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The Future of Cloud, Part 2: Adding Value to the Cloud

(This is part 2 of a 7-part series sharing insights from Cisco partners about the Future of Cloud.)

Chris Kemmerer, Director, Mobility Solutions, Verizon, had a lot to share with me at CiscoLive! “What I’m seeing this year is very transformational,” said Kemmerer. “What we’re seeing is how to take some of these foundation services and layer applications and more value on top of them.

“For example, our Cisco Powered hosted collaboration service has been very successful as we see the market shifting from premises-based phone services to cloud-base phone systems. Our traditional focus in the cloud space has been infrastructure as a service (IaaS). We’ve taken the underlying infrastructure of our IaaS platform and started to layer applications to provide software as a service (SaaS) on top of that with some key partners.”

Organizations can benefit greatly from these value-added services. “Why put your communications in the cloud? I think customers learn very quickly about the speed with which they can execute in a reliable, responsible manner. When customers are looking to stand up new locations, in the old days, it would be a month or two just for planning. Now we’re doing it in weeks.”

However, not all clouds are created equal. “Being a carrier, there’s an expectation from our customers that we are five 9s reliable, however you want to calculate that,” said Kemmerer. “The way we look at it, when we say we’re providing an enterprise-class service, it’s going to be over an application-aware network. It’s going to be secure. It’s going to offer SLAs. These are the things that, in my mind, are going to differentiate our services from say a commodity or best effort service.”

You can also learn more about how providers are addressing the need for enterprise class services in the latest edition of Unleashing IT.

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Case Study: Atos Enables Self-Service IT with Cisco Prime Service Catalog

I recently wrote a blog post about Steria, one of our Cisco Prime Service Catalog customers (you can also read their case study here). Today, I’m proud to introduce another case study on an IT service provider customer using Cisco Prime Service Catalog: Atos.

Atos Societas Europaea (SE) is a global leader in IT services with 77,000 employees in 52 countries worldwide. Cisco has a strong partnership with Atos in several areas including data center, cloud, and collaboration – and they are a customer of multiple Cisco solutions.

In particular, there is a division of Atos that provides managed  services for North American companies. This division of Atos offers a broad range of services for their enterprise customers including new employee onboarding, provisioning smartphones and tablets, requesting Cisco WebEx accounts, provisioning of physical servers and virtual machines for data center operations, and more.

To meet the IT service needs of their large customer base, Atos needed to speed up the service delivery process and serve more customers without adding additional IT staff.  According to Atos’ manager of process automation, Kert Gilpin, “We measure success by how much we can reduce service requests by email or phone and how quickly we can fulfill requests. To continue growing, we needed to automate IT service requests. We wanted to deliver IT as a Service.”

Customer Case Study: Atos Automates Fulfillment of Service Requests from Cisco Data Center

Now, thanks to Cisco Prime Service Catalog, Atos is serving more customers, faster, with the same size IT staff. Cisco Prime Service Catalog provides the one-stop shop for Atos customers to request a broad range of IT services (with more than 1,700 service options and configurations). From 2010 through 2013, Atos used the service catalog to process more than 1.5 million IT service requests from it’s customers – including more than 250,000 approvals for more than 260,000 users.

On the front-end, employees at each customer can log into Cisco Prime Service Catalog’s web-based portal interface for self-service access to their organization’s available services. On the back-end, Cisco Prime Service Catalog is integrated with the customer’s existing systems to automate provisioning for each service request. Some of the most commonly requested services in the Atos catalog include:

  • Server setup or decommissioning: Cisco Prime Service Catalog can be integrated with the customers’ data center infrastructure automation tools to enable self-service provisioning.  “Before, multiple people had to perform a manual task to provision a physical or virtual server,” Gilpin said.  “Now we use Cisco Prime Service Catalog to automate approximately 50 tasks in the workflow, taking different actions depending on the conditions.”
  • Distribution of Windows software updates and patches: For this popular service, Atos integrates Cisco Prime Service Catalog with the customer’s Microsoft Systems Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) server.  Employees receive an automated notification when software application upgrades are available. Then they just click to install the upgrade or patch.
  • Employee onboarding services: Through integration between Cisco Prime Service Catalog and their customers’ Oracle and PeopleSoft HR systems, Atos has automated new hire onboarding, transfers, terminations, leaves of absence, name changes, and changes between contractor and employee status.

This combination of self-service ordering and automation is powerful – with real and tangible benefits.  “Automation means customer requests are fulfilled more quickly,” Gilpin said. “The request is generally complete in minutes, compared to days or weeks when we manually provisioned services. And our IT team now has more time for activities that provide value to our customers.”

You can also read the full Atos case study here, and learn more about Cisco Prime Service Catalog at cisco.com/go/service-catalog.

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How Cisco IT Delivers a Robust PaaS for Application Developers

The faster internal applications can be developed and deployed, the sooner they will deliver benefits for the business. That’s an easy statement to understand, but not so easy to bring to reality. Read More »

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IWAN Wed: LiveAction 4.0 True Scalability at Any Scale

Screen Shot 2014-07-16 at 2.57.54 PMLiveAction 4.0, shipped in late June 2014, brings increased scalability to enable users the ability to see thousands of devices across their entire network on a single pane of glass. It provides centralized visibility and management enhancements while leveraging the intuitive user interface and robust troubleshooting capabilities that LiveAction has become known for.

Through a highly expandable architecture, LiveAction 4.0 provides a consolidated view for the entire network bringing central management and coordination of nodes, distributed analytics management and device interaction and configuration. This allows network administrators to easily troubleshoot and resolve performance issues in networks with multiple data centers and geographically dispersed branch offices.

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Unified Security Metrics Program—Live at RSA Singapore

Noted business management author Peter Drucker famously said, “What’s measured is improved.” When applied to the world of security, meaningful security metrics can literally transform an organization and solve real business problems. At Cisco, Unified Security Metrics (USM) combines multiple sources of data to create higher-value actionable business metrics and decision-making capabilities to protect the company’s data, business processes, operational integrity, and brand from security threats.

Hessel Heerebout, Program Manager for Cisco’s award-winning USM program, will give an overview entitled “Cisco Unified Security Metrics: Measuring Your Organization’s Security Health” (Session ID #SEC-W05) at RSA Singapore on July 23. Read More »

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