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Straight Talk

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.


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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.


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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.

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.


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As the polar vortex recently bore down on much of the Midwest and East Coast, bringing lots of snow and multiple headaches, the topic of remote working comes to mind. Seasonal events such as heavy snow—not to mention the ice storm that paralyzed parts of the southern U.S. in early December—can disrupt businesses as well as daily life in many ways. Lack of electricity, canceled flights, delays or shutdowns in local transportation all have an adverse affect on daily activities.

Keeping a business operating at optimal levels when employees can’t make it into the office quickly becomes a problem. The losses in productivity and resulting lost business can mount up fast.

Snow Day

Cloud Services Can Help

Luckily for today’s businesses, technology exists so that many employees can perform their jobs remotely as seamlessly as if they were in the office. For example, cloud-based Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) enables employees to work remotely, helping to keep things running at the business. Communication tools such as softphones, instant messaging, and audio and video conferencing help dispersed teams collaborate and work on projects even when the weather outside is frightful.

Enabling employees to do their jobs even when they can’t get into the office keeps them safe during dangerous travel conditions, but it also means not losing employee productivity over the course of the weather event.

UCaaS keeps communications running smoothly, especially critical for organizations that heavily rely on communications for their revenue. During inclement weather, unified communications solutions can:

  • Integrate email, voice and instant messaging into a cohesive communication system so all employees can keep in touch
  • Provide access points to all data used by an organization so that users can communicate with others inside and outside their organizations quickly and more easily
  • Lower overall IT and telecommunications costs, particularly labor costs, because of the inherent economies of scale available through an integrated communications platform
  • Give access to carrier-grade communications that deliver consistency with easy-to-use functionality

Virtual Desktops—at Your Service

Other cloud services can make working remotely a reality as well. For instance, Desktop as a Service (DaaS) means moving an employee’s desktop to the cloud and making it accessible anywhere, anytime by an Internet-enabled service. Virtual desktops can be linked through a private network connection to a secure, remote data center far from the bad weather. Best of all, desktops in the cloud look and behave as if they are part of a corporate IT environment. Customers and employees won’t notice a difference in the quality of service.

Plus, the ability to deploy, manage and support desktops through DaaS reduces costs and eliminates the complexity of deploying and managing virtual desktops. Hardware costs can be reduced by nearly 60% and easier management means lower operating costs. Other benefits of DaaS include:

  • Improved security and compliance through centralized updates
  • Better mobility for your workforce through seamless access from any device, at any location
  • More flexibility to easily deploy and quickly scale desktops
  • A disaster recovery strategy to get desktops back up and running quickly

Routing Network Traffic Using SDN

Software-defined networking (SDN) simplifies the network management, proactively addresses network performance and quickly re-routes network traffic as needed—all critical functions during a severe weather occurrence.

SDN can help businesses keep their mission-critical processes up and running. Using OpenFlow technology, an SDN solution centralizes control of the network and automatically monitors network traffic, distributing it according to pre-defined policies and constantly updated network resources and traffic conditions.

Think of a delivery truck’s route from point A to point B. If the truck runs into bad weather conditions or an accident on the route, the driver can access a traffic monitoring app such as Google Turn by Turn to identify and then access another route quickly. The driver is able to quickly re-route the truck so that it doesn’t lose any more time in making its delivery.

So, when bad weather strikes, having the right tools and technology in place to enable mobility among your workforce can make a real difference. Consider including UCaaS, DaaS and SDN solutions in your disaster recovery plans to help create a safe and secure environment that protects your data and applications and keeps your businesses running.

To learn more about these solutions follow the links below:

UCaaS - http://goo.gl/5AGs87 Daas - http://goo.gl/gJeIqW SDN - http://goo.gl/HGiyf


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Consumers demand great experiences and desire instant gratification. Whether it’s online or in-store, consumers want information to be fast, accurate and focused on their needs. If done correctly, online retail experiences can meet all those desires. But what about in-store, where you have to access data via a computer that may be a considerable distance from the customer’s current location in your store? There is a simple answer – empower sales associates with in-store mobile devices.

