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Growing into Market Adjacencies

I am at our C-scape Industry analyst conference today. The in-person event is at the Fairmont in San Jose, while this year we are also bringing it over the network to those who could not travel for the event. The role of an industry analyst is critical during this period of economic turbulence. Cisco uses times like this to invest into adjacent markets, looking for markets that may have been stagnant on technology innovation and where the innovations we can bring enable customer value with the key value propositions today being extending the lifecycle of capital assets the customer already has, deferring significant new capital aset outlays for a period of years, and thus reducing and deferring incremental operational expenses. Read More »

Does Going Green Reduce Energy Use?

Well- sort of.Had an interesting”Green” data center discussion at a conference this week that addressed some nuance on the developing taxonomy of energy efficiency in IT.So- to pose a specific question:Will adopting energy efficient solutions from best of breed partners and vendors reduce the total amount of energy your business will use as it grows? The short answer is no, at least not if your business is growing.Here is the thing, energy usage basically mirrors productivity. Unsurprisingly, countries with the highest GDP also use the most energy. This directly translates into our business operations. Whether you’re a company that scales through adding more headcount or by adding more compute and multimedia per headcount, you are using more total energy.imageIn data centers, users translate into hardware. The more productive and complex the business becomes, the more complex and energy intensive a data center becomes (typically). So assessing the efficiency of a business’ operations can also translate into energy efficiency. I stress the word”can” here as we often don’t have resources invested in managing the translation between the two. We have a very large retail customer who has translated it very well. Read More »

The network: the final frontier for cloud computing

Quick! When was the last time you thought “network” when you heard “cloud computing”? How often have you found yourself working out exactly how you can best utilize network resources in your cloud applications? Probably never, as to date the network hasn’t registered on most peoples’ cloud radars.

This is understandable, of course, as the early cloud efforts try to push the entire concept of the network into a simple “bandwidth” bucket. However, is it right? Should the network just play dumb and let all of the intelligence originate at the endpoints?

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Services in a Cloud Computing Environment

December 3, 2008 at 12:00 pm PST

Quite a few years ago, when we we positioning the concept of the intelligent network, we had a slide that showed how features moved from servers or dedicated hardware to the the network over time. The trigger was usually when a service, say name resolution, became broadly used. At that point, it was seldom workable to have that service delivered by a place in the network--it needed to be ubiquitous…and highly available…and scaleable…and manageable…and usually ended up as a network service.Reading a recent post by the ever fearless Christofer Hoff and the related Twitter exchange got me thinking about this again. Once we cut through the cloud-hype and start looking at the practicalities of implementing things like workload portability, I think the lessons of the past will re-assert themselves, this time with things like security and L4-7 services. There was a time when security=firewall, in essence, security was associated with a specific place in your network. Now, to be effective, security needs to be pervasively deployed and deliver security services that ubiquitous and consistent--no matter where a workload runs (my desktop, my data center, someone else’s data center) the security policy must be consistently implemented. Read More »

Data Center 3.0 and Tightening Budgets

November 26, 2008 at 12:00 pm PST

We had Robert Scoble swing by the Cisco DNA lab yesterday to learn a little bit more about data center 3.0 and talk about what we can do in the near term to help customers deal with the repercussions of this economy--declining budgets, M&A activity, reduced headcount and the like.You can find the interview here or if you have a FaceBook account, better quality video here.Having been in this industry for a decade or two, the usual response to a down economy is fairly predictable: stop spending and lower headcount. The cool thing this time around is that companies have a much wider array of tools at their disposal to provide a much more calibrated response. For example, in the video, we talk a bit about how virtualization can help reduce costs, how automation can improve staff productivity, and how cloud-based infrastructure can provide a whole different approach to supporting apps.The other difference I am seeing this time around--and we talked about this off-camera--is that companies are not automatically going into hermit mode until the economy settles down. Many folks see opportunity in the turmoil and the tools mentioned above (virtualization, automation, clouds, etc) let them cut costs and still strategically invest in the business. This is something Cisco did after the fallout from the tech bubble and I wold expect us to do the same thing this time around.