As the London 2012 Olympics kicks off today, the 100m sprint event will be one I’ll definitely be watching on TV. And with Cisco as the Official Network Infrastructure Supporter for London 2012 – an event that is generating huge excitement here in Cisco UK and Ireland as well as Cisco globally, let me use an Olympics analogy to illustrate how Cisco Services helps you accelerate deployment of our recently announced Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud Starter Edition, described in excellent detail by my good colleagues Wayne Green and Jason Schroedl.
While the 100m sprint will (hopefully!) be won in a sub-10 second time, without doubt the winner will have taken much, much longer in preparation. Like all the Olympic sports, the 100 sprint is an event where the participants will have prepared for several – if not many – years. They are at the top of their game. As I learned recently in a seminar at our Cisco Scotland office with Olympic medal winners Roger Black and Steve Backley, what is maybe not so visible is that they all have an extensive team behind them, helping them deliver that fantastic time. And despite their own expertise, commitment and talent, they will have called on specialist expertise – physios, expert trainers, even sports psychologists – to help them accelerate from those starting blocks and over that finishing line in record time. And for those competitors participating for the first time in such a major event, this background team will be all the more important in helping them develop their race plan.
If you’ve read some of my early blogs, you’ll know I’m somewhat cynical about the sometimes restricted scope that others in our industry portray the topic of cloud computing. The adoption of cloud computing requires you to consider a variety of IT and data center challenges, ranging from network and compute infrastructure to hypervisors and pervasive security, chargeback and more. Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud, an integral part of the Cisco cloud strategy, addresses the needs of some of these key requirements of a cloud computing solution- namely cloud automation, orchestration and self-service portal. So much so that I could make the case quite easily that Cisco Intelligent Automation is one of the major differentiators between a traditional data center and a cloud-ready data center.
To support our Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud product launch, we’ve recently enabled the global Cisco Services team to deliver a range of new services to help customers deploy Starter Edition. With Starter Edition, you can deploy it in one of 3 ways –
- “Standard” – out of the box, as it were, into your data center environment
- “Enhanced” – taking advantage of a range of powerful enhancement options, and
- “Custom” – where you may require custom designed cloud services, end user portals and automation workflows
And as the diagram below illustrates, we’ve aligned our services offerings to each of these modes of deployment.
These services each help customers achieve a well defined deployment goal. These services can also be aligned with a pragmatic phased approach to solution rollout – a topic I’ll return to in my next blog. They are also aligned to the various customer groupings we typically find. Some customers prefer to have something up and running quickly. They are opting for the “Standard” deployment, preferring to defer enhancement and customization to later phases of their cloud automation rollout. Services providers and public sector organizations who plan to offer shared services require advanced features such as multi-tenancy, and as such,the “Custom” deployment service is more appropriate. We’ve also analysed the needs of customers and determined a range of commonly requested enhancements to the out-of-the-box product, that we enable in the “Enhanced” service offer, and these are best served the middle tier in the above diagram, the “Enhanced” offer.
Aha you say, we’ve deployed management products before, we have a good team, why do I need Cisco Services?
As with my Olympic analogy above, you can be more successful in your cloud project by adding to your team a group of people who bring additional perspectives and expertise, who’ve “been there, seen it and done it”. You can be more successful when you have a detailed deployment plan, when you have people on your team who have invested thousands of man hours in understanding the product, working with the software developers to understand the nuances of the product, to understand the strengths and alternative options that are at your disposal in these complex software solutions.
Cisco Services can bring these facets to your team, saving you substantial time and accelerating your project milestones. This year, I’ve had the privilege of working with a highly disciplined team of experts in cloud automation – the solutions architects in our cloud automation team within Cisco Services. I’ve participated as they invested the thousands of man hours in building out a deployment methodology, while they learned the best practices in how to customize and extend the product to meet your needs. You can add them to your team through the above set of offerings. And you can accelerate from the starting blocks to make this your most successful management solution deployment ever.
For our Olympic sprinters, it’s not just about the 10 seconds they run the race for. It’s about all the preparation investments they’ve made, in advanced of the race. And it’s often their background team – and the specialist expertise they engage – that takes them from a competitor to a world record holder. Cisco Services can be this team for you.