“Terrific! Fantastic! Cisco have delivered yet more innovation and data center switching and unified fabric leadership. All these new features and capabilities!” …. BUT … (and you may be asking this question) …. “How can we exploit these new features quickly? I’m just too busy!”
Let’s face it -- these new data center capabilities are not much use sitting on your loading dock or drawing board. You’ll know this better that me -- it’s one thing to have new features available, it’s another challenge to exploit them by designing them into your architecture -- that is where the real skill comes in. But you’re busy, are unbdoubtedly overloaded, and wondering how you can get it all done.
So how can we help you translate these excellent new features into your production data center? How can you get access to our Cisco experts who have (each!) architected literally dozens of unified fabric designs? Perhaps you don’t need or want a full multi-week design exercise -- what other options are available to you? What can Cisco do that is small, quick and provides you with the key expertise to guide your direction on unified fabric adoption and evolution?
Let me continue the theme of my previous blogs and show how Cisco Services can help you exploit these latest market-leading innovations. I’m going to focus on how Design Reviews with our data center experts, through our Cisco Data Center Optimization Service (discussed previously here), could really take the pressure off you and your team and deliver real business benefits at the same time.
If you are a regular followed of the Cisco Data Center blog, or of Cisco news in general, you will have heard about our recent announcements that reconfirm both our market share leadership and technology leadership in the data center switching space. With our Cisco Data Center Optimization Service -- a subscription service that in essence gives you a “pick list” of consultancy options that you can adopt as and when needed -- you can choose to have one-off or periodic Design Reviews with one of our data center experts. In these design review sessions, our expert will review and critique your latest design, before you commit to it. We’ll review the design from the perspective of your future business requirements, to ensure it meets these needs. Using our unique insights into Cisco technologies and roadmaps, we’ll help you find ways to expand on the capabilities you have already designed in. We’ll help identify scaling issues and other design issues or limitations. These design reviews can indeed accelerate your adoption of the new Cisco data center and unified fabric capabilities and scale.
Here are some of the advantages that Cisco Data Center Design Reviews will bring to your team.
Help You Focus on Your Architectural Roadmap
Our consultants tell me that they often find customers too time bound to look at their “bigger picture”, or dealing with organizational constraints that impact the effectiveness of their designs. Some customers may be looking at the data center network only, without understanding the impact of a new application roll-out on the network and storage estate. Some customers we come across are impacted by the “Winchester House” scenario. Some customers may have a great network security design but are not - due to organizational politics -- able to assess security weaknesses in the server estate. Our consultants provide you with the added resource and expertise to help address the wider architectural implications of your design. The can help you break down architectural silos that (unfortunately) do impact data center designs. For example, it may be that your server team don’t like you as the network team pointing out weaknesses in their approach (or vice versa of course!). Often the credibility and experience our consultants bring into an engagement can break down these barriers and create a win-win for multiple teams, including yours.
Give You Access to Unique Cisco Intellectual Property
Cisco Services’s consultants have access to unique perspectives and information on product features and roadmaps. Internally as I have learned, Cisco is one of the most connected companies on the planet. I used to work in Cisco’s Development Organization, working on network management products. Over time I noticed how our Advanced Services consultants would be in touch with me regularly. They wanted to know about strengths and limitations on particular features. They wanted to know the inside story on our roadmaps. When I worked with them on customer engagements, I observed at first hand how those customers benefited from this “inside track” -- in ways that other customers, who chose not to engage Cisco Services, could not. So during a data center design review, you can be sure your consultant will pull on these contacts and knowledge bases to ensure your design exploits these “golden nuggets”.
Help Future-Proof Your Design
Because our consultants have this internal view of the technology implications and futures, a major benefit they bring via a design review is to help you “future proof” your design. They can help ensure your design will support your business for longer, and evolve in line with your business requirements. We’ll help you avoid “rip and replace” and avoid costly re-designs and ensure your equipment choices won’t come back to haunt you -- I’m sure some of you reading this blog have been forced into redesign exercises because of incompatibilities and end-of-life decisions on some of your equipment choices.
Making Your Design More Resilient and Lower Cost
Finally, when I discuss actual customer design review exercises with our our consultants, I regularly hear how they have helped these customers avoid failure points that were present in their original design. I’ve even heard of cases where the design review helped customers avoid what was originally planned equipment expenditure, by eliminating the need for some of the original design (and in one case saving the customer several hundred thousand dollars!) As a former (software) designer myself (ok yes it was a long time ago! ), I know how easy it is to overlook a particular issue that impacts the performance and/or robustness of your design -- and I learned the hard way many times that design reviews were a very quick and cost effective way of catching such issues early in the development cycle, before their correction starts to cost you much more than the time invested in a design review.
Manufacturer’s Design Assurance
Perhaps your boss is pressuring you: “How do you know this design will really work? What would Cisco say on your design” he asks. Perhaps you are using another professional services firm to design your data center, and you want to double check their recommendations. Engaging Cisco Services for a design review session can help put your mind at rest -- this will help you check, validate and update your design to align it with Cisco best practices. You’ll get that “rubber stamp” of confidence you need to deliver best support for your business and avoid any potential “career limiting moves”.
To conclude, when you think about the new unified fabric features that we are launching just now, have a think also how you can design these into your data center -- and how Cisco Services can help you with design reviews from our Cisco Data Center Optimization Service. Please do get in touch if you’d like to know more!