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The Value of Orchestration: What Did Captain Kirk Know That Scotty Didn’t? & The Roach Motel Infrastructure Issue

Recently, a customer asked me what was the value of using automation to operate a private cloud?  It was a good question. Working  in the middle of the reality distorition field of the cloud industry I take it for granted that everyone knows automation’s benefits.

Fundamentally, automation tools help to reduce labor costs, rationalize  consumption and increase utilization.

Costs are lower because the labor required to configure and deploy is eliminate. This automation is possible by creating standard infrastructure offerings. Standard infrastructure offering make possible a new operational model: to move from the artesanal approach of delivering infrastructure ,where every system and configuration is uniqe, to the industrialized approach, that ensures repeatability, quality and agility.  It’s the difference between custom tailoring and standardized sizes at The Gap. Both have their place, but one costs more.

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Packet Pushers Podcast on the ASA 1000V Cloud Firewall

November 7, 2011 at 1:32 pm PST

Packet Pushers LogoGreg Ferro and Ethan Banks from PacketPushers.net have released today an in-depth technical interview with Rajneesh Chopra, Cisco’s Product Line Manager for ASA security products, on the new Cisco ASA 1000V Cloud Firewall that we announced last month.

Greg and Ethan do a great job getting past the marketing hype and diving into the technical meat of the product to really help IT managers and network architects understand how the product fits into their environments. Give it a listen and let us know what you think.

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The Status of Cloud Adoption in the UK – CloudWatch Market Research Report

November 4, 2011 at 11:47 am PST

A few weeks back, Cisco in  the UK released a report on the status of cloud adoption in  the UK -- based upon market research by an independent market research consultancy.  This report covered multiple customer segments, including retail, finance, public sector, service provider and others. I though many people across the world would be interested in some of the fascinating fact and figures, and conclusions, from this report.  Market research is a key part of my role, and last year I blogged on some market research I did on cloud a while back (here and here).  As a result I’m always interested in good pieces of market research, of which this “CloudWatch” report is an excellent example.

In this blog, I’ll point you to the full report and summarise and comment on some of the key conclusions.

If you’ve read some of my previous blogs, you’ll have seen that I work on our Cisco Cloud Enablement Services, our family of professional services offerings that have and are helping many customers across the world develop their cloud strategies, and realise their cloud computing architectures.  These services are illustrated below, and include the recently announced Cloud Optimization Service.

Cisco Cloud Enablement Services - including the recently announced "Cloud Optimization Service"

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Expanding the Nexus 7000 family

Cisco recently announced the Nexus 7009 chassis expanding the Nexus 7000 family to 3 chassis. To refresh your memory on the Nexus 7000 family, here’s a quick at a glance comparison.

I often get asked, why Cisco introduced a 9 slot chassis when we already have a 10 slot chassis. The simple answer is – customers asked for a smaller form factor Nexus 7000 switch that delivers the high performance and resiliency that the Nexus 7000 family is known for.

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A trend impacting Data Centers – “Consumerization of IT”

In my previous blog, I had written about the use of mobile applications in the data center.  Since then, I understand there is a new application for monitoring Cisco UCS on the Blackberry Playbook .  Is this a trend?  Is this a trend towards mobility or is it a trend towards consumerization of the work place?  Yet another term I have heard is “Prosumerization” of the Enterprise.  No matter which term is used by authors, the underlying shift is towards a simpler, user friendly approach to getting work done.  If that means using smart phones, then so be it.  Unlike my generation of workers, willing to put up with circuitous and acrobatic maneuvers to get things done, the younger generation is used to simpler interfaces and they are demanding the same from enterprise systems.

My one and a half year old niece who has grown accustomed to using iPhone Facetime to chat with my kids grimaced and acted surprised when she heard my daughter on the phone and did not see her face on a screen. I vividly recall having to wait patiently for hours to receive a subscriber trunk dialing call in order to talk to my parents when I was in college. The point is that we now have relatively sophisticated networks and tools, and user expectations are very high.  Enterprise users expect their tools to just work, like cars and smart phones (have you read the iPhone manual?). There is also an expectation that the network is always on and can stream high resolution video.

Do you use your personal phone to access your work email?  The line between work and home has blurred for most of us.  Thanks to the network, we work from our home offices and with colleagues half way round the world at odd times of the day. No wonder we like to use the same tools and gadgets we are familiar with.

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