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Cisco Completeness of Vision and Execution Ability in the 2010 Magic Quadrant for WAN Optimization Controller

Cisco’s placement was evaluated on both completeness of vision and the ability to execute in the “Magic Quadrant for WAN Optimization Controllers (WOC)” authored by Severine Real, Andy Rolfe, and Joe Skorupa and published in December, 2010.

Gartner 2010 MQ

2010 Gartner MQ for WOC

In addition to our position in the 2010 Gartner MQ Report, Cisco introduced WAAS 4.3 software in December 2010, which provides a rich and comprehensive portfolio of innovations such as virtual WAAS (vWAAS), WAAS central management for the WAAS Express, and improved optimizations for Cloud (SaaS) applications like Microsoft Office 365.  These most recent innovations and significant customer wins in the recent quarters showcase Cisco WAAS market leadership.
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Why the Network Matters for Virtualization and Cloud Computing

I’ve written before (here, here, and here) that Cloud Computing is more than some cool software running on a server. Sure, the applications are the sizzle on the steak (+ all the marketing terms -- dynamic, elastic, on-demand, etc.), but there’s a little more to it than that. A user needs to access the application, get the information quickly (or sent it information), and feel confident that the information was delivered securely. The application doesn’t always know what type of device will access it (PC, Mac, Browser, Tablet, Smartphone, etc.), so it can’t be 100% sure it’ll deliver the best user-experience.  And users will demands that applications continue to run regardless of the mobile device’s location. All those demands on applications get a lot easier, and in some cases require, an intelligent network providing the infrastructure.

But people often forget those details because they have become so accustomed to a robust network always being there. They might struggle to define the value of that network, just as Kodak did in defining “original technology” in the famous Mad Men episode (Carousel).

Don’t take my word for it, hear what Cisco Cloud CTO Lew Tucker had to say during a recent set of meetings with industry analysts -- here, here, here, here and here. Read More »

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UCS And Your Management Universe

I’ve mentioned our diverse management partner ecosystem more than a few times. This naturally leads to a couple of different questions for a lot of people:

1.       Why does Cisco rely on 3rd party software providers for monitoring, provisioning/configuration, and service orchestration? And

2.       Which tool does Cisco recommend?

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“Cisco should have made this version 2.0”

As you may have already noticed, we released UCS Manager v1.4 in late December. While I was busy cooking and eating my way through the holidays, others were less fatteningly and more productively engaged with checking it out. Here’s what they had to say:

First, our own Sean McGee provided an excellent overview of the new features on his personal blog.

Cisco partner Dave Alexander talked about the implications of direct-attach storage capabilities

Customer Michael Heil was upgrading to 1.3 in mid-December, and then promptly did another upgrade to 1.4 a couple of weeks later.  His in-the-moment reaction is here.

Cisco partner Jeremy Waldrop posted about his favorite features, too--different things than Mike.

And thanks to v1.4, we already have a customer signing on to UCS for a blade/rackmount combo architecture.

What Will UCS Mean For Your Job?

Yesterday morning I got around to catching up on Gartner.com and came across an article (G00209080) about staffing needs before and after server consolidation.  Interestingly, the first point they make is that there may be many reasons IT leaders won’t actually let anybody go, from legal reasons in some locales to the practical reality that there are always more and better things to throw staff at, if only they could be freed up from the firefighting that classically consumes 70% of their time.

That doesn’t mean that consolidation projects are pointless or won’t save money.  The key is framing the objective of such projects in terms that are meaningful to a CEO: to paraphrase John Chambers at Gartner Symposium, “revenue per employee and cost per unit served”.  If your leadership can get more services spun up more quickly and supported well with an essentially flat IT budget, the CIO has contributed net value to the organization.

What UCS brings to IT is just that: in the remarkably short term, you can spin up and support IT services much more easily. People measure this differently: Slumberland reduced per server management costs from $1575 to $80 with Cisco UCS; ExamWorks expects to support 250 employees per IT head, vs 50 at a similar size firm. But pretty consistently if anecdotally, our customers are seeing about an 80% reduction in ongoing operational costs, which translates into new opportunities to scale their businesses with existing resources.

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