Monday, April 28, 2014

Software Defined Networking

Software Defined Networking better known as SDN is the latest buzz in the Networking Technology. No doubt that SDN in conjunction with Network Function Virtualization (NFV) is going to create a second wave in NW technology modernization that will greatly impact Data Center, Enterprise, and Campus networks. Interestingly, these two technologies do complement each other but not necessarily depend on each other.

Despite IT transformation in last 10 years due to virtualization technology that changed IT business model from cost center to profit center, we are still slow in revolutionizing IT networks. Virtualization technology has dramatically brought down servers & storage costs to a level never imagined before. But it is more difficult to keep pace if the progress in the area of network is holding us back.

Networking is in vogue, and at the breaking point. New breed of network facing applications are still not performing well despite progress in virtualization. Networks are source of constrains for the new breed of applications because the way software has been configured, delivered and managed—literally within a box
until now. Each network device must be configured indi¬vidually & manually.

Networks can’t keep pace with the on-the-fly-changes required by mod¬ern network facing applications. For a service provider, the network is their business, so they are looking to introduce new capabilities to enable new business opportunities via dynamic configurations in a matter of seconds.

Operators, typical response is to add more servers & NW gears leading to creating even NW traffic congestion, server clutters, cable sprawl, and sluggish re-provisioning process. Throwing more network equipment at the problem both helped and hurt the situation.

Service Providers expect networks to be not only to be resilient but to adjust and respond dynamically, based on their business policy and service level agreements, and the real time demand of the application. So policies must be automated and adjusted to the needs of the application dynamically.

With the rise of cloud computing, virtualization, and big data, M2M communication, businesses are looking for more flexibility, agility, and on-demand provisioning. SDN is supposed to provide these benefits. ).

SDN High Level Goals:

Software-defined networking (SDN is supposed to cure all the ills associated with today’s networking, making it easier for customers to manage their networks, and adding a virtual layer on top of the physical network.

  •          Reduce excessive deployment of networking gears every time a new services are introduced
  • Real time provisioning of network based on application demand 
  • Centralized management of entire Network
  • Separation of networking planes/layers
Today’s networking software sitting on network gears (Routers/Firewalls/Switches) can be separate into four layers or planes (Forwarding, Control. Services, and Management). These layers must be separated in order to build the next generation, and highly scalable network.

Operators would like to manage the network as a system and Centralized Management does that job. When we centralize management, it becomes the config¬uration master; all of the devices keep just a copy. Services can also move to the center and are performed on behalf of all devices. Manual configuration often leads misconfiguration or missteps leading to outages and also, requires a small number of network specialists. Management planes can run on one or more general purpose computers. 

Architecture Core principles: 

  •         Cleanly separate networking software into four layers (planes): Management, Services, Control, and Forwarding. 
  • Centralize the appropriate aspects of the Management, Services and Control planes 
  • Use the Cloud principles for elastic scale and flexible deployment, and enable UBB 
  • Create a platform for network applications, services, and integration into management systems by providing APIs 
  • Standardize protocols for interoperable, heterogeneous support across vendors, providing choice and lowering cost
  • Extend SDN principles to all networking gears utilized in Data center, Enterprise, Campus, Mobile, and wireline

SDN Benefits: 
  •       Transforming the network to meet organization’s needs for mobility, virtualization, high-definition video, rich-media collaboration tools, and cloud computing.
  •        Reap the full value of your network investment and free IT administrators from the drudgery of manual network of configuration and reconfiguration because the network will be automatically tuned to application and business needs.
  •        Guarantee true end-to-end service level for network performance, quality of service, and security, which can be tuned to application needs. For example, SDN applications can provision the network, inspect flows, or perform other network control functions via SDN controller.
  •        Extensibility and open APIs of the SDN Controller will allow innovative new applications that make requests of the underlying network, without the need to physically uproot or reconfigure the underlying infrastructure.

