprisingly, only $56,782 of this large order was spent on Cisco devices; these were purchased for a firewall upgrade.
Unfortunately, the agency within the HHS that’s responsible for the purchasing, CMS (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services), was not legally able to partake in the competitive bidding process that’s typical of most large IT infrastructure buildouts. According to a quote on freebeacon.com, “‘CMS is not in a position to take the time to compete the added capacity requirements and successfully implement the exchange program as mandated by law.'” Basically, they’re spending a fortune for the sake of time.
If only they’d gone through us! (Oh well…there’s always the next government buildout)
Speaking of urgency, looks like the POTUS is eager to get the news out about the deadline by whatever unconventional means necessary:
According to Network World, Cisco is increasing the price of older Catalyst switch units, hoping to motivate consumers towards the purchase of newer equipment. Price hikes are as high as 67% in some cases, with replacement parts and associated accessories being marked up as well.
The main targets in this change are some switches in the Catalyst 3000, 4000 and 6000 families. No new switching products will see a price increase, according to Cisco, but the company does confirm the price increase on older gear. “There is a slight price increase for a very small subset of older Catalyst models that now have a next generation option available to customers,” said a Cisco spokesperson.
Those products that are older, however, are seeing an average mark-up of $14,000. A Catalyst 6000 chassis bundle with the item number VS-C6506E-S720-10G, for example, will see an increase from $33,995 to $47,995.
This move by Cisco is an alternative to placing some of their more popular older units on end-of-life status. With a reseller like planIT HARDWARE, consumers can still purchase these products at 60-90% off list price, even less than purchasing the lower-priced next generation upgrades directly from Cisco. We are reliable, dedicated, and our products are all tested and certified, so you can be sure you’re working with a trustworthy vendor to provide you with first-rate products at secondary market prices.
These new price increases go into effect starting November 2nd.
Earlier in the year, we referenced New Order and looked at how “everything’s gone green.” Remember that? Wasn’t that fun? Managers of data centers are still constantly seeking out ways to increase their energy efficiency. Like the Holland Tunnel–or just about any major road in The Garden State (no, not that silly movie)–the internet has become an ever-congested, high-traffic route, The Information Superhighway, as it was once so endearingly called. In response to heightened demands, data storage capacity has increased exponentially and continues to (even as you read this–ever looked at GMail’s data capacity ticker?), but what’s equally as necessary is a continuance of energy solutions. Just as cars are becoming more fuel efficient, hybrid, electric, etc., network hardware is condensing its technology to save both physical space in the datacenter and to cut costs and usage on power. The last large innovation in this particular area of concern would had to’ve been the introduction of power-over-ethernet (PoE) technology.
Server equipment such as routers and switches require a lot of electricity and power to run, and there are more of them running concurrently than ever before. In 1993, global internet traffic totaled about a couple hundred terabytes (TB) per year. In 2011, almost two decades later, internet traffic reached at least this much data per *second*. The bulk of data centers’ operating expenses (more than 50%) is spent on cooling mechanisms–air conditioning and fan try operation–to keep these units from running hot. Inefficiency has plagued the data center manager for decades as internet traffic has continued to peak, and, with the ubiquity of web connectivity via mobile devices and public WiFi hotspots, it continues to climb ever higher. PoE allows for both a device’s data and power to course through the same Ethernet infrastructure, and in recent years it has begun to offer solutions to the energy conundrum.
PoE technology may not have been perfect when it first debuted, but, like most practical innovations, took a few years to really shine. Now, PoE is not simply a novelty or an alternative to traditional AC (alternating current) power. Since its introduction, it has allowed for versatile structuring and configuration within a data center. And since the power and data share an infrastructure, it has the potential to be a very efficient solution, with no separate installations or repairs for AC or cable. On top of this, PoE offers remote shut-off and power preservation technologies that simple AC power bricks cannot. When a server is running all night long, but no one is using it, PoE is able to idle or power down conditionally under unique circumstances. Perhaps the office’s IP phones should be off during the weekend or over a holiday break–well, PoE is versatile enough to where you can make that distinction from a central station. The best part of all of this is that PoE still has potential, a few plays left in its deck, and it will continue to show off its abilities in the years to come, as we save precious resources and precious, precious dollars.
