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The Benefits of an Application Policy Language in Cisco ACI: Part 4 – Application Policies for DevOps

October 21, 2014 at 5:00 am PST

[Note: This is the last installment of a four-part series on the OpFlex protocol in Cisco ACI, how it enables an application-centric policy model, and why other SDN protocols do not.  Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3]

As noted earlier in this series, modern DevOps applications such as Puppet, Chef, and CFEngine have already moved toward the declarative model of IT automation, so there is already some obvious synergy between DevOps and the Cisco ACI policy model. DevOps automation products are also optimizing application delivery processes and are designed to automate critical IT tasks to make the organization more agile and efficient.

In an early 2014 blog post, Andi Mann, vice president of strategic solutions at CA Technologies, wrote about the evolution to DevOps and the synergy with the Cisco ACI policy model:

Though the DevOps approach of today—with its notable improvements to culture, process, and tools—certainly delivers many efficiencies, automation and orchestration of hardware infrastructure has still been limited by traditional data center devices, such as servers, network switches and storage devices. Adding a virtualization layer to server, network, and storage, IT was able to divide some of these infrastructure devices, and enable a bit more fluidity in compute resourcing, but this still comes with manual steps or custom scripting to prepare the end-to-end application infrastructure and its networking needs used in a DevOps approach.

The drag created by these traditional application infrastructures has been somewhat reduced by giving that problem to cloud providers, but in reality this drag never really went away until Cisco innovated application-centric programmability with Cisco ACI. This innovative new solution is now poised to greatly benefit the whole application economy, especially management of the DevOps application environment…

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SP Network Transformation at the Cisco Live Cancun World of Solutions

October 21, 2014 at 1:30 am PST

By Igor Dayen, Manager, SP Product and Solutions Marketing  Igor-Dayen

The excitement starts on November 3rd in Cancun, Mexico where Cisco is holding our next Cisco Live event. A great opportunity for the service provider community to study with industry experts, get inspired, and understand how Cisco’s Open Network strategy can fast track their growth.  In the World of Solutions the SP booth is hosting numerous demos and live equipment which tell the story of how Cisco is helping carriers address their business requirements.

Cisco Live is known for the extensive number of breakout technical sessions, and Cancun will be no different. Hot topics such as NFV and SDN will be extensively covered. Read More »

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Part Four: IT & OT, Utilities – IT and OT, Corporate Change

This is the fourth blog in a four part series on the convergence of IT and OT (Operational Technologies) by Rick Geiger

Operational Technology has evolved from serial communication to modern systems that are largely, if not completely, IP networked systems.  The unique requirements of OT have often lead to shadow IT departments within the OT department with networks and servers procured and operated by OT with little or no involvement from IT.

Welcome to the final installment of this blog series looking at the convergence of IT and OT (Operational Technologies). In part three of this series, I examined how utilities can gain additional operational efficiency through IT/OT convergence. In today’s post, I’ll discuss some of the organizational changes that must take place in order for IT and OT convergence to be successful.

IT and OT convergence must address issues around organization and cultural change.  Here are suggestions on ways to undertake those changes. Both IT and OT bring critical knowledge, experience and capabilities that are required to meet the challenges they face. Any organizational change challenges vested interests, established turf, and past business practices. 

No turnkey formula or recipe exists that works for every company, but there are fundamentals to building the need for change and creating an environment in which change can be successful. Those include:

Leadership
Executive sponsorship and collaboration are required.  If the CEO and department or business unit executives don’t share a common vision and strategy, it is very unlikely that change will be successful.

Communicate a compelling vision
Vision and strategy must be effectively communicated throughout the organization setting forth the necessity and value proposition of the vision as well as solid reasons why the status quo is not sufficient.

Share ownership of the goal
Identify the stakeholders and communicate across the organization the value they each bring to the ultimate goal.  This is especially needed when bringing organizations together.

Create common ground
In order to build the trust needed for successful collaboration people need the opportunity to build informal relationships. Different departments may never have had the need or opportunity to get to know people in other departments and may have only interacted with them in a forced, transactional way that may lead to confrontation as often as anything else.  There are a variety of ways to create common ground including cross trainings, cross department assignments, or joint projects.