SDN Migration Path:
So in order to move from past to future, I believe that NW operators will most probably follow multiple steps because we have to deal with the reality. We live in a world where some things will be centralized with SDN and others will not because legacy network will continue to exist side by side for a while. Some of the steps are:

  • Leverage existing hybrid Switches supporting both
  • Use Servers ( like Blades) that support internal switching fabrics to control cable cluttering
  •      Utilize Open programmable interfaces
  •      Utilize Centralized, Resilient Control
  • Integration with Intelligent Management Center (IMC) 

Good Application Candidates:
  •        Multi-tenant & Business Applications like SAP/Oracle Financials.
  •     Cloud Bursting Applications which require integration of public & private clouds
  •        Unified Communications & Collaboration Application— to improve the user experience of products by automating deployment of QoS policies & dynamically adjusts network priorities to support voice/video/collaboration traffic
  •        Security Applications - Applications enabling real-time threat detection & security policy enforcement at the edge of campus networks like secure BYOD from malware & spyware threats.
  •         Dynamic WAN bandwidth provisioning - applications that enable service providers to automate the provisioning of cloud data centers to support on-demand scalability & business-continuity requirements.

Evangelize Your Platform (EYP) Series

Platform evangelization has been a concept that is used by major companies who would like to get a momentum in increasing their market share around the same time the platform is being developed. This companies like to think ahead and use available expertise and technology to evangelize either with the developer community to increase the adoption or with the consumer community to increase their market share drastically. While evangelizing with the developer community has been going on for a number of years, evangelizing with business consumers has been the latest trend in the market.

Companies with new technology and/or platform are taking steps to have a structured process of evangelizing within a pre-selected business consumer community. iLink has developed an EYP Framework that helps companies to quickly plan and accomplish the multi-step evangelization process within a period of 6-8 months and also provides the ability to measure the success of evangelization and use the metrics to improve future evangelization exercises.

iLink takes complete ownership to execute the project working with the company’s marketing arm to develop the content of several collaterals using the already developed templates and industry leading best practices. iLink also ensures that the new concept, be it a Platform or Technology, is taken from prototyping to production with active participation from the company’s clientele in selected geographies or across the globe.

Stay Tuned for more details on EYP. If you’d like to hear more on the framework, contact Amitava Lahiri, SVP Global Business Operations at iLink Systems.

The In’s and Out’s of Patient Engagement

The healthcare industry has been buzzing about the concept of Patient Engagement for a little while now, but what exactly is it? Patient engagement is the general idea of involving patients more in their care through various avenues, such as increased communication with doctors, greater access to medical records, or a more user friendly interface for accessing health-related information. Patient engagement can be applied broadly to numerous healthcare sectors and places responsibility on all individuals that are involved in a patient’s well-being- the patient, physician, support staff, friends and family.

Why has Patient Engagement become a new ideal that healthcare facilities, practitioners, and health technologies are collaboratively working to achieve? Greater patient activation, or one’s knowledge, skills and confidence to engage in their own care process, has been demonstrated to lower average costs for care and engage in better preventative health habits. Patients largely want to be a more active participant in their own care, and, with the right accessibility to their own records and other information, will possess the knowledge to make informed decisions.

This recent trend towards increased Patient Engagement is encouraging greater accessibility to information of all kinds- personal medical records, general information about conditions, and easier communication with physicians. In fact, Kaiser Permanente Northwest and eight other healthcare systems have recently signed onto Open Notes, a program designed to give patients access to doctor’s notes from any location. For patients, this kind of tool is empowering; patients feel more in control of their care, are more likely to follow prescription medication directions, and are more prepared for following doctor visits. Physicians can better communicate with their patients and collaboratively, can develop a more effective treatment plan.

Now, healthcare IT is jumping on the opportunity to develop information sharing programs to facilitate increased Patient Engagement. These programs are intended to engage both physicians and patients, increase compliance by setting up reminders regarding medications, and integrate information from various medical record systems, among-st numerous other features. Not only will such technologies improve understanding, communication, and delivery between physicians and patients, but most importantly, will improve health. The accessibility of personal and public medical information is only growing and providing new methods to increase Patient Engagement in their own care. 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

A Better Business Collaboration thru Social Employee Engagement.