Did anyone notice all of the awesome technology in Iron Man 3? No, not the suits—the Cisco telepresence units used throughout the film. Okay…so I work in this industry, my eyes are often on the lookout for the brands that are fixing their name to tech hardware both fictional and real. Sometimes, technology so advanced that you never it knew it existed will make its mainstream debut in a blockbuster film, such as Iron Man 3, and it will be very much real. But back to the suits: they were pretty remarkable.
In Iron Man 3, Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) has built his latest and greatest suit, the Mark 42, a weaponized suit of armor similar to all the others he’s made but with an added flair of telepresence. Telepresence is essentially technology, in various forms, that allows one to feel as though or gives the effect that one is present where they are not. This can be achieved via telerobotics and teleoperations—remote controlling—much like how Tony can intuitively control the Mark 42 suit, see through it and speak through it without actually being in the suit itself. Very enticing stuff, indeed.
On top of the suit, TelePresence video conferencing units by Cisco were also incorporated into the film. Cisco is the number one name in IT hardware, and planIT HARDWARE is a used Cisco reseller, offering new-in-box, new-open-box and refurbished products at 60-90% off list price.
Allegedly, the phrase, “Keeping up with the Joneses,” originated in reference to the over-developing, wealthy Jones family of New York in the mid-1800s, from which American novelist Edith Wharton descended. The Joneses married into the empire known as Chemical Bank, owned by one John Mason. The clan then began to out-build their wealthy peers in the Hudson Valley, forcing those around them to “keep up.” Popularization of the term came from an eponymously titled 1913 comic strip that ran in papers for 26 years. In this comic, the Joneses of the title are the unseen-but-often-referred-to-neighbors of the main character. With the ubiquitousness of the comic came the normalizing of the phrase that we now know today.
Now that we’ve established just how daunting idiom etymology can be…
This past Tuesday marked the day Cisco would finally make its entrance into the world of data storage. After negotiations with Whiptail, a privately held Whippany, NJ-based leader in memory systems (particularly flash storage), Cisco finally got its hands on technology that could help its servers process information much, much more efficiently. According to Cisco Systems Inc., such a move will “simplify customers’ data center environments by delivering the required performance in a fraction of the data center floor space,” effectively condensing the jobs of several pieces of IT hardware into a more lightweight data system.
Good for Cisco. It seems they have caught up with the likes of HP, Dell, EMC, and IBM, who all have invested in flash storage vendors. It would appear that keeping up with increasing performance demands means keeping up with Joneses.
The 1989 sci-fi classic Back to the Future Pt II has become increasingly more relevant in the last few years. In the film, Marty McFly and the Doc travel forward to the year 2015. With only two years to go until the duo’s date of arrival, people are chomping at the bit for a hoverboard more than ever. In having to construct a vision of the future to set the movie in, Director Robert Zemeckis and his team ended up inventing, interpreting and incorporating a lot of technology and trends that have since become a present reality. Today, we’re going to focus on one innovation in particular.
Even as far back as the advent of The Jetsons, people have been daydreaming and clamoring for personal, digital technological advancements…in both the home and the office. One of the most common desires: video calling. While Skype has pioneered the home part, Cisco has had a handle on the office game for quite some time now. According to CTO Guido Jouret, Cisco TelePresence has been integrated into 75% of the Fortune 500. Cisco’s TelePresence technology makes it possible to have high-definition video calls that are about as interactive as it gets, short of meeting in person. It is this kind of technology that brought Michael J. Fox and Flea (of the Red Hot Chili Peppers) together on screen. It is this kind of technology that allows for someone in New Jersey to teach live to students in South Korea, for the Brown University Freshman to stay connected to her family while figuring out the difference between sociology and psychology, for the President to take a meeting while maybe finally finishing that pen-and-ink sketch of a snowy barn he’s been working on (everyone has to unwind). Whatever the function, Cisco has made Zemeckis’ and many a fanboy’s dream of video calling come true…and it’s not even October 21st, 2015 yet.
planIT HARDWARE carries stock of Cisco CTS-1000, along with other TelePresence units, so contact us for a quote today!