In-store mobility is the most efficient and accurate way to create the type of retail experience a consumer expects. Plus, it supports associates in providing a rapid response to a shopper’s needs, ensuring that the sale goes to your retail establishment. To understand the power of in-store mobile, first let’s understand the current consumer shopping behavior.

Consumers are Mobile-Centric

Mobile Centric ConsumerConsumers have no issue grabbing their smart device to look up a competitor’s product while also shopping in your store. Online discounts, offers and coupons, and competitor pricing and products now are at a consumer’s fingertips, challenging retailers to deliver the same or better experience.

Research from comScore confirms that smartphones and tablets are an integral part of the retail shopping experience. In the third quarter of 2013, desktop-based retail e-Commerce sales reached $47.5 billion, a 13% increase over the same period in 2012. Total mobile spending added $5.8 billion to online sales results, a 26% year-over-year increase. This means consumers are very comfortable reaching for a laptop, smart phone or tablet to make a purchase.

Mobile devices also are influencing in-store buying decisions. Research from Deloitte Consulting reported that smartphones will drive 19% of brick-and-mortar transactions — or $689 billion — by 2016. Through a survey of 1,041 random consumers, Deloitte Consulting reported that 48% of smartphone users said their devices, in some way, encouraged them to purchase an item in a store. Moreover, 61% of smartphone subscribers who have used their devices to shop have done so in a store aisle.

Retailers Must Become Mobile-Centric

The linear process in many retail environments today must be better aligned to a consumer’s desired shopping experience. Today, many retail shopping experiences require the consumer to find the product, hope it’s in stock, maybe decide on a replacement (or leave if they cannot find it), or if in stock, choose the product, take it to check out and leave. If the consumer has any question about the product, they must find a sales associate, who most likely will not know the answer. Then the sales associate must traipse across the store to find the computer in order to provide an answer. This is inefficient and frustrating for a consumer who can punch a few buttons and find the answer online.

By unlocking the power of mobile technology, retailers can closely replicate an online experience for their shoppers and empower sales associates to better provide positive customer experiences. Think about the scenario outlined above. If that sales associate had a tablet, he could simply look up the information right there, provide the customer with all the answers and ensure a sale.

Retailers that embrace in-store mobility will reap many benefits, including:

1.  Increase engagement and sales: Associates can access a wealth of information on products and customers. Simply entering a customer’s name or loyalty card account number will provide instant access to past purchases and browsing behaviors. As a result, associates can offer relevant product recommendations, and in turn, increase cross-sell and up-sell results.

2.  Improve customer experiences: Mobile technology that includes barcode scanning and credit card technology will enable employees to complete transactions from anywhere within a store, leading to shorter wait times. Employees can collaborate throughout the store, requesting items from the stockroom or specialized support at the click of a button.

3.  Retain the sale: If a shopper is looking for a product that is out of stock, she will most likely visit a competitor, or purchase the item online. Using mobile technology, sales associates can quickly access the company e-Commerce site, order the desired item, and have it delivered to the store or directly to the shopper's home, thereby saving a sale that was headed elsewhere.

4.  Employees that are better informed:With real-time access to inventory data on the selling floor, associates can be equipped with the information they need to sell effectively. This translates to a much better customer experience.

Consumers still have a desire to shop in-store so they can see the product first-hand. Online shopping will not fulfill this need, requiring shoppers to rely on recommendations from others rather than their own judgment. By improving in-store customer experiences, retailers continue to have an edge.

Choosing to meet mobile consumer demands will make or break the in-store shopping experience moving forward. NEC’s Retail Mobility solutions provide these major benefits to the shopping experience, as well as enabling store managers and staff to have greater access to data, improve communications and increase productivity.

To get more insight into retail mobility as our team prepares for National Retail Federation’s annual convention, check out Microsoft’s blog and http://www.necretaildirection.necam.com/WellConnected. Also, visit us at Booth # 351at NRF’s Big Show Jan. 12-15, in New York. Make in-store mobility part of your 2014 success strategy!


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