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The Automation Imperative

So what’s with the increased interest in automation lately?  No doubt you’ve noticed there have been more than a few blogs already written on this site and others espousing the importance and value of automation.  (“Meet the Newest Member of Your Data Center Operations Team,” Tere’ Bracco, November 8, 2010 and “Mad Scientist Alert,” Christopher Kennessey, October 27, 2010) What trends lie behind this demand?  Three come to mind:

1)     Disappearing cost-benefit of offshoring

2)     Increasing skills shortage

3)     Growing adoption of virtualization/cloud technologies

And each of these deserves a bit more exploration. Today, I will focus on offshoring and leave the other two for future blogs.

Moving IT operations to low-cost parts of the world has been a very lucrative exercise for the past two decades.  However, the financial benefits that were obvious 10 years ago are mostly gone thanks to increasing salaries in India, China, and other emerging countries combined with rising hassle costs (compliance, regulations, security, communications, language, and management) associated with off-shoring.  Here is a quote from Sramana Mitra who wrote a very well publicized and much debated article in 2008 titled “The death of Indian outsourcing” (http://www.sramanamitra.com/2008/01/22/death-of-indian-outsourcing/).  She writes “Rising wages in the most popular offshore centers (especially Bangalore), are eroding the cost advantage that drove this business to India in the first place. When the practice began, there was a 1:10 cost advantage. Today, this has dropped to 1:3. Over the next 5 years, perhaps, it won’t make sense to send work to India anymore.”  Further complicating the offshoring play is the 20-40% attrition rates seen in many of these low-cost countries.

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Who to follow for Cisco UCS?

Last week this question popped up on Twitter, so I thought it might be helpful to pull all the responses together into a concise list.These are the ones that are frequently sighted for sharing information, problems and solutions with the broader community.

I’m sure we’ve missed many people, blogs or other great sites for information, so please help us by adding more in the comments. You can follow this via a Twitter list.

NOTE: The content on the blogs listed below are not official Cisco statements or opinions, but often contains in-depth technical details and experience from live UCS deployments. Official Cisco UCS content: such as Products, Case-Studies, Documentation, Developer Community is available via Cisco.com.

Cisco Customers
@colovirt -- ColoVirt blog (Service Provider)
@ThomasMaurer -- Thomas Maurer Blog (Service Provider)
@mikestanley - Desktop Virtualization
@bigmike2002 (Insurance)

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New Whitepaper: Cisco UCS, Citrix XenDesktop, and Atlantis ILIO

Published this week: this new whitepaper discusses the joint solution built on Cisco UCS, Citrix XenDesktop, and Atlantis ILIO - designed to deliver stateless VDI desktops with a shared master disk implementation, providing storage IOPS offload, reduced up-front CAPEX, and increased desktop/application performance.  The Atlantis ILIO solution has been tested for interoperability and scalability with the Cisco UCS and Citrix XenDesktop Validated Design (CVD), to deliver faster desktop boot times, logon, antivirus scanning and overall desktop performance.  The whitepaper is available for download here

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Bringing Virtualized, Multi-Tenancy to Data Center Networks

Over the last few weeks you’ve probably seen several announcements about expanded delivery from Cisco and our ecosystem partners in the area of Integrated Compute Stacks; specifically around SAP and VMware View 4.5 support on VCE Vblock, and E-SMT support on FlexPod for VMware. These solutions are allowing companies to take the next step in a journey towards Private Cloud and delivery of Better IT services for their business and customers. By simplifying the ordering, sizing, deployment, automation and integration of virtualization within the Data Center, customers are beginning to see the transformation from a 70/30 environment focused on maintenance to one that can free up capital and human resources to drive new innovation. Read More »

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Defining the Virtualized Collaborative Workspace

Today Cisco announced the Virtualization Experience Infrastructure (VXI).  I wanted to take the opportunity to discuss this new system, and offer some thoughts on what it means, relative to desktop virtualization.

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