At present the impact of social media engagement has gained a new dimension. Whether you are an individual or a business entity it is a fact that you will be having a social presence.  Within a short span of time the social media engagement has earned a commendable growth not just as an information portal and a marketing pitch of an entity, beyond that it has stepped ahead into providing a platform for the common people who are talking and collaborating with each other to share their views by responding the information provided in social media’s, as a result this influences the decision making. This seems to be a healthy situation where the buyers are informed well and are provided with plenty of alternatives before they go for buying decisions.
When we talk about business, it is very clear that social media engagement would be the best way to reach toward the front of anyone’s targeted people reach. Social media engagement is not simply having a socialized profile in major social media’s like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. A company profile should have an updated appropriate content about their products and services, company milestones, most essentially the information provided must be transparent. Here comes the role of employees because nobody else can be the apt source to say best about a company. Employees can find each other, share information regarding new products or services once they stand available to the public and can portray how their company offerings benefit consumers or businesses. This scenario will create a value, where employees are stand together in presenting their business portfolio offerings in social media’s, that drives the interest of potential users and induce them to learn more about the product or service which will be hitting Maximum likes, and Good comment numbers . When social media engagement is done properly by employees, it has the prospective to create loyal customer relationships. Yes, by collaborating their (employees) passion to others, the level of Social Employee Engagement is additionally expected to entice potential sales prospects those who awestruck by what they have read about your product and service.
At iLink systems we have developed an Intranet Framework as Rich Unified communication platform with built in social computing capabilities and external social media integration. iLink's frameworks are a set of prebuilt and tested modules. Leverage iLink’s Social Employee Engagement and Line-Of-Business Workflows framework Which is built on rich Modern UI style for better enterprise content management, department workflow automation, collaboration, social computing, facilitate faster access to data and improve employee engagement.

Patient Engagement - An innovative way to be healthier

These days, the Healthcare and life sciences companies started moving towards inculcating a new trend, also pushing hard the providers to transform from traditional healthcare practice to an Interoperable system approach , which is quite a big challenge for healthcare industry especially while providing wellness solution for patients. Patient Engagement, the new buzz phrase of health care industry & the people associated with the healthcare industry started giving more attention towards it. Today the contemporary health care system is composite, where in many patients find difficult to get, process, communicate, and realize even basic health information & facilities since there is no specific patient engagement system is incorporated.

Patient engagement is not simply easy. It comprises lot of challenges that are to be faced by the healthcare service providers. To begin with, Patient engagement isn’t just taking care of patients, more than that it refers to patient’s activeness, behaviors further endless participation in managing their health. This transformation is a challenging one for both patients and the physicians end. Here comes the role of technology, which remains as a key component in transforming healthcare patient engagement also helps to bridge the gap in care coordination for a patient from a provider with the assistance of Patient Engagement Software. However technology is essential to engage patients, if we look deeply into the provider behaviors and processes those are very tougher to change practically plus getting adopt to the new Interoperable systems.

Many researchers say that patients who know and take act with respect to their personal health & health care choices will have improved health upshots as well as have minor healthcare overheads. The more we engage and become active participants in our own health, the less healthcare services we'll need and healthier lives we'll lead. Once a patient is informed and empowered, they will have more control over their healthcare circumstance. Similarly when a physician follows up with those patients, they have well understanding on what the patient just went through hence this coordination closes the gap in patient care. Yet, Patient engagement isn’t simply the concern of the healthcare service providers. Though everyone in healthcare is speaking about patient engagement, only few knows how to realize it.

The present scenario in patient engagement is majorly focusing on mobile apps and patient portals, there is still a lot to be done. We can say as grouping of Smart mobility, cloud computing, social networking and big data analytics together for working. Yes, it’s a great challenge that has to be faced by the health care industry, on seeing the other hand it has plenty of opportunities in it. A drastic shift from hospital and doctor’s clinic to wherever the patient happens to be. This enables a new vision of providing health care everywhere- a potential way to have an expanded access alone with improved outcomes!!!