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Don’t Fear the Cloud Workshop (Part 4 of a 4 part series “Who moved the IT cheese while I was getting production back up?”)

Part 3 — Your Cloud Journey and Roadmap with Intelligent Automation for Cloud

Part 2 — How Agile is your Cloud?

Part 1 — The End of Big IT Architecture

This is a real story.  Places and names have been changed …

By now, this blog series has hopefully convinced you to throw out the old school approaches and turn the calendar to July, 2012.

I really enjoy talking to groups of people in IT about a specific problem.  There is an organizational dynamic that occurs when good collaboration is going on.  Even constructive confrontation has its place.  The best and most forward looking IT shops realize that they don’t know it all and especially for a new area that they need the benefit of a Cloud Workshop.

What is a Cloud Workshop?  It is a one day slice of time where the Intelligent Automation team at Cisco helps a customer group envision their near term and future cloud value.  It usually unlocks a stuck team.  It can raise standards.  It can clarify a path through the old school thought forest.  It can be challenging on both sides.  It is critically important to get a cross section of all major departments:  service management, the desktop team, virtualization, identity management, compute, network, storage, infrastructure engineering, and program management.  What do we do with this cross sectional group?

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New Virtual Symposium: Network Programmability and SDN

As promised, here is the registration link for the first of the two new Virtual Symposia this month.  For those of you not familiar with the Virtual Symposium concept, check out this post for the long explanation–the short explanation is that its a 60 min panel discussion driven by your questions on a topics that we see generating a lot of questions.

The standard panel consists of yours truly, Greg Ferro (EtherealMind), Stephen Foskett (Tech Field Day), and Ivan Pepelnjack (ipSpace), then for each event, we add other folks we think you’ll want to hear from.

Virtual Symposium 3: Network Programmability and SDN

The topics are meaty and the panel is opinionated, so this should be good session–bring your questions and we’ll do our best to keep you enlightened and entertained.

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New Forrester Report Offers Insights to Deploying Virtual Network Services

An interesting new report has been issued by Forrester Research that provides a great deal of market research and insight into the challenges of the data center network supporting large-scale virtualization. The report provides a representative view about the types of obstacles organizations are facing and where they are making new investments, along with some recommended best practices. As usual, the application services infrastructure is one of the biggest challenges, i.e., how to replicate the layer 4-7 and security services that mission-critical applications require in a highly virtualized or hybrid cloud environment. While servers and networks have largely been virtualized, relying on physical firewalls or application controllers can undermine or limit the beneficial effects of virtualization.

Forrester starts by pointing out what benefits customers are looking for and where they see the greatest growth in virtualization going forward. Over the next four years, Forrester sees 500% growth in total virtual x86 workloads that will be hosted in private cloud IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), where virtual servers are isolated between tenants, compared to 170% growth in private cloud pools in organizations’ own data centers. Forrester points out that overlooking virtual services can “negate private and public cloud investments”, however. 33% of their respondents indicated that they have difficulty integrating public services with internal virtual infrastructures, with 24% specifically citing “frustration with capability, agility and flexibility of traditional application delivery controllers (ADC)”. (see next table).

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Virtual Symposium #2: Cisco ONE

We decided to take advantage of the fine collection of smart people running around at CiscoLive in San Diego, and tape another in our Virtual Symposia series.  This one was a bit different than in that we started with a Cisco-specific seed topic and we did not take live Q&A due to the logistics of being live and onsite at CiscoLive.

I think the show turned out well–we have a wide ranging discussion on not just the Cisco ONE announcement but also SDN, network programmability and implications for networking folks.

This wide-ranging discussion touched on a number of topics:

  • Contrasting Cisco’s ONE strategy with SDN and OpenFlow in general
  • APIs, OpenFlow, and XML
  • What will people do with SDN in the future?
  • Distributed and autonomous versus centralized
  • Standards: IEEE vs. IETF, de facto and interoperability
  • VXLAN and the Nexus 1000V – Is 1000V SDN?
  • Operational and organizational impacts
  • Systems engineering
  • Thinking of networks as flows

The video is hosted on the Tech Field Day site.

As I noted last week, we will be hosting Virtual Symposia #3 (more on network programmability) and #4 (VM networking) later this month.  I should have the registration links up tomorrow.  We have a killer panel coming together and we will once again have most of the show dedicated to audience Q&A, so I hope you can join us for those.

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Your Cloud Journey and Roadmap with Intelligent Automation for Cloud (Part 3 of a 4 part series “Who moved the IT cheese while I was getting production back up?”)

Part 2 – How Agile is your Cloud?

Part 1 – The End of Big IT Architecture

(with contributions from my teammates Mike Eisenstein and Jim Kao)

This blog guides you through the considerations after you have taken the first step in your Journey to Cloud with the Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud Starter Edition.

Once you have deployed the Starter Edition, you can take some time to experience the benefits and begin to start noting where you need your company’s cloud roadmap to go next.   What are the key things that you, your business, your users, and your operations need to take them to the next level?  Many of these will be in the next edition from Cisco, others will require building an integration into a system that is critical such as your ERP environment to enable chargeback.  Let’s break the discussion in some key areas:


Starter Edition works with UCS and vCenter.  While Cisco would like to see your entire datacenter filled with UCS and Nexus, we do realize that you may have other vendors on your approved buying list.  You may decide you want to leverage your Cloud Portal, Process Orchestrator, and Server Provisioner across a number of computing hardware vendors.   We have customers who provision both physical and virtual servers across Cisco and other vendors.  It is one of most common heterogeneous integrations that we do.  This allows the end user to order compute as a service with little regard to which flavor the physical server is.

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