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The Secret is Now Out: You Can Simplify Cloud Deployments with Cisco Unified Management

By now you have may have seen the Cisco announcement of the Unified Data Center and Unified Management http://newsroom.cisco.com/press-release-content?type=webcontent&articleId=578106.  This exciting story around Unified Management began in the late summer of 2010 when the engineering team in Cisco’s Tidal Software acquisition began the integration of the Tidal Enterprise Orchestrator and the UCS Manager.  We realized that we could take our experience with hundreds of customers in application automation and apply that toward infrastructure automation, specifically around provisioning, virtualization and cloud.  Our future was cloudy and that was indeed a good thing.

Five months later after intensive technical and business innovation, in the third week of January in 2011, the Intelligent Automation Solutions Business Unit introduced our cloud automation suite which brought the ease of Amazon EC2 to the private cloud for both physical and virtual clouds.  The solution consisted of newScale’s self service and service catalog technology, integrated to the Tidal Enterprise Orchestrator for  automation of infrastructure provisioning and IT operations management tool integrations.   I had been a customer of both of these companies at a previous job and had experienced the benefits of automating both the end user and back end systems with these two companies.  With the new use cases of data center and cloud automation I was convinced that these technologies could be the basis of something transformational for our customers.

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Next generation of Cloud Applications

According to Friday’s Dec 2, 2001,  Wall Street Journal , Google will have a 1-day shipping service to challenge Amazon’s Prime service . The news reminded me of some great talks I was able to attend at CA World 2011 in Las Vegas.  One of the talks was by Dr. Timothy Chou of Stanford University on Cloud computing applications. Another was by Cisco VP Marie Hattar on the impact of an intelligent network on our lives. The third was on the future of application development by CA Technologies CTO Dr. Ferguson, who I knew from working in the WebSphere organization at IBM.

Dr. Chou’s talk was in three parts -- namely the economics of the Software business, kinds of applications possible with cloud computing, and the new generation of cloud applications. The service Google is embarking on is precisely the kind of application we can expect where software provides a context sensitive service while understanding the customer’s needs.  Dr. Chou illustrated the evolution of software delivery starting with the traditional license model to open source software, then to outsourcing and finally Software as a Service. He showed the economic efficiency of Cloud computing (Software as a Service).

He went on to state that the ad-based revenue model that Google has embraced allows them to deliver the search software to users at a fraction of the cost of the traditional license model.  In the second part of the talk, Dr. Chou described how cloud computing innovation lies in the business model and not just technology.  He identified application services that can benefit the most from the cloud model, namely high growth applications and those that have highly variable demand characteristics.  He speculated that cloud services would be specialized and differentiated based on location, performance and innovative business models such as spot pricing.

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Cisco Data Center at Gartner Las Vegas

December 5, 2011 at 6:31 pm PST

Do you want to know what’s happening at the Gartner Data Center Conference in Las Vegas on the  Cisco side ?- Here are  a couple of hints, before a more comprehensive report in the following days

-Giuliano Di Vitantonio, Cisco VP Data Center and Switching Marketing will discuss  tomorrow Tuesday December 6th at 1:45 pm (room Octavius 23)how Cisco data Center solutions help customers to achieve  business agility, financial efficiency and IT simplification. As the pace of business continues to place strains on IT departments Cisco’s unified data center solutions bring together computing, networking, storage, and management resources to deliver a more cost-effective, secure, and efficient IT operating environment.

In addition, of this session, Satinder Sethi, Vice President, UCS Solutions Engineering, Ecosystems, and Technical Marketing, will explain on December 7th at 9:00 am (room Augustus 5) why the Unified Computing Systems are the preferred platforms for virtualization and cloud .
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Best Practices for Application Delivery in Virtualized Networks – Part I

Earlier this year the Webtorials Analyst Division, co-founded by Dr. Jim Metzler, surveyed their subscriber base of IT professionals. Not surprisingly, 75% admitted that when a core business application degrades in performance, the end user notices before IT does. Therefore, 85% also believe that it is important, very important and even critical to senior managers that they take a more proactive approach to managing acceptable application delivery (See Figure 1).

Source: Metzler, Jim, “2011 Application & Service Delivery Handbook”, p. 14

Click here for the 2011 Application Service Delivery Handbook -- Cisco

Contributing to the challenges of ensuring good application performance are the very innovations that are meant to simplify business and IT operations. These include data center consolidation, virtualization and the wide variety of applications that IT must support– all of which creates operational issues for IT. Not to worry – there are best practices that IT organizations can implement as application delivery challenges continue to evolve. In Part I of this blog post on application and services delivery, I’ll share what I consider to be key learnings from Dr. Metzler’s comprehensive 129 page guide. We’ll start with some core challenges:

Key Application Delivery Challenges

Proliferation of different types of applications: Today, companies utilize a wider variety of applications than ever. Some applications are business-critical. Others enable other business functions. And still more applications support communication and collaboration. Not only do they vary in criticality, but they also vary in their demands on the network. For instance, video streaming, which causes a lot of strain on the network may be key on some occasions (think company-wide all hands meetings a la Apple’s tribute to Steve Jobs), but recreational during other times. IT managers must audit company-wide application use, pinpoint a select group of business critical applications and formulate and execute a plan for optimization.

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Part 4 – Finally – @ Garter Data Center Conference, London

December 4, 2011 at 3:11 pm PST

Time to close on this topic for me with a brief update from one of Cisco’s strategic partners, VMware, and one of our European customers, Colt.  You can find parts 1, 2 and 3 of my conference update in my previous blogs.

Colt are a European service provider, one of the growing number adopting Cisco Unified Computing (see Cisco UCS gaining serious steam).  A few of my colleagues in Cisco Data Center Services recently helped one of the Colt teams adopt the Cisco Unified Computing System for their cloud roll-out.  The Colt Data Center Services team were at the conference last week -- this part of Colt offer wholesale data center space and I talked to them about their Modular Data Center offering.

With VMware -- who need no introduction -- I asked what was top of mind for them.

You can see and hear from both companies in this short video.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1zJdGPSV7c

Oh -- and finally, for a laugh -- being one of two Scots in the Cisco Data Center Services team, I really should point you to the latest VoD on why you should Choose the Right Network:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PHLiiwdbKwM

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