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The Napkin Dialogues: “Open”-ing up to SDN

April 10, 2014 at 5:06 pm PST

I consider myself to be a reasonably intelligent individual. Well, perhaps “reasonably” is a debatable term; just ask my friends. Or my wife. (Then again, don’t ask my wife.)

Reasonable or not, though, I’ve been trying to wrap my head around what all this “software defined” stuff is supposed to mean, and I have to confess it’s been a bit circular: it’s almost as if you have to already know the information you’re trying to learn.

So where are the Napkin Dialogues written for people like me? Is everyone a super-genius programmer-cum-networker-cum-programmer and I just missed the boat? People are throwing around these “Open” terms left and right (e.g., OpenStack, OpenFlow, OpenDaylight, etc.) as if it’s an “open” and shut case.

Well shut. The. Front. Door. I’m going to have to be on the receiving end of my own napkin then. For me, it’s been feeling like I’ve been dropped into the middle of a maze with the lights turned off.

[Screenshot of "Dark Maze" game by Zomg Games Studio]

[Screenshot of "Dark Maze" game by Zomg Games Studio]

Yeah, kinda like that.

If you already ‘get’ this stuff, feel free to help a poor storage networking guy along in his journey, because I already know this iceberg goes all the way down.

To someone who is familiar with tried-and-true Data Center designs, I’m just having a hard time getting my head wrapped around 1) getting from here to there, and 2) just where there is! Read More »

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Cisco Intercloud Provides a Platform for Application Enablement and Innovation

 

Over the past weeks, Cisco Cloud Services  introduce a global Intercloud .  Today I’d like to explain how Cisco Intercloud provides a platform for Cisco, ISVs, and partners application enablement and innovation.

Infrastructure as service (IaaS) is a very small part of the overall cloud adaption requirements needed to enable business agility, growth, and transformation. This is an area that service providers and Telcos have been trying to optimize with traditional BSS, OSS, and provisioning systems over the last several years. The overall market for cloud in these providers is very small and not growing quickly due to their lack of development and application enablement in the physical and virtual layers. These layers are becoming commodity capabilities and not easy to differentiate business capabilities on without adding tremendous cost from enterprise software and advanced services. Even with this added cost, enterprises are failing to transform because basic IaaS is a very small part of their overall business needs.

IaaS

This is not to say that IaaS does not matter. Where IaaS matters is their efficiency and platform capabilities that enable businesses to innovate seamlessly. In addition, cost models and SLA are very important to businesses.
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The Fourth V in Big Data

At Cisco Live! Melbourne, I was invited to speak at the Executive Symposium to nearly 100 of Cisco’s top customers in the Australia and New Zealand region.  In my talk, Gaining Insight from the Big Data Avalanche, I covered big data business opportunities and technology challenges.

To level set at the start, I opened with a definition of big data, including the typical velocity, volume, and variety seem to be the three V’s everyone hears when it comes to big data.    But then I challenged the audience to consider the fourth and in fact most important V, holding back on identifying it so the audience could consider what was missing.

Gaining Insight from the Big Data Avalanche from Cisco Data Center

After an appropriate pause, I told them the most important V was value.  Value is the only reason to work on big data.  This value must be seen in better business outcomes such as:

  • Higher Customer Profitability
  • Faster Time to Market
  • Reduced Cost
  • Improved Risk Management
  • Better Compliance
  • Greater Business & IT Agility

It is interesting how people get knocked off guard by the big data buzzwords.  So go back to the basics.  Start by getting your business case in order.  Once the value to the business is understood, juggling higher data velocity, volume and/or variety becomes an engineering problem. Certainly, a new class of engineering problem, requiring new technologies and skills, but it is a fully solvable engineering problem nonetheless.

For IT, big data is as much an organizational change challenge, as a technology challenge.  Practical first steps that seem to work well include:

  • Experiment with a smaller, “SWOT” team on a selected set of projects.  This is a great way to introduce something new.
  • Go for some quick and easy wins, rather than boiling the ocean with large-scale initiatives.  That is a proven technique for gaining momentum.
  • Implement a solution with revenue impact, such a next-best offer analytic to improve upsell performance or a predictive churn analytic that helps reduce customer defection.  These high visibility projects will ease business funding challenges and improve executive visibility / sponsorship.

 

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#EngineersUnplugged S5|Ep6: Transactions, Apps, and the Network

April 9, 2014 at 11:13 am PST

In this week’s episode, Nathan Sowatskey and Jacoby Thwaites discuss transactions, applications, and the network: how to reduce complexity and increase compliance by changing the transaction process.

“Be careful of the unicorn.”

**The next Engineers Unplugged shoot is at EMC World, Las Vegas, May 2014! Contact me now to become internet famous.**

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Open Source Acceleration for Applications

In previous blogs I have described how organizations are maturing beyond provisioning of individual servers to provisioning of richer cloud-based application stacks.  Known as platform-as-a-service (PaaS), this capability takes cloud technology beyond infrastructure to automate the application life cycle.  PaaS allows developers and IT operations to collaborate and ensure that application stacks are consistent and delivered to your customers — within minutes.

Last summer at CiscoLive Orlando, the Application Stack Accelerator for Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud (IAC) was introduced and we quickly noticed that PaaS was an extremely popular topic!   This popularity has grown.  The demand for PaaS is heavy as organizations, probably like yours, look to extend cloud automation to the design, configuration and implementation of the application life cycle.       Read More »

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