At the OpenStack Summit 2013, Red Hat announced RDO, a freely available, community-supported distribution of OpenStack. OpenStack is an open source cloud operating system that controls large pools of compute, storage, and networking resources throughout a datacenter.
In addition to the new release, Red Hat also announced today the launch of an official Cloud Infrastructure Partner Program, “a multi-tiered program designed for third-party commercial companies that offer hardware, software and services for customers to implement cloud infrastructure solutions powered by Red Hat OpenStack.” I’m excited about the solution opportunities that are possible by combining UCS and Nexus offerings with Red Hat on the OpenStack cloud infrastructure.
Read the announcement here:
Red Hat OpenStack Announcement
Why is this a good fit for Cisco’s Customers?
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Tags: B-Series, C-Series, Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud, Cisco UCS, Cloud Computing, OpenStack, unified computing, unified computing system, Unified Data Center, Unified Fabric, unified management
Increase Profits by Making it Easy to Follow the Money
Hundreds of cloud service providers around the world are seeing businesses connect into their clouds in increasing numbers. You might think this goes into the category of a “good problem to have.” So growth that should be great news for the bottom line, isn’t yet because many service providers are simply unable to capitalize on this growth — their financial systems aren’t designed to support or scale for the cloud business model effectively.
The Need for Cloud-Enabled Financial Management
Cloud service providers are transitioning from a traditional datacenter hosting model, but their existing financial systems are built for more static IT environments, fixed pricing, and monthly billing cycles. Today’s cloud environment is 180o shift from that. Resources are now deployed on-demand, scale up and down dynamically, turn on and off at a moment’s notice, and span various platforms. And while this provides greater agility and flexibility to the customer, it also means they no longer have predictable costs. As a result, customers want real-time, self-service access to their bills and controls to keep their spending from skyrocketing.
Bottom line: traditional billing systems don’t hold up to the demands of today’s cloud.
Service providers need to let themselves and their customers follow the money in an efficient, quick way. Luckily, that’s now possible.
Help Customers Navigate their Financial Relationship with Your Business—No Matter How Complex or Dynamic their Needs Are
Cisco solves the unique financial needs of our cloud service providers by providing an integrated cost management solution for Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud (IAC) from partner, Cloud Cruiser. Cloud Cruiser for Cisco IAC is a financial management solution that contains a robust set of capabilities specifically designed for service providers implementing cloud solutions based on Cisco IAC.
Automated Multi-Tenant Invoicing
One of the benefits of Cisco IAC for service providers is the ability for customers to order and manage their cloud-based services from a self-service portal. Cloud Cruiser taps into Cisco IAC to capture granular usage data and apply the appropriate business rules and rates for each customer. Costs are rolled up accordingly by company, business unit, department, and user so that reports and invoices can be automatically created and distributed, providing powerful business analytics and drill-down capabilities to the people that need them.
Holistic Bill of IT
In addition to Cisco IAC, Cloud Cruiser’s cost management platform is extensible to Cisco’s Unified Computing System (UCS) and most industry-standard public and private cloud platforms, databases, and applications. For service providers that want to bill for multiple services, such as help desk, software licenses, or other public, or private cloud services, Cloud Cruiser gives services providers a single reporting and billing solution to meet their needs. No more spreadsheets or manual consolidation of bills –service providers can now put their billing on auto-pilot and focus on their cloud business.
To optimize profitability, service providers need to be able to manage both the revenue they are receiving from their services and the costs associated with providing those services. This is where Cloud Cruiser provides unique value in the industry with its Cloud P&L. With granular insight into the profitability of individual services and individual customers, service providers can make informed decisions that impact their bottom line. If changes to pricing are required, Cloud Cruiser offers a wide array of pricing models that can be used to attract new customers or shape user behavior to influence profitability, such as promotional pricing, tiered pricing, SLAs, or discounts, to name a few.
Controlling Costs in a Dynamic Cloud Environment
For customers moving from static pricing models to dynamic, pay-per-usage models, how do service providers offer assurances to their customers that they won’t have unexpected cost overages? Cloud Cruiser offers customer-enabled budgets, alerts, reporting, and BI so that customers can manage their own spending at any level in their organization. If an unexpected alert is generated, there is a full suite of reporting tools to help identify problems and take corrective action. Putting cost control and reporting in the hands of the customers enables service providers to grown their customer base, taking advantage of Cisco IAC’s industry-leading scalability, without incurring massive administrative overhead.
The cloud market is competitive and service providers need the right capabilities to differentiate their solution to attract and retain customers. Cisco IAC and Cloud Cruiser provide a tightly integrated, full-service solution to drive greater value to your customers and maximum profitability to your business. It helps everyone follow the money all the way to the bottom line.
On the road to becoming a shipping product, our Cisco ONE Controller goes thorough a number of steps. One such step is interoperability testing at InCTRE Interoperability Lab. I recently caught up Phil Casini, Product Manager for the controller to see exactly what that entails and why our customers should care.
Phil, What exactly is InCTRE?
iNCTRE is the Indiana Center for Network Translational Research and Education hosted out of Indiana University. Their goal is to increase understanding, development and adoption of OpenFlow and other SDN technologies. We became a member in 2011 and utilized their Openflow testing services to provide us feedback on our Controllers interoperability with various network devices based on our Openflow 1.0 implementation.
How did they test our Controller?
The lab has a number of Openflow test suites that IU has developed over time In our case, they installed the Cisco Controller in their lab network that at that time utilized HP, IBM and NEC switches, then ran it through thier test plan.
