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So many workloads and so many clouds ….

 

Recently, I had the opportunity to join a discussion regarding the #FutureOfCloud in the #InnovateThink  Tweet Chat. One of the questions that came up revolved around the process typically used to associate a workload with a specific cloud deployment model. That is an important question and top of mind whenever we speak with customers.

One of the most appealing qualities of the cloud is the variety of ways in which it can be delivered and consumed. A successful cloud strategy will let you take advantage of a full range of consumption models for cloud services to meet your specific business needs. In reality, when we think about it, the process is very similar to what any company in virtually any industry goes through when shaping its business strategy. For each area of the business, inevitably the question arises: Build, Buy or Partner?

Build versus Buy

When formulating their sourcing strategies, IT organizations repeatedly face very similar service-by-service, “build-versus-buy” decisions. The predisposition of IT organizations is to create and build IT services on their own. That is what many IT professionals want to do … create new services, invent ‘new things’. And that may very well be the best option. However, many customers also realize that it is often beneficial to adopt best-in-class capabilities to remain competitive even if this requires outsourcing select portions of the IT value chain. Hence the emerging role of IT as a broker of IT services that we discussed in the past (for more information please visit our web site.) And this requires a paradigm shift for many IT organizations.

Solving the ‘Equation’

To solve the “build versus buy” equation when sourcing their IT services, IT needs to evaluate cost, risk, and agility requirements to determine the best strategy for their business. IT needs a plan and a set of governance principles to evaluate each service based on its strategic profile. A collaborative approach between business and IT is also required. For example: Is the service core to the business? What is the business value associated with it (e.g., strategic importance, sustainable differentiation it can provide, time to market requirements etc..)? What are the cost implications (CapEx vs OpEx), risk profile, security, SLAs, data privacy and regulatory compliance requirements?  And … do you have the expertise to plan, build and manage the new IT service while meeting the expectations of your business counterparts?

Hybrid Cloud Rapidly Emerging as the New ‘Normal’

Not surprisingly, my experience when talking to customers that operate in regulated industries or that are concerned about security -- and the privacy of their data more specifically – is that they tend to favor private cloud deployments. For example, I was talking to a compliance manager part of a global financial institution and as soon as I uttered ‘public cloud’ his reaction was quite predictable …. He shook his head, got serious and quipped “Public cloud … I do not think so …” Real or perceived, security concerns remain top of mind and a major barrier to cloud adoption, and this is validated by market research data.

Hybrid Cloud

The predictability of the application with respect to resource consumption is also a factor. Applications that have high elasticity requirements are well positioned to benefit from the economics, agility and scale that public clouds can offer. Infrastructure capacity planning and optimization is a big task for most IT organizations. Having the ability to burst into the public cloud represents an appealing option. This is also why ultimately hybrid cloud is becoming the new normal, and results of the 2014 North Bridge Future of Cloud Computing Survey supports that view.

2014 Future of Cloud Annual Survey Results - Source Gigaom

2014 Future of Cloud Computing - Annual Survey Results

The Power of Choice

Arguably the most important thing your IT organization can do is to diversify its choice of cloud providers ….. Simply because without choice you really do not have a strategy …. And no contingency plans to go along with it ….

What do you think?

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The Future of Cloud, Part 3: Transparency in the High Performance Cloud

(This is part 3 of a 7-part series sharing insights from Cisco partners about the Future of Cloud.)

At CiscoLive!, attendees had the chance to meet with many companies offering cloud services.  Dusten Tornow, Director of Infrastructure Products at OneNeck IT Solutions, shared some of his thoughts on the world of many clouds with me.

OneNeck offers a variety of services related to cloud, everything from basic collocation services to ReliaCloud, the company’s infrastructure as a service (IaaS) offering.  “ReliaCloud serves as a platform for a host of services that we can run on top of it.  We have a lot of customers migrating their enterprise workloads from on-premises onto ReliaCloud.  Then we provide managed services for them and run the whole infrastructure from start to finish.

OneNeck’s focus has been on enterprise workloads that need a high performance cloud.  Their service is a Cisco Powered service, meaning they have gone through a rigorous certification and third-party audit of their offering.  I asked him why OneNeck would choose to offer a service that has such a high bar when there are so many alternatives that don’t require an audit.

“When we decided to build out our cloud infrastructure,” said Tornow, “we knew that we wanted to align with enterprise vendors like Cisco because their technologies resonant with our customers as being high performance.  They recognize that if they were to go out and build their own cloud, it would likely look and feel a lot like what we’ve built.  Being able to be transparent with what our equipment is made out of and built upon is a huge advantage for us.

“Using the Cisco Powered reference architecture is a no-brainer.  It’s a great place to start.”

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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IT Transformation: Understanding environment and business goals

In my last blog, I established reasons behind today’s need for IT Transformation. We know that CIOs hope to cut their budget in half, but this will be difficult unless they understand their Enterprise Environment, as well as, the management goals that align with their organization’s overall IT transformation efforts. Today we will take a deeper dive into understanding both. Because there is no “one size fits all” way of embarking on an IT Transformation journey, it is important that each organization looking to begin this process makes their own set of assessments, starting with a baseline assessment of their Enterprise Environment: Read More »

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IT Transformation: Strategizing for Cost Saving and Investing for Business Enablement

IT organizations face several challenges: a globalizing economy, the increasing cost of IT ownership, business users directly going to public Cloud providers, the difficulty of operating complex environments, effectively enabling innovation as well as variety of risks around security and compliance.  Given these challenges, IT decision makers must innovate and conduct business differently in order to remain effective. Data shows that despite years of IT cost reduction programs, the industry on average has only managed to shift an additional 1% of IT spend towards growth and innovation.

Does transforming your IT mean moving from a cost center to a business enabler? Changing your architecture to include Cloud? Redesigning applications or selecting off-the-shelf application? Or moving from a centralized IT delivery to IT services broker? A majority of business leaders have said “yes” to all of the above. Read More »

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FlexPod, Based on UCS Integrated Infrastructure, is a Leader in Integrated Infrastructure

July 16, 2014 at 1:01 pm PST

The month of June was very exciting for FlexPod.  On June 16th, Gartner released their 2014 Magic Quadrant for integrated infrastructure with FlexPod positioned in the leaders quadrant. On June 25th, Cisco and NetApp FlexPodannounced FlexPod has generated $3 billion in joint sales since its launch in 2010 with more than 4100 customers. The very next day, IDC released its Worldwide Integrated Infrastructure & Platforms Tracker for Q1 2014 with FlexPod ranked number one in factory revenue.

The integrated infrastructure segment continues to be one of the fastest growing IT markets. IDC has this segment growing at a staggering 69 percent per year. Cisco is a core vendor in the integrated infrastructure market with leading integrated systems built on top of UCS integrated infrastructure (Cisco UCS, Cisco Nexus, and UCS Director). According to the latest IDC tracker, UCS integrated infrastructure participates in the top three integrated Infrastructures.

Cisco and NetApp plan to integrate innovative technologies into the FlexPod architecture, including Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) and Intercloud Fabric, along with NetApp’s clustered DATA ONTAP and Flash technologies. We are proud of our achievements and thankful for our customers in helping us achieve this success.