Who is Tom Bohn? What experience does he have to be Chief Networking Architect?
I've been in the networking business for almost twenty years. I began my journey in the networking world as part of an unlikely ISP start-up developing a solution for bringing Cisco-powered consumer-oriented Internet services to Nome, Alaska, a remote rural northwest community.
From those early days of developing satellite-based Internet delivery systems in northwest Alaska, my career has taken me through various positions. I moved on to a wide area network (WAN) design engineering position for the Alaska Federal Healthcare Access Network (AFHCAN): I spent 1999-2002 with that Federally-funded project designing and building out what was the world’s largest and most advanced fully integrated telemedicine network, spanning multiple telecom service provider infrastructures to connect more than forty healthcare facilities across the Indian Health Service, DoD (Army/Air Force), the VA, Coast Guard, State of Alaska public health clinics, and participating private hospital facilities in the greater Seattle area.
The AFHCAN network represented an early “hybrid cloud” WAN model that enabled voice, video and integrated data services for skilled and specialized medical professionals, allowing them to provide healthcare services at a distance to provider beneficiaries even when separated by thousands of miles.
My experience in the data networking field has always been deeply intertwined with mainline industry vendors, but probably none more so than Cisco Systems: when I launched my first private consulting firm in 2002, I went into it as a CCNP-level certified individual, and began providing business-driven network consulting services to a wide variety of healthcare, governmental, commercial and service provider entities, from AT&T and GCI to the University of Alaska, the Alaska Public Broadcasting System, and even to a short-lived private telemedicine “cloud” linking smaller private health facilities to Providence’s Anchorage-based health facility and Cisco Systems technologies have always played a primary role in the solution designs and architectures delivered to those customers.
In 2005, I formed a new consulting LLC with a business partner and by 2008, we had become a part of the Cisco Systems partner ecosystem, and I led growth of that partnership between B2 Networks LLC and Cisco for nearly ten years.
By the time we reached the point of merger with GCSIT in mid-2014, B2’s partnership level with Cisco had grown to the Premier Partner level, with a heavy emphasis on core and access layer route/switch, security, wireless, IP video, collaboration and VoIP technologies. B2 was certified by Cisco as an Advanced Collaboration Architecture partner in 2014.
It’s been an interesting 20 year trek through myriad different network infrastructures running up and down the scalar spectrum: from very small and concentrated point solutions for SMB and Mid Markets customers all the way through enterprise and service provider scale architectures. I’m very proud of the solutions that myself and the team I helped to form and build at B2 Networks have been able to deliver to our customers.
Can you give us a sense of where you and B2 Networks were at when the merger happened with GCSIT? And how does this merger of B2 with GCSIT offer value to the customers of both companies?
At the point of merger, B2 and GCSIT had already been “partnered” in the market approaching common customers in a coordinated way. It was our common customers that brought that together.
While GCSIT brought tremendous value to customers through their world-class software defined datacenter and storage networking capabilities, B2 supplemented that with strongly-focused core networking skills and capacities.
Brought together in partnership through customer demand, B2 and GCSIT worked together in the marketplace for almost five years, assembling a team of highly-skilled and experienced Cisco Systems-focused network engineering capability from the B2 side of the house and blending that with top-notch GCSIT VMWare and SAN engineers.
We were able to provide tremendous value to customers with this team-based approach, and we saw incredibly effective results. By blending a Cisco-focused networking team with compute, storage and virtualization experts, we put together best-of-breed solution offerings for our customers.
It was a natural, synergistic fit. Think of the merger of GCSIT and B2 as “hyperconvergence on the business level…”
What experience does the B2 team bring to GCSIT?
When B2 merged with GCSIT in July, we brought over six Cisco-certified technicians and advanced skillset network engineers with nearly 50 years of combined industry experience in the IP networking field.
The B2 team has brought a wide and deep set of capabilities to the table, with a heavy focus on Cisco Systems technologies: Wireless network survey, engineering, planning and implementation practices 1/10GE core/access/datacenter network design, engineering and implementation practices Indoor/outdoor fiber optic, outdoor RF backhaul and access network design and implementation practices High level security systems design, engineering and implementation practices Application layer design, engineering and implementation practices, including skillset in Microsoft AD, SQL and Exchange apps Business process analysis and technology/business alignment consultation practices Strong focus on Cisco Unified Communications systems design, engineering and implementation practice in the SMB, Mid Markets and Enterprise spaces
What does Cisco add to GCSIT’s offerings?
By combining B2's strong Cisco Systems partnership with GCSIT's world-class software defined datacenter, storage networking and virtualization capabilities, the new merged company offeres a truly end to end approach to delivery of best-of-breed technology solutions to its customer base. We can now incorporate VMware, Dell, Cisco and a variety of storage system vendor components into truly customized and targeted solution designs, and that means more flexibility for customers. The addition of the Cisco partnership to GCSIT's strategic portfolio of technology vendor partnerships has driven an intense focus within the company on achievement of Cisco's Datacenter Architecture specialization - the company is on the verge of completing that effort, which will give us the capability to deliver an even more diverse range of datacenter fabric and compute platform offerings to customers with tighter vendor integration and access to partner-level assistance and enablement from Cisco as a partner company.