How did our switch fare?
Our Controller was found to be interoperable with all three switches based on our Openflow 1.0 implementation.
What exactly does that mean for a customer?
INCTRE provides customers with independent validation of interoperability claims that are made by vendors.
So, should we take OF interoperability as table stakes? If so, what other things should customers be evaluating when they look at controller technology?
Like any other new technology, independent testing should be one of a list of evaluation criteria for evaluating vendor products. In the case of controllers for SDN, Openflow testing provides assurances that network devices can interoperate, but usually the end goal is to implement a solution. Openflow is important in that it is a means towards achieving the solution goals but it is not necessarily the end. Other criteria such as extensibility of the controller to adopt to the solution, functionality of the controller for operation in a production network environment, and the efficiency at which business applications can be adopted or created that will interact with the controller and complete the solution are other very important factors in determining a fit. On a weighted bases these may count more to reach the solution goals than the mechanism used to communicate between the controller and the network devices.
BTW, for those of you who will be at the Open Networking Summit next week, we will have both the Controller and onePK demos in out Cisco booth.
We’re at the final day of Microsoft’s Management Summit 2013 (MMS 2013) here in Las Vegas. We’ve handed out ~1,500 t-shirts; performed hundreds of demos on our technologies Nexus 1000V, UCS Manager, VM-FEX, and Cisco PowerTool; evangelized our Microsoft Cloud OS solutions FlexPod and VSPEX; and generally interacted with most of the 5,000+ attendees here.
Show attendees now have a better understanding of our technologies but also and perhaps more importantly, have a better and growing understanding of the true value we bring to their Microsoft oriented data centers.
As Figure 1 shows, organizations are challenged in many ways – staff inefficiency, unscheduled downtime, OpEx and CapEx pressures, etc. We feel our Cisco Unified Data Center is a viable solution to these challenges. It delivers operational simplicity and business agility -- essential for cloud computing. The Microsoft and Cisco alliance extends the value of the Cisco Unified Data Center by integrating Windows Server, Hyper-V, Microsoft workloads such as SQL and Exchange, and finally System Center and UCS Manager management stacks into manageable and scalable solutions. As a highly secure, scalable environment for your organization the Cisco Unified Data Center automates and simplifies deployment, orchestration, and management across server, network, and cloud.
The value derived from a Cisco Unified Data Center we is that we can now help your data center scale to meet your business dynamics; simplify your I.T. management processes; lower your operating costs while delivering world class performance. In the world of Microsoft oriented data centers, we deliver this value to your organization through:
- Cisco Validated Designs for Microsoft Private Cloud Solutions
Move to the cloud quickly and easily with the help of Cisco Validated Designs. Part of the Microsoft Private Cloud Fast Track program, these preconfigured solutions consist of industry-leading technologies from Cisco, EMC (VSPEX) and NetApp (FlexPod). Reduce your risk and enjoy end-to-end architectural and deployment guidance with pretested design guides
- Cisco Validated Designs for Microsoft Workloads
To ensure Cisco customers running Microsoft software get the most from their data centers, Cisco designs, pretests, validates, and provides support for a growing list of Microsoft solutions such as Microsoft Exchange Server, SQL Server, and SharePoint Server.
- Ability to Consolidate and Virtualize Microsoft Applications
Microsoft applications such as SQL Server, SharePoint Server, and Exchange Server are often prime candidates for consolidation and virtualization. Administrators can expedite and simplify virtualization deployment, management, and operations by using Cisco’s high-bandwidth, low-latency, virtualization-aware unified network fabric, Cisco UCS and Microsoft Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V.
As you can see from the various customer quotes – Xerox, Cassidy Turley, and ING Direct -- true value in terms of economies of scale, improved performance, and efficiencies are seen. To learn more about our Cisco Unified Data Center and its transformational power, please feel free to download our new brochure Microsoft on UCS: Simplify Your IT and Transform Your Business
To learn more about Cisco’s Microsoft data center capabilities, please visit www.cisco.com/go/microsoft
Tags: Cisco, FlexPod, Hyper-V, Microsoft, Nexus 1000v, System Center, UCS, UCS Manager, vspex
This is my talk I gave last week at Cloud Connect in Santa Clara. One slide that did not make the deck are the top reasons why people struggle with building private clouds
- Management and operations process.
- Funding Model
- Service description and self-service interface
As my deck says, “I got 99 problems, but the tech ain’t one”
Building a “real” cloud involves the following success factors
- Well articulated corporate strategy with phases (crawl, walk, run)
- Engage existing automation teams for skills
- Well-defined, achievable service definitions that are automatable, volume
- Platform that does not lock into a specific hypervisor or cloud API
- A team that is trained (with specific roles) on the solution so that they can extend it in combination with the vendor’s services organization
- Get into production ASAP to drive value and organizational learning
- Union of OOB features and specific configurations for your environment.
- Articulated strategy for integrating with certain existing/deployed IT assets, and using the new “Cloud” as a way to shed IT baggage
- Recognition that your Cloud Management Platform is extensible to other areas in the IT strategy and that partner products may be necessary as well
- Have a suite / framework so you can maintain in the long term. And use external resources
- Need clear articulation of career paths once you start removing “button pushers.” design, operations, not implementation
- Focus on process outcomes, not process activities. Or end up with innefficient processes
Tags: automation, Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud, cloud, cloud connect, Cloud Management, data center, ITaaS, orchestration, unified management