For the last decade, IT organizations have faced the challenge of managing budgets that are 70-80% channeled towards maintenance costs while business demands are growing faster than ever. The result is that many requests for new projects have to be turned down and more and more business opportunities are missed.
If we look within the data center, the majority of the costs is associated with people and software, but the the root cause of those costs is legacy infrastructure that is very complex and expensive to manage. The flaws of this legacy infrastructure are often masked by layers of complex management software, which have developed to stitch together systems that were not designed to be integrated.
Legacy infrastructure prevents business agility and financial efficiency because it was not designed for environments like Cloud that require fast deployment, automated provisioning of resources, open-API’s, and “self-service” consumption models by business users. Nor was it designed for environments where physical and virtual resources have to co-exist. Finally, it assumed operational models that can’t meet the Performance, High Availability and Security requirements in the context of workload mobility and deep integration between compute, network and storage environments.
As a result of all this, Data Centers have evolved towards an accidental architecture that still contains too many silos of applications that are difficult to maintain and manage.
For these reasons, Cisco has created the Unified Data Center platform, which provides a new approach to design the data center infrastructure and prepares our customers for the opportunities that Cloud will bring along in the future.
Cisco has a long history of anticipating the convergence of technologies in an effort to reduce costs, streamline operations, or unlock new ways for the business to leverage technology. Cisco has a deep understanding of these transitions, having helped reshape the industry numerous times in the past, most notably with the convergence of voice and data. We are now doing the same by bringing together Compute, Network, Storage and Management within and across Data Centers.
Successful transitions involve new ways of not only thinking about the business challenges, but also about designing the underlying technologies to be agile, efficient, and simplified. Bolting together existing technologies doesn’t deliver the desired result.
A Unified approach is needed to unlock this new business potential.
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.
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.
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 . Read More »
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
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.