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Begin your Journey to the Cloud with Cisco’s Cloud Starter Edition

Please be aware that this product is no longer sold.

As Jason Schroedl  announced, http://blogs.cisco.com/datacenter/announcing-the-new-cisco-intelligent-automation-for-cloud-starter-edition Cisco’s Intelligent Automation Solutions Business Unit, in conjunction with the Unified Computing System has just announced a solution for customers of UCS and vCenter that want a Cloud Automation system that can perform both Physical and Virtual server provisioning.  It is called the starter edition for a reason.  We find that many customers are not sure what they want from their cloud and are looking for a great place to start.   This is not what I call the “starship enterprise” of clouds.  It is the first step that a company will take on their cloud journey.

See my previous blog for some key concepts of success cloud deployments:  http://blogs.cisco.com/datacenter/five-things-that-successful-cloud-deployments-have-in-common/ and on my cloud owner manifesto for successful cloud builders: http://blogs.cisco.com/datacenter/cloud-owner-manifesto-12-habits-of-successful-cloud-builders/ .

Let’s look at typical cloud deployments.

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My First Cloud: Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud – Starter Edition

Please be aware that this product is no longer sold.

Introducing Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud -- Starter Edition. Or as I like to call it, My First Cloud.

I’ve written in the past of cloud being journey to a new operational model and thus makes demand on the technology, process and organizational model.  It changes the relationship between the provider and the consumer of a service.

This operational model is one with resource pools available on demand, metered, pay as you use.  The reality for many enterprises is this is aspirational and not a realistic first step.

Today, he resource pools are funded by department, there’s no automation or self-service to meet the on-demand self-service aspect of cloud.

And there’s lots of fears beyond security; like the fear of rampant waste and capacity outages.

There’s also the issue of complexity and where will the skills to do service design and automation will come from? Global 2000 companies can easily afford big ticket consulting engagements, but smaller ones can’t.

The channel is key to serve the rest of the market but where are the channel partners for cloud?

So complexity and lack of expertise, in our view, were seriously hindering the adoption of cloud operations.

Our response is the first in a series of products to bring cloud operations capabilities to different market segments.  For example, the needs of a mid-size organization are very different than the needs of global enterprise and different again from a service provider.

Even in service provider, there are huge differences in operations and scale between traditional managed hosting provider, an outsourcer, a webscale company and a national telco or network provider.

So the way to simplify delivery for midsize business,  enterprise departments or smaller managed hosting provider is to embed an operational model, pre-packaged automation and a set of competent channel partners that can quickly and inexpensively turn on your first cloud at a reasonable price.

This is what Intelligent Automation Starter Edition represents: a simple, inexpensive way to get to a customer’s first cloud.

Customer’s can use it to learn how to operate the first basic offering; also, it’s upgradeable to Cisco’s Intelligent Automation -- Standard Edition when the customer  needs additional, more sophisticated service offering

I recommend start with a video demo.  Information page is here.

Jason wrote about it, so head there as well

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Build and they will come…

“If you build it, they will come” is one of those cliches that have been proved wrong over and over again throughout history. Cities, railway systems, buildings, airports, luxury residents and other such structures have been built, but barely or ever used. There are many interesting reasons for such failures -- cost, location, convenience, surrounding dependencies to name a few, but all of these boiled down to some aspects of planning or lack thereof.

It is always fun to build something, say for example, a new Cloud infrastructure. Ok, I am sure you saw this Cloud association coming ! With all the technology and tools available to us, building a Cloud environment to meet our business needs is a challenging but interesting venture. Once this infrastructure is built, now what ? It is one thing to have a kick-”donkey synonym” state-of-the-art Cloud Data Center, but a whole different ball game to actually put users on it ! This is what I want to focus on, the “..they will come” part.

For most enterprise environments applications and data have evolved over time and it’s fair to state that they have a very complex dependency model. At the same time, the network, servers, storage and other Data Center elements have also evolved. Cloud service providers, regardless of what flavor of Cloud (Private/Public/XaaS), will have to think about how to interface the new Cloud environment with existing, often legacy environments.

Migrating and on-boarding tenants and applications from an existing system to new Cloud environment is not an easy process. If this is not thought through and diligently planned, then you run the risk of a Cloud environment under-utilized or idle.

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FlexPod with Microsoft Private Cloud: 1st Solution Validated for Microsoft’s Private Cloud Fast Track Program

April 19, 2012 at 5:00 pm PST

We’re pleased to announce that that Cisco’s and NetApp’s new FlexPod with Microsoft Private Cloud solution is the first design validated by Microsoft for their updated Microsoft Private Cloud Fast Track 2.0 program.

Built on Windows Server 2008 R2, Hyper-V, and System Center 2012 this new FlexPod offer helps customer reduce infrastructure and application deployment times from days to hours while helping them achieve greater utilization of their physical and virtual resource pools.

Various integration points of the solution were demonstrated for the first time this week at Microsoft’s Management Summit 2012 (MMS) in the Cisco booth as well as the NetApp booth.  Here MMS attendees learned about, and saw in real-time action, the extremely tight integration with System Center and Windows Server that both companies have engineered in the solution.

The Cisco UCS Management Packs and NetApp® OnCommand™ plug-in to System Center 2012 allowing customers to monitor and manage FlexPod and any applications running on top—from a single interface. Customers can then comprehensively manage NetApp storage systems and Cisco UCS from within System Center 2012, and they can automate compute and storage workflows across their cloud infrastructure.

To learn more details on the FlexPod with Microsoft Private Cloud architecture, please visit:  http://www.cisco.com/en/US/solutions/collateral/ns340/ns517/ns224/ns1150/ns1154/ucs_flexpod_ms_netapp.pdf  

 

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Ready, set, go with Virtualization Experience Infrastructure – Hiren Desai

Ready…

Over a year ago, I blogged about the evolution of Enterprise Desktop environment and what it takes for an IT organization to evaluate a VDI project. Much has changed in a year – there has been an explosion of devices such as smart phones and tablets and employees and C-level executives are increasingly demanding access to corporate networks and data through their personal mobile devices. While it’s proven to be a productivity boon for employees, this consumerization of personal devices in workplace – the phenomenon known as Bring Your Own Devices (BYOD) –  has forced IT and data center administrators to reconsider everything from network security to bandwidth capacity and is at the forefront of most IT administrators’ business plans.

After listening to a wide variety of customers from many different markets, there is one thing that has become very apparent – it is all about apps, data, and a rich user experience. When it comes to day-to-day collaborative applications such as voice, video, and WebEx, they have to run seamlessly from a variety of devices. In short, the perfect storm of BYOD clients, rich media applications, access methods, and compliance requirements are influencing IT decision makers to re-evaluate their approach to desktop virtualization implementation. Many of our customers are looking for a solution that supports voice/video/collaboration in a VDI environment and asking for help architecting their datacenter, network and end point strategy so that they can accommodate richness of devices and various collaboration applications. While it is important to have a well-designed datacenter, we need to stay focused on user experience in a virtual desktop environment while building architecture that addresses security, management and faster provisioning.

Set…

Cisco’s Virtualization Experience Infrastructure (VXI) incorporates technology innovation in datacenter, network, collaboration applications, and end-point devices – a new Unified Workspace.

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