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Cloud Leadership Forum…Real Perspectives, Not Marketing

As we all know, most “conferences” are tradeshows or events for vendors to reach out to end users.  This week’s Cloud Leadership Forum was actually a pretty open, honest gathering of 400+ IT professionals (from CIOs to architects to other IT functions) and senior vendor executives from Microsoft, VMware, Cisco, Juniper, etc.  As well as several of IDC’s top analyst VPs.


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Cisco at Red Hat Summit:Together to Accelerate the Virtualization


  On June 22-225, the open source community will travel to Boston, to attend the Red Hat Summit 2010– Cisco will be there as a platinum sponsor 


More importantly, one of the key note speakers will be  Cisco Ed Bugnion, Vice President and CTO, Server Access Virtualization!              

The participation of Ed Bugnion  demonstrates the commitment of the company to the open source community , and the strong partnership with Red Hat to deliver innovative solutions for virtualized data centers and the cloud computing journey .
Cisco’s Unified Computing System (UCS) including the UCS Manager  and the Virtual Interface Card, provide an innovative approach to virtualization through increased network control, improved performance, and a consistent operational model.  Cisco’s unique management capabilities combined with Red Hat Enterprise Linux and KVM virtualization allow organizations to manage virtual machines and their virtual network resources as well as physical machines and physical network interfaces with a cohesive approach.

If you plan to be in Boston next week here some of  the speaking sessions that you don’t want to miss 

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Sometimes we can’t see the “Innovation” through the “Wars”

It’s very difficult these days to consume any type of IT-related media and not hear about “stack wars”. Podcasts, VMUGs, tweets, and industry conferences. Company A does it all under one logo. Companies B, C and D are collaborating to create lock-in. Company B also works with other partners, so where are their real loyalties and strategies. Blah, blah, blah…

All of this makes great fodders for the media and Wall Street, but surprisingly, it matters very little to most of the companies I speak with these days. Yes, they monitor it closely because they want strategic partners instead of just suppliers. But more than anything else, the C-level discussions today are about Innovation. Innovation in raw technology; innovation in technology delivery models; innovation in using technology to radically change business models; innovation in partnership models.

Many customers I speak with are in markets where the pace of change is incredibly fast. Fast in the sense of market-leaders being on top in Year 1 and out of the market in Year 4-5 because they fell behind in technology use or adopted a bad strategy. They have global competitors with cost models and operational efficiency that people couldn’t fathom several years ago. Rapid change is part of their lives, hence they don’t look at Innovation as a “nice-to-have” but rather a “must-have”. They expect their business/technology partners to constantly be reinventing themselves and their technologies to give them every possible advantage they can create.

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SAN Market Grows, and So Does Cisco

As the broad IT market and budgets appear to be coming back in 2010, the SAN market continued to maintain its roughly $2 billion annual size with $475M in shipments in CQ1’10.  Showing some growth, larger Director-class switches actually grew 8% sequentially. 

At the same time, Cisco’s ongoing commitment to Fibre Channel was validated by the market in Q1.  Cisco MDS (aka SAN switch) revenue grew 100% year over year in CQ1’10, and Cisco’s market share in Director-class switches grew to a virtual tie at 50%.

Has Cisco re-focused on storage/Fibre Channel? 

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Learning from the First Private Cloud, Part 2

So, following up from my last post, do I think mainframes were the first private clouds?  In a word, no.  However, I think there are some key lessons to be learned from the era of big iron computing for organizations looking to roll out private clouds today.


While a lot of the technology is the same (virtualization, clustering, shared resources), there are some significant differences, including the rapidity of re-provisioning (think weeks or months), responsiveness to end user requests (there wasn’t), and the ability to self-provision (ha!).


I guess my point is that the shift to private cloud is less about technology and more about how you run your IT shop.  I cannot take credit for this insight–my compatriot James Urquhart made this point about a year ago.  However, when chatting with customers, many of them still tend to see this as a technology led transition and not a people/process-led transition.  The risk at the end of the day is that you end up with cloud infrastructure missing some of the key benefits of private cloud computing–you may see improved agility but might not see the TCO reductions you were expecting.


So, operationally, there are a couple of things I think we can learn from the days of IBM and DEC big iron:


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