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Announcing the new Data Center and Cloud Community!

It’s finally here- the new Data Center and Cloud community framework has launched! We created new content spaces for Compute and Storage, Software Defined Networks, Data Center and Networking, and OpenStack and OpenSource Software.

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Cisco Data Center and Cloud Community Infrastructure

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Deliver Services at Internet Speed

How quickly can your organization stand-up a new application or deploy new services?  Most customers tell me, “not fast enough!”   I am clearly hearing from them that the new standard expectation across the organization is to receive precise data center resources in “internet time,” easily and definitely on-demand.

But customers are not the only ones affected by these new expectation standards.  Application developers also expect to receive the resources they need to support their efforts within one hour — without a lot of process meetings and repetitive, slow paperwork.  They want what they want, when they need it, which is always now!  Can’t get it now?  Out comes the credit card and they go on a shopping spree to outside resources.

Developers don’t worry about security, governance or quality of service.  If you are in operations, or you’re a C-level executive, you care.  You need to meet compliance guidelines.  So how can you get everyone on the same team, working together so the organization can succeed, the old “win-win-win?”

At CiscoLive Milan in January, we introduced the Cisco ONE Enterprise Cloud Suite. Watch this replay of our live broadcast.

 

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Now is the Time to Migrate from RISC/UNIX to Cisco UCS

Why is now the time to migrated from your proprietary RISC/UNIX platform to Cisco UCS with Red Hat UCS migrationEnterprise Linux. There are several reasons: Technology transitions are driving new demands on data center and IT infrastructure. These new applications and computing models have standardized on x86 architecture while aging RISC/UNIX infrastructure doesn’t provide the performance or the flexibility required to support the needs of the business. IT departments may also be experiencing the pain of RISC/UNIX maintenance and software licensing costs while their budgets are flat or shrinking. At the same time, overarching uncertainty about RISC/UNIX futures foreshadowed by rapidly declining market share combined with dropped hardware and software support. According to the most recent IDC Q42014 server tracker, RISC revenue has dropped 40% from 2012 to 2014 while Cisco UCS revenue has increased 80%.

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Active SLAs – New Approach for Multi-sourcing Governance

Last month, I attended the International Association of Outsourcing Professionals (IAOP) Outourcing World Summit in Phoenix, Arizona. I had the chance to glean fresh insights from industry-leading practitioners and get a global view from sourcing executives.

Though there has been an evolution in the outsourcing industry, one thing has not changed: outsourcing is a winning strategy. In the recent study from IAOP & Information Services Group (ISG) Annual State of the Industry 1 presented at the event, it stated that Multi-sourcing as an outsourcing approach increased by 75% from last year’s percentage”. The predictions for 2015 also show continued growth: “51 percent of respondents in the survey said they expect to pursue more outsourcing opportunities during the year”.2

Multi-sourcing – where a customer uses several service providers to provide a single scope of outsourced services, is now the new norm in outsourcing. In today’s organizations, outsourcing is increasing and each additional outsourcing agreement makes it more difficult to holistically manage IT service & support.

A new way of thinking about SLA’s is required to make multi-sourcing effective

Service-level agreement (SLA) management is the process of negotiating, defining and managing the levels of IT service. SLA management is a key challenge that organizations face as part of outsourcing and it is becoming increasingly difficult with multi-sourcing.

Most organizations invest heavily to define SLAs. If you talk to the service tower owners themselves, fewer than half have know what SLA’s are actually in the contract. They also cannot recall all of the specific details that the increasing numbers of the agreements contain. So, there is a lot of work that goes into developing these structures but there is no framework established on how to govern them in an automated way.

As a result, most SLA management is reactive. Periodic reviews between buyer and vendors are based on summary performance data from the prior period. Data from vendors is typically inconsistent and inaccurate. I was speaking with a sourcing executive at a large financial services company a couple of months ago, and she reported that half of the meeting time spent with vendors on performance was used just to agree on what an accurate view of the data was. This hardly aligns to the dynamic nature of business today.

New Paradigm on Thinking about SLA’s

Imagine the ability to manage SLA’s with each of your providers in real-time with one service integration framework. In a workshop we held in New York with a number of large buyers and providers late last year, they highlighted that this would not only move the service management model from reactive to proactive, but would also enable a more collaborative working model – moving away from the “us vs. them” paradigm. In one multi-sourced organization we’ve implemented this model in, it has completely eliminated after-hours escalation calls and dramatically reduced resolution times. With an active SLA capability you can manage all of the multi-sourcing relationships from one “pane of glass” and get accurate service information in real-time, such as:

  • Overview of all your open cases per provider
  • Cases trending towards SLA violation that you can proactively take action on
  • Actual violations that require immediate attention

To be effective, this solution would need to be very easy to consume, showing only what really matters up front. Front-line managers don’t have time to browse hundreds of tickets when only looking for one affecting the SLA. This all sound promising but is it possible to achieve?

Transforming multi-sourcing with active SLA’s

We are pleased to announce the availability of Active SLA Management in the 7.0 release of Cisco ServiceGrid. With a highly innovative user experiences via a centralized dashboard and reporting capability for the connected multi-sourced ecosystem, you will gain real-time visibility & drill-down functionality for events trending toward or violating SLAs to enable a more proactive, end-to-end vendor management capability.

If you would like to know more, feel free to browse:

 

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Sources:

  1. Annual State of the Industry Jagdish R. Dalal, IAOP
  2. Outsourcing 2015: Changing in a Good Way – Contributor: ISG Research, February 2015

 

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The New and Improved Data Center Blog!

We are excited to announce the creation of the Cloud blog as a new destination!

Starting today, you can visit the new Cisco Cloud blog and follow the conversation focusing on:

  • Cloud as a Service
  • Open source in the cloud
  • Intercloud

 There is more to come so please subscribe to the RSS feed to keep up with the latest from the Cloud blog.

 The Data Center blog has grown and evolved over the years and we will now be centered around (but not limited to) the following top level conversations:

  • Data Center: Compute, Storage, and Networking
  • Software Defined Networking
  • Building private clouds
  • Open source software in the data center

We look forward to being able to bring you more focused content. Thank you for all your support and interest and please let us know what topics you would like to see.