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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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PacketPushers @ CiscoLive

So, if you are a networking geek of any sort, you should be listening to PacketPushers–for both the education and the sheer entertainment value.  This year, we tried something a little different with the PacketPushers team and had them join us onsite at CiscoLive.  Below are six of the podcasts they produced for us:

  • PQ Show 002 – Cisco Cloud Services Router With Prashant Shenoy
  • PQ Show 003 – Cisco onePK With Richard Pruss
  • PQ Show 004 – Catalyst 4500X and 4500E
  • PQ Show 005 – Cisco Nexus Updates With Ron Fuller
  • PQ Show 006 – Nexus 1000V Update With Han Yang
  • Show 107 – Cisco Software Defined Networking Strategy With Omar Sultan

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How Agile is your Cloud? (Part 2 of a 4 part series “Who moved the IT cheese while I was getting production back up?”)

Is your organization moving to a cloud model through a well thought out RFP with at least 40 requirements?  May I suggest that you rethink this model.   The RFP approach with a committee generated wish list may work in some situations, or even be required, but in general the IT shops that really differentiate themselves go Agile for the cloud.  What does that mean?

In our business unit we have turned the development of our Cloud Automation platform:  Intelligent Automation for Cloud to an Agile development methodology and process.   This means when I ask if we will have a certain feature in our 3.1 version, I get an unexpected answer:  we won’t know until close to the ship date.  Going agile means we work off a backlog of user stories versus a hard and fast set of features that MUST be in the release.  We can ship at anytime with the right methodologies in place.

This approach also works for our customers in building their clouds with our software stack.  Agile cloud builders have a set of cloud user stories that they are implementing and may release the updated version of the cloud functionality every quarter, or even every 2-3 weeks.   When relaying this approach that one of our customers is taking to another customer considering our solution, I could see a twinkle in his eye as he said:  I bet that could really help differentiate the value the IT organization provides.  He got that right.

We sell to customers who have RFPs and those who look for capabilities, roadmaps, and more importantly an alignment of vision and approach to cloud automation.   Many cloud builders look for vendors who will grow with their agile cloud and one that has an open and extensible model to build new use cases with.   Why is that of paramount importance?  If you think you know what your cloud needs six months from now, good luck.  If you bet on the fact that your business and technology requirements will change before you get to your next release of your cloud you will need an agile cloud builder methodology.

Back to responding to, SIGH, another RFP.

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What Comes Next with Cisco and the ONF?

So, goings on with OpenFlow and the Open Networking Foundation (ONF) are always lively topics for discussion.  Since our announcement of Cisco ONE at CiscoLive, a number of folks have asked me if the announcement of our strategy changes our view of the ONF or the role of OpenFlow—the short answer is, simply, no.

We continue to strongly support ONF and its efforts related to SDN and our support has and will continue to been demonstrated in tangible ways.  One of the elements of the Cisco ONE announcement is onePK, which is an enabling technology and one of the things it has enabled is the development of our OpenFlow agents.  Similarly, we have introducing controllers and working with our customers to develop the technology.

What seems to surprise a lot of folks is that our contributions to ONF go beyond our own internal development efforts:

Technology Advisory Group – Chartered to provide high-level guidance on any technical issues faced by the ONF Board in which feedback is requested.

Hybrid Working Group – Document the requirements for a hybrid programmable forwarding plane (HPFP).

  • Chaired by Jan Medved
  • Hybrid Use-cases document: Co-author: Bhushan Kanekar
  • Hybrid Switch Architecture – Integrated: Co-author Bhushan Kanekar
  • Hybrid Switch Architecture – Ships in the night: Co-author Dave Meyer
  • Terminology document: Co-authors: Dave Meyer, Bhushan Kanekar

Beyond these two working groups, the Cisco folks, including Jan Medved, David Meyer, Josh Littlefield, Andrew Thurber, Alex Clemm, Mark Szczesniak and Bhushan Kanekar have been active in other workgroups including the Configuration & Management Working Group and the Extensibility Working Group.

Beyond these efforts, David Meyer has been a rock star across the board including contributions to the “OF futures” discussions and recently received an award from the ONF for his contributions.

To net things out, Cisco expects to be a pacesetter with regards to network programmability and SDN and our efforts with ONF will continue to be part of that strategy.

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Cisco and EMC VSPEX …accelerating the journey to the cloud

It seems convergence is accelerating in our daily lives with new apps on our mobile devices, cars with Siri voice control, not to mention the way we consume video.  Converged infrastructure is all the rage in IT as well.  VCE, the joint venture between Cisco, VMware, and EMC, has a very successful converged infrastructure offering in Vblock.  Now customers have another choice, VSPEX, a set of solutions offered through our mutual Cisco and EMC channel partners.

Check out this brief video from Cisco Live in San Diego.  Cisco Josh Atwell (@Josh_Atwell) speaks with EMC Fred Nix (@Nixfred) and Nexus IS Colin McNamara (@colinmcnamara) about VSPEX.

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