Never underestimate the value of a common experience.  Send employees from the organizations being combined to a training class or seminar.  It matters less what the subject is than it does that participation is required and there’s opportunity for unstructured time to get acquainted, share interests, and start those informal relationships that are the foundation of trust.

Guide the stakeholders to create and own the transition
Executive sponsorship and leadership builds on common ground and creates ownership in the results by working with the stakeholders to create and execute the required change.  Sometimes tough decisions have to be made in this process for those that refuse participation or ownership.  The stakeholders must also have a tangible benefit from successfully accomplishing the goal.

What’s in it for Cisco?

Cisco does not generally offer business process development, leaving that to consulting partners such as Accenture, Deloitte, West Monroe Partners and others.  Does Cisco have a direct stake in IT/OT convergence?  Cisco’s stake is in the business success that results from successful collaboration that joins the resources and expertise of both areas.  Successful businesses make successful customers.  Cisco has a role to play in encouraging, facilitating and enabling both the collaboration and the value that companies need as the result.

Cisco has a portfolio of leading edge Cyber and Physical Security solutions. Cisco’s Advanced Services offerings help our customers develop and deploy a collaborative, unified approach to encourage the best results from the collaboration and convergence of IT and OT.  Are you up to date on Cisco’s solutions and capabilities? We are here to help!

Part Four: IT & OT, Utilities – IT and OT, Corporate Change

Three Deciding Factors To Reach A New Digital World

October 20, 2014 at 3:21 pm PST

In a Technology Vision 2014 report, consulting firm Accenture discussed major trends that drive a dramatic transformation for every business to enter a digital world. As they described, the excitement is to change from being “digitally disrupted” today to “digital disrupters” tomorrow. The huge opportunity is for businesses position themselves as leaders in this new world.

Many forces are at work in the journey of this remarkable transition. Among them, three dominant factors will play a vital role to determine whether this digital transformation will be successful: an intelligent information edge, IT simplicity and cybersecurity.

dino pic 1 blog

At the edge of the new digital world, intelligent and real-time technologies allow people to act and react faster to achievebetter experience and outcome. While mobile device explosion serves as a clear indicator of this rapid transition, greater potential lies ahead to fully utilize the power of mobility, analytics, cloud computing and other new technologies. For a preview of what is possible, check out how Fernbank Natural History Museum integrates 3G/4G and Wi-Fi seamlessly. The outcome is an dynamic application that brings an immersive and interactive experience to the visitors, instead of forcing them to find the information.

Technical complexity arises, as more and more applications, systems and infrastructure are added together over time.  Cisco Global IT Impact Survey in 2013 found that nearly three out of four IT participants (71 percent) were deploying more applications than a year ago. Without IT simplicity, IT departments will be rapidly consumed by day-to-day fire drills. They will lose their ability to innovate and their relevance to the business.

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Cisco Continues Market Share Leadership in Mobility – First in Mobile IP Infrastructure, Packet Core, Mobile Backhaul, and Mobile IP Core

Over the summer, we shared with you the results of an ACG Report showing Cisco as the market share leader in Mobility.

Then and today the usage of mobile devices has been on the rise. Unequivocally.

The average smartphone user is accessing 26.8 apps every month for about 30.25 hours, an increase of 65 percent from two years ago. On their first weekend of offering the iPhone 6, Apple sold more than 10 Million units. Global smartphone market is forecasted to rise by around 20% to 1.2 billion units during 2014.

ACG Research came out with a new report recently the highlights of which I want to share with you. In this report Ray Mota notes that the Worldwide Mobile IP Infrastructure Market continues to rebound in Q2, 2014. It actually grew in Q2, increasing to $1.25 billion, a 9.6 percent quarter over quarter. Evolved Packet Core (MME, PGW, SGW, and PCRF) also grew this quarter to $123 million, a 7.2 per cent quarter over quarter.

ACG Research maintains its views that online video continues to fuel mobile data traffic and the industry expects a tenfold increase in five years.  Mobile spending continues and is increasing globally as carriers in developed countries vie for top billing for fastest carrier, fueling LTE spending. 3G remains strong and continues to grow as developing economies upgrade and invest in this technology. Mobile infrastructure will continue to be a highly dynamic market for the next several years as vendors and carriers work through new technologies.

Cisco maintains its position of market share leader. The Read More »

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