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Cisco Live 2012 and All Things Desktop Virtualization!

Another Cisco Live is just around the corner!  Are you going to be in San Diego?  I can’t think of a better backdrop for what will be a packed week full of learning opportunities and the chance to network with peers from across the globe.  IT pro’s will converge on the San Diego Convention Center and take in rich, interactive, and educational content in areas ranging from Video, to Networking , Security, Mobility, Collaboration and Data Center. Read More »

Part 2: 10 Things Vmware Server Admins Should Know About Self-Service Catalogs and Lifecycle Management

This is part 2 of the series “10 Things Vmware Server Admins Should Know About Self-Service Catalogs and Lifecycle Management” that I’ll be publishing over the next couple of weeks.

Number 2. The service catalog is the place where your user can document (communicate) their request

Let me show you an example.

If you go to an e-commerce storefront and choose to look at Cisco UCS servers, they are broken down their servers into classes (Rack, Blade, etc), which then provides different models, which can then be customized within the parameters allowed for that model.  I’m not saying this makes sense for your environment, but the break down between classes, models, and then self-service configuration is a useful construct for thinking about your templates.

What are your standard classes of environment you provide?  Could it be production, development, QA?  What about models? Could those be on-line transaction processing, extranet, intranet HR, basic web server, basic database?

We would want to ask entirely different set of questions and configuration options for an extranet, high transaction database than for a personal development environment, wouldn’t we?

It’d also make our job much simpler and faster if we know what parameters were involved for that particular request.

The service catalog is key to enable your customers to:

  1. Discover what’s available me
  2. Guide me based on my high level needs,
  3. Help me compare models, then
  4. Assist me in customizing my configuration.

And of course all the tracking, workflow and life-cycle management that the service catalog enables.  This is what makes a service catalog different from a “web form front-end” to a help desk — automation is the big difference.

 

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Cisco’s Data Center and Cloud Team at Gartner IT Summit this Week

Will you be at the Gartner IT Infrastructure Operations and Management Summit in Orlando this week?  The Cisco data center and cloud team is.

We’ll be featuring our Unified Data Center and Unified Management solutions, including UCS and Intelligent Automation for Cloud.  And our experts will be on hand to discuss key topics including data center virtualization, desktop virtualization, and private cloud.

Even if you won’t be at the event, you can get a preview by watching this 20 minute video webcast on how to get started with a private cloud. Register and view the webcast here.

And if you are going to the Gartner summit this week, here are some Cisco activities that you won’t want to miss:

Read More »

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Part 3: 10 Things Vmware Server Admins Should Know About Self-Service Catalogs and Lifecycle Management

This is part 3 of the series “10 Things Vmware Server Admins Should Know About Self-Service Catalogs and Lifecycle Management” that I’ll be publishing over the next couple of weeks.

3. The catalog system is more than a document, it’s also used to manage the life-cycle of the resource

What’s great about VM’s is how fast and easy they are to provision, but sometimes they are hard to kill.
I see the emails going around that say: “no one is touched that instance, who owns it?”

Back when resources were scarce, our hunter gatherer customers in Application Development and QA learned to never let go of a server.  Like woolly mammoth’s they were hard to catch and came only sporadically; in the summer of ROI funding, or when great migrations came. Most of the time, QA was starved for resources.  So they hoarded.

And while executing the initial request for a server environment through the service catalog gives you a nicely documentation and speed, over time changes happen and configurations drift.

This process of managing a server or environment from “as offered,” to “as agreed,” to “as built,” and then managing the change requests against it, is what I mean by lifecycle management.

The service catalog, being the source of “as offered,” “as requested” and “as built,” contains the whole lifecycle for your VM, plus information on who owns it, for how long they need it, and any other relevant data that went into the build sheet.

Unlike a static spreadsheet, when looking at a server, you can see what the maintenance hours, SLA’s and OLA’s are. The lifecycle system an tell you what types of requests can be made against that VM (like add memory, for example).That server can be started, stopped, snapshotted, upgraded.  Notice they are all verbs against a thing, the VM instance.

The result is we have complete business context information about the server, the history of requests about it, subscription information and of course the proper technical build sheet, including workload requirements.  As one VMware admin recently said, “I wish I’d known that you can only work on that server on Saturdays after 5pm.”

 

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Measure Twice, Cut Once

If you’re like me, you’ve ignored this sage advice a time or so.  Thankfully my most recent rush to a solution was remedied by a trip back to the home improvement store and $100 or so.  Most IT “goofs” extract a much dearer cost.  In this third installment of Cisco Insights – Cloud, Bob Dimicco profiles a non-profit company who successfully resisted the pressure to jump straight on the Cloud project bandwagon.  Instead they opted for a thoughtful, measured approach.  Partnering with Cisco, they first conduced a thorough strategy and business justification assessment.  By focusing on their key business drivers and desired outcomes, they were able to get a complete picture of benefits, costs, and a deep understanding of where the true ROI would be.  They allowed the facts, not the hype or pressure to guide their direction.  Watch the video find out where they went next on their journey to cloud.

Read about two other companies’ cloud stories in my previous two blogs:

  1. Good Help is Essential – A Software Company Partners with Cisco Services to Uncover Cloud Opportunities
  2. Public Cloud with Confidence –  Find out how Cisco Helps a Leading Consumer Packaged Goods Manufacturer with Cloud Management

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