So, goings on with OpenFlow and the Open Networking Foundation (ONF) are always lively topics for discussion. Since our announcement of Cisco ONE at CiscoLive, a number of folks have asked me if the announcement of our strategy changes our view of the ONF or the role of OpenFlow—the short answer is, simply, no.
We continue to strongly support ONF and its efforts related to SDN and our support has and will continue to been demonstrated in tangible ways. One of the elements of the Cisco ONE announcement is onePK, which is an enabling technology and one of the things it has enabled is the development of our OpenFlow agents. Similarly, we have introducing controllers and working with our customers to develop the technology.
What seems to surprise a lot of folks is that our contributions to ONF go beyond our own internal development efforts:
Technology Advisory Group - Chartered to provide high-level guidance on any technical issues faced by the ONF Board in which feedback is requested.
It seems convergence is accelerating in our daily lives with new apps on our mobile devices, cars with Siri voice control, not to mention the way we consume video. Converged infrastructure is all the rage in IT as well. VCE, the joint venture between Cisco, VMware, and EMC, has a very successful converged infrastructure offering in Vblock. Now customers have another choice, VSPEX, a set of solutions offered through our mutual Cisco and EMC channel partners.
Check out this brief video from Cisco Live in San Diego. Cisco Josh Atwell (@Josh_Atwell) speaks with EMC Fred Nix (@Nixfred) and Nexus IS Colin McNamara (@colinmcnamara) about VSPEX.
Look around in your IT shop. Do you have a single large printout page denoting the graphic of the IT Enterprise Architecture in your company? Does Zachman ring a bell? Do you have Data, Process and Deployment views documented? Do you have an Enterprise Architect?
If you answered YES to most if not all of these then you better take a seat and then throw this all out. Get the biggest shredder you can or just light a match to those artifacts. Big IT architecture is dead. Some would say we the practitioners never really got there. I agree with that. Management turnover and turnover again, ITIL deployments, imploding financial systems and reductions in funding, virtualization that sneaked in the back door, cloud that entered through the front door; this all worked against us in building the perfect system model to live out the decade, let along the most recent fiscal quarter.
If you answered MAYBE or NO to most of those questions, good for you, but be careful. I will explain about that later. Monolithic IT architectures are gone. Do we really have a single version of the truth in that relational database? Probably not. Why is this important? The pace of innovation in the deployment of IT systems to solve real life problems at speed and scale has increased. In some ways we are willing to compromise on those desires for five nines of reliability to get the business results quickly.
Do you still need a well thought out architecture for your deployed systems? Of course! Do you need to design those deployment views for new models of application resiliency, ecosystems of federated data models, and the conclusion that even the CIO’s office can’t really control what the end users do with technology? Absolutely.
Why is this important to you? No matter what part of IT or the business you are in, make a small subtle shift in your psyche. Stop trying to control what you cannot. Focus on the end outcomes, and strive to make your piece of IT process or technology listen to your customers. If you are an architect, go broad, real broad, but focus on the micro-architectures. If you are a technologist, don’t just dwell on the speeds and feeds. Live a few days in the life of your users. Manage the change that occurs through small impactful steps.
Back to building flexible automation for fast moving architectures.
In about 2 weeks there will be a great webinar panel discussion on the business and technology architecture concerns in automating your cloud and how to measure the value. Unleashing automation solutions to do what they do best may make or break a company’s IT strategy over the next few quarters as those cloud journeys begin.
The webinar,IT Automation Unplugged, a panel discussion moderated by Glenn O’Donnell of Forrester will indeed be a cool event to listen in to. Not only has Glenn followed this space for many years but he also has some really insightful perspectives on the Journey to Cloud. This webinar has the potential to highlight some really pointed dialog between myself and Brad Adams of rPath, Nand Mulchandani of ScaleXtreme, and Luke Kanies of Puppetlabs. I bet the sparks might fly as we trade our perspectives on the huge demand for private and public clouds and need for enterprises to show value quickly.
This brings me to a great phrase I heard this week from one of our customers. It was used in the context of their employees using their company’s private cloud. It was “High Governance”. It was seriously lacking in their current solution which highly leveraged their virtualization vendor’s software. I probed them on what they meant by “High Governance”. It was mostly around ensuring that individuals that provision services would get access to only the services, cloud data center locations, and specific providers that they are entitled to. While this is not a new concept, the element that grabbed my attention was that IT shops have a strong need for different sourcing strategies based upon end user role, organization, location, and any number of policy settings in their Active Directory or LDAP.
“High Governance” means ensuring that your cloud users get ONLY what they are entitled to in your IT policy. No more generic UIs for generic users or uber UIs for unknown hypothetical users. The cloud is now a strongly governed personal experience, what a novel concept.
I wonder what the panel will think about this. Please attend if you get a chance.
I am happy to announce we have a couple of new Virtual Symposia on the books. We had a ton of positive feedback on the storage session, so I hope you can join us for the two new sessions:
July 10th, 8am PT -- Software Defined Networking
July 24th, 8am PT -- Virtual Machine Networking
As before, it will be Greg Ferro, Stephen Foskett and Ivan Pepelnjak along with some smart, cool panelists in a round table format, answering your questions. The one change we made was to shorten the session down to one hour so its a bit more friendly to your schedule. Save the dates for now and we’ll have registration pages up in a couple of days.