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Return on Big Data – How Workload Automation Plays a Key Role

A few weeks ago I participated in on a webinar panel  http://event.on24.com/r.htm?e=404085&s=1&k=639DAC16BAF88F2B7260152679635F00
around Big Data and the return on that data.  I was joined by Ivan Chong, EVP from Informatica http://blogs.informatica.com/perspectives/author/ivan-chong/ and Van Baltz, VP and CIO of Station Casinos, http://www.stationcasinos.com/, where we discussed Van’s aggressive project to roll out a realtime big data system.  This  deployment , using Informatica Powercenter and the Cisco Tidal Enterprise Scheduler was an impressive project that drove both a new architecture and critical changes to the people, processes and technologies.   Ivan used a great analogy around the exhaust from applications.   Nowadays, IT shops deploy and run many applications that run the real-time business for their companies.  All these applications produce exhaust, namely the data after all that work is done.  This data is very valuable.  It can tell a lot about your business, your customers and your execution to meet the corporate financials.

Cisco’s Tidal Enterprise Scheduler is a master at moving this data around and processing it so that the business IT users have the data they need to run a real-time business.

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So what do we *not* do in Cisco Data Center Services?

Recently I blogged on the rise of UCS and my own perspectives joining Cisco Data Center Services around the launch of Cisco UCS back in March 2009.  I then posed a quick poll on the Cisco Data Center Facebook page, with a number of options, asking which of these options did we in Cisco Data Center Services *not* offer to our customers today. Thanks to all who took the time to answer the poll.  So let’s look at the summary of our services I presented in my previous blog (diagram below), and let’s discuss what you said via the poll.

Cisco Data Center Services Portfolio Evolution 2008-2012

Cisco Data Center Services Portfolio Evolution 2008-2012

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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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