‘Twas the week before Christmas, when all through IT, not a creature was stirring, not even a sysadmin?
Well, not quite. To support the global operations for a Fortune 100 company, the IT staff are always stirring things up at Cisco. But they may be just a little less busy this holiday season. Why? Because Cisco IT deployed a private cloud earlier this year, with a self-service portal and automated provisioning for infrastructure-as-a-service.
This means that employees throughout Cisco can provision and manage the infrastructure resources they need on their own, anytime and anywhere – so our sysadmins can take a break this holiday season (or more likely, they can focus on other IT priorities).
I have had many customers and partners ask me about Cisco Cloudverse in the past 2 weeks. One of the top questions I get asked is whether we support other hypervisors besides VMware. Lew Tucker in his interview in Information week covered it well: http://www.informationweek.com/news/cloud-computing/infrastructure/232300123 . Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud works well with many hypervisors and we have seen many successful clouds built on vCenter, HyperV, and Linux KVM. We find many customers look at multiple hypervisors to prevent vendor lock-in and all the issues associated with that. The world of many clouds is indeed a complex place as organizations building a private cloud have to decide on:
Whether to use a converged infrastructure model or not
Cloud Automation software, (will the virtualization vendor’s software be enough for a pragmatic cloud?)
IaaS, PaaS or SaaS, or all of these models
Integrations into pre-existing IT operations management tools
What to expose in the Front Office (Service Catalog and Self Service Portal)
Details of the Back office (automation workflows, policies, models)
Whether to have any hybrid cloud models deployed.
I have seen Cisco Partners play a strategic role in helping their customers make sense of this complex playing field. They key item is to first understand what type of cloud an organization wants to deploy and what the Front Office should look like. Oftentimes I find organizations have a lot of opinions and pre-existing work on the technical provisioning, but have not thought much about what to present to end users / consumers of the cloud. Focusing on what the Cloud Portal would present to the ultimate consumers is really where the transformation to cloud needs to start. We tend to get wrapped around the axle with all the details of the infrastructure provisioning and leave little time to the end user experience. That is a really a career limiting move when it comes to your organization adopting cloud.
Our Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud solution, a key element of Cisco Unified Management, is a new paradigm for Cloud Automation and Management, derived from the leverage of newScale, Tidal, and Linesider acquisitions. It is both a policy and orchestration centric solution than can solve pragmatic cloud deployment needs, versus simply adopting one model (such as vCloud Director). The following figure details the considerations of policy and console based solutions versus catalog and orchestration centric solutions:
Virtually all of the customer conversations I have highlight the fact that customers want both Physical and Virtual provisioning and cloud automation. This is where Cisco Unified Management which includes the Cisco UCS Manager for Physical Server “virtualization” and Cisco Network Services Management for Physical and Virtual Network Services “virtualization”. These two technologies, alongside the Cisco Cloud Portal and the Cisco Process Orchestrator are key for creating both a physical and virtual cloud. This is what the most pragmatic of customers are looking for when transform to cloud. It is indeed a universe of clouds and Cisco can help.
Cisco Data Center Services has a simple proposition for you: Just add our recently announced Cloud Optimization Service through your existing Cisco Cisco Data Center Optimization Contract! If you have Cisco Network Optimization Service, or “NOS”, talk to your account manager on how to leverage the Cisco Data Center Optimization deliverbles
There are a lot of competitive claims made that pit one vendor against another. Its important to make a claim and back it up with the facts. Today I would like to share a fact-based analysis which validates that Cisco UCS enables you to gain competitive advantage by making your data center infrastructure more flexible, agile, and cost effective. As a result, the Cisco UCS truly transforms the business economics of today’s data centers.
The way we approach IT has been changing over the last few years. Executive management, employees, partners, and customers continue to demand more services. Waiting for applications and services to deliver information is not an option.
IT organizations are beginning to come around to taking a holistic perspective, one where they view their compute, network, and storage components as being part of a larger resource pool that has to be purchased, cabled, configured, powered, cooled, and maintained. When organizations look at their infrastructure holistically, they start to realize the cost of the traditional ways of doing business.
It seems like you can’t open an IT magazine these days without being bombarded by cloud, cloud, cloud. Going to tradeshows you see traditional vendors that have taken their existing solution packages and rebranded them as cloud. For Cisco partners and customers this can be confusing; especially since cloud comes in so many types/flavors: IaaS, SaaS, PaaS, and however people are positioning themselves. When I think of cloud I think it fundamentally boils down to an industrialization/simplification of IT. You focus and clearly define what you as a solution provider are providing, and by doing so, drive out the cost. Look at MS office for email etc. has literally thousands of options or ways to use it, but has a high cost/user/month. Gmail limits those options and by offering it free to everyone, it costs Google an ever decreasing fraction of a dollar/month. The economics are compelling. Customers like economics in their favor and partners get excited when customers want to make a transition.
On Dec 6th Cisco announced CloudVerse – an integrated set of capabilities combining Unified Data Center with Cloud Intelligent Network to deliver Cloud Applications and Services. The beauty of this position is that we aren’t telling our partners, “Thanks, we’ll take it from here!” We’re looking to them to offer this integrated Cisco vision to their customers.
“We’re putting our partners in the position to offer CloudVerse as a portfolio and new cloud capabilities.” As Ralph Nimmergood, VP of WW Channels at Cisco, stated in a CRN article published last week.
Partners are key to our cloud strategy and we’re excited to be on this journey with them.