When I ask IT executives how happy they are with their external support providers (outsourcers, vendors, etc.) invariably they express deep frustration. They look to these vendors to be real partners – to collaborate effectively and seamlessly, to do their job efficiently and transparently, and to bring real innovation to the table. Instead, they feel like they go into combat every day with these supposed “partners”. And, they say, it’s getting worse. But what has changed?
Over the past several years the number of support providers IT organizations deal with has increased exponentially (one analyst firm estimates a 400% increase over five years). Moreover, the complexity of the relationships is growing – no longer are support transactions limited to just one partner, in many cases incidents bounce between several different partners before they are resolved. Then there is cloud. Cloud makes consumption easy, but hidden behind this “easy on” experience is a highly complex support reality. Cloud services might look like one unified solution when they’re purchased, but in reality cloud services incorporate software, hardware, data centers, and networks from dozens of providers – when something goes wrong, it isn’t easy to even figure out where the problem is – let alone get it fixed.
But the paradigm for managing these relationships has stayed basically the same for decades. At the end of the month vendors provide reports on their own performance. Most IT organizations have teams of people that sift through these reports, consolidate them into spreadsheets, summarize and analyze. This reactive, long lag time model doesn’t support the business need for flexibility and agility.
Cisco believes what IT needs is a “dynamic support network” – whereby IT organizations have real time connections to support providers – all linked back to the system of record IT relies on to manage support. It shouldn’t be sufficient to find out at the end of the month that target SLA’s have been missed – IT needs to know if the SLA on the incident that is open NOW is going to be missed, allowing it to proactively ensure it meets the SLA.
Interestingly, when I talk with external support providers like outsourcers or managed service providers, they have exactly the same requirement. They want to see the incident they are working on from the point of view of the person who originally opened the ticket, not just from when they were brought into the process. They truly do want to partner – and in fact to delight – their customer. They recognize the customer is ultimately the end user, and it is the end users expectation they want to manage to. To accomplish this, they need to be integrated with their customers – their own dynamic network – with real time visibility and transparency into when the incident was raised, the original SLA, what has already happened on that incident, etc.
Cisco ServiceGrid is designed to solve this problem. With a “connect once, connect all” approach, ServiceGrid integrates all participants in the support process to the cloud platform only once, instead of integrating everyone one at a time. It allows companies to collaborate in real time to deliver services to a single customer. All information, data and workflows are shared in an automated way, eliminating manual practices and bottlenecks. From a customer perspective it looks like one company, even if two or more companies are working together to solve a case.
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Tags: Cisco, cloud, dynamic support network, IDC report, outsourcing, ServiceGrid
Windows Server 2012 R2 is central to Microsoft’s Cloud OS vision; the operating system platform delivers enhancements and new features in virtualization, management, storage, networking, and more. Our Cisco server infrastructure solutions (UCS) as well as our management (UCS Director, UCS Manager, Cisco Intercloud) and network capabilities are purpose built for supporting Microsoft’s virtualization and cloud offerings.
Figure 1. Cisco’s Microsoft Cloud OS Solutions and Capabilities
Together Microsoft and Cisco provide tightly integrated and flexible solutions that deliver on the benefits of a Microsoft private or hybrid cloud. Our R&D teams have spent, and continue to spend serious time together developing technologies, APIs, and solutions. In our blog post today, let’s focus in on the networking side of things, specifically on our award winning Nexus 1000V offering for Hyper-V:
- It’s all about simplifying and scaling virtual networking. Nexus 1000V for Hyper-V helps to reduce the operational complexities associated with virtual machine-to-virtual machine networking and thus help customers gain more of the benefits of server virtualization technology and cloud.
- It maintains networking resiliency across your physical and virtual environments as you move to the cloud. Protect your investment by future-proofing your network design with a flexible virtual networking platform.
- Recognized with the 2013 Best of Tech Ed award in the Virtualization category, Nexus 1000V extends comprehensive networking capabilities to your Hyper-V environment. A distributed virtual switching platform with advanced networking features and integrated virtual services, Nexus 1000V delivers consistency across your physical, virtual and cloud environments.
- Uses a consistent operational model designed to accelerate server virtualization and cloud deployments securely and transparently. Read More »
Tags: Cisco, Cisco UCS, Hyper-V, Microsoft, Nexus 1000v, virtual networking
We had some exciting sessions featuring Cisco Prime Service Catalog at Cisco Live Milan a few weeks ago. In case you missed it, we featured two great customer case studies.
One of them was Steria, a multinational service provider headquartered in France who has deployed Cisco Prime Service Catalog and FlexPod for their cloud services and innovative Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) solution: “Workplace on Command.” You can click here to download their Cisco Live presentation, and check out their written case study here.
The other customer we featured was a Fortune 100 enterprise: none other than our very own Cisco IT. The Cisco Live presentation about their internal IT service catalog deployment (dubbed “eStore”) is here – you can also read a detailed case study write-up here.
[Screenshot of eStore: the Cisco IT deployment of Cisco Prime Service Catalog]
Adel du Toit, who heads the Cisco eStore project, wrote a blog post about Cisco IT’s initiative here last June. Led by Adel and her colleageues, the internal Cisco IT eStore has been rapidly evolving, and has been deployed for a variety of use cases, including BYOD, mobile apps, collaboration, communications, desktop services, employee onboarding, networking, data center computing, and much more. Powered by Cisco Prime Service Catalog together with Cisco Process Orchestrator for automated service provisioning, the eStore is the “one stop shop” for all IT services within Cisco.
[Cisco IT’s eStore: a unified IT service catalog for all internal tools, apps, and services]
Recently, the eStore upgraded to the latest version of Cisco Prime Service Catalog, version 10.0. The eStore has also rolled out a mobile user interface that allows Cisco employees to download mobile apps to increase productivity and reduce unproductive approval cycles.
[The Cisco IT eStore mobile version]
This has enabled Cisco IT to provide a consumer-oriented shopping experience for IT services to all our employees, not unlike their experience as consumers with Amazon.com and the Apple App Store.
Interested in learning more? Join us on February 26th at 11 am EST / 8 am PST to learn more about how Cisco IT is automating IT-as-a-Service via the eStore and Cisco Prime Service Catalog. You can register here: http://cs.co/6014eN9j.
And don’t forget to follow @CiscoUM and @CiscoIT for the latest updates.
Tags: app store, byod, Cisco IT, eStore, it-as-a-service, ITaaS, portal, prime, Service Catalog, Steria, unified management, webinar
On February 18th, 2014 Cisco announced support for the Intel® Xeon® Processor E7 v2 product family on the Cisco Unified Computing System™ (Cisco UCS®). Cisco has designed three new servers based on these new Intel processors: the Cisco UCS B460 M4, UCS B260 M4, and UCS C460 M4 servers. For additional information on the new servers please check the blog New Cisco UCS Servers: Redefining Scale Up, Scale Up and Scale Out.
On the same day as the Intel announcement, Cisco captured six world records on industry benchmarks on Cisco UCS to highlight the way in which Cisco UCS can accelerate performance across the data center. As we know, there is no better way to compare performance than by using industry-standard benchmarks, and with SIX new world record benchmark performance results Cisco has demonstrated Cisco Unified Computing System’s outstanding performance and IT productivity across key data center workloads. Check out the Performance Brief for additional information on the six new Cisco UCS world record benchmarks. The detailed benchmark disclosure reports are available here. The performance leadership across a wide range of workloads provided by Cisco UCS is validated by the six World records announced this week which include:
It is interesting to note that although all vendors have access to same Intel processors, only Cisco UCS unleashes their power to deliver high performance to applications through the power of unification. The unique, fabric-centric architecture of Cisco UCS integrates the Intel Xeon processors into a system with a better balance of resources that brings processor power to life. Cisco’s results demonstrate the degree to which Cisco servers deliver the power of the new Intel Xeon processor E7 v2 family. Cisco UCS maