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The Journey You Need To Take To Deliver IT As A Service

Previously I talked about the growing demands and how the role of IT has to change from a cost center to a business strategic partner.  It’s important to acknowledge that getting an organization to the point where it can implement IT as a Service isn’t easy, nor does it take place all at once.  Every customer has their own journey and different customers will take different journeys.  For some, it’s all about doing what they do now, only more efficiently or perhaps adding new capabilities. For others, it’s about making that full-blown transformation to service-driven IT.

So how do you get there? Each phase expands into a series of key initiatives…

It all starts with moving into more of a unified architecture of network fabric and corresponding operations.

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Gartner Report Highlights Benefits of Server Virtualization

Every IT manager is tasked with gaining efficiencies across the data center and IT infrastructure while providing the business agility to react to changing demands, ultimately moving the data center from a cost center to a competitive weapon. IT organizations are looking for virtualization technologies to increase utilization levels, improve staff efficiency while reducing space, power, and cooling needs.

While virtualization technology has improved IT efficiency and made server consolidation possible, it has also created many challenges. Traditional virtualized infrastructures can be complex, difficult, and time consuming to scale. Network ownership may be split between network and server administrators. Security may take a back seat to application mobility. And the massive number of virtual machines these environments spawn can tax server, network, and storage administrator resources. Read More »

Cisco Domain Ten: Domain 4: The User Portal

The New Year 2013 has well and truly arrived – Happy New Year to all – and it’s time for me to continue on the Cisco journey of data center and cloud transformation.  Last month I introduced the Cisco Domain TenSM  framework, the approach we in Cisco Services take to help customers enhance and transform their data centers. As a summary introduction, our latest video which shows how the Cisco Domain Ten framework helps guide you on such a data center transformation.

I then discussed the first few domains individually: (1) Domain One – Facilities and Infrastructure, (2) Domain Two – Virtualization and Abstraction, and (3) Domain Three – Automation and Orchestration.  Now let’s examine Domain 4 – the User Portal, which I’ve highlighted in the diagram below:

Cisco Domain Ten framework - Highlighting Domain 4, the User Portal

Cisco Domain Ten framework – Highlighting Domain 4, the User Portal

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Scenery from Skyfall, cycling by the Loch Ness Monster and 60mph+ Winds

If you’ve followed my posts over 2012 for Cisco Data Center,  you may have noticed that I took a slight departure back in September from data center topics to tell you about a “Giving Back” initiative I was part of in 2012 – the “Deloitte Ride Across Britain” (RAB).   I noted previously the role of Cisco WAAS as part of our “Network on Wheels”, one of the technologies we consult on in our Cisco Data Center Services customer engagements.   I did at the time promise an update on the actual ride itself, which if you read my earlier post, you may be interested in. So forgive me while I stray from the data center topic for today!

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Was 2012 Year of the Converged Infrastructure Solutions?

As we got past the Mayan Apocalyse day and as 2012 comes to an end, a question to reflect upon is if this has been the year of the Converged Infrastructure Solutions.   Incidentally, use of these solutions by data centers was a topic of discussion on a panel moderated by Jim McHugh last month.

Just so we are on the same page, Converged Infrastructure Solutions are those which have integrated servers (CPU & Memory), server virtualization (hypervisor) and storage with the necessary network access into a single entity or logical unit.  Examples are the VCE Vblock, NetApp FlexPod, Hitachi Data Systems UCP, IBM PureFlex System and HP CloudSystem  (all names are trademarks of the respective companies).  Even Dell has started marketing converged systems.  The term pre-integrated has to be dissected carefully.  In some cases the precise choices on server, storage array and the hypervisor have already been made by the vendor.  In others, there is a choice on these infrastructure components and the solution is a reference design with tested scenarios.  For instance, the Vblock is a fully integrated and tested solution with Cisco UCS for servers and network access, Cisco MDS 9148 storage switches, EMC VNX series storage and VMware virtualization.  The misunderstanding on converged solutions is deep enough that an IBM PureFlex video goes on to compare the UCS Manager (manages only the UCS components) to the PureFlex management software, when in reality it should be compared with the Vblock management software. Read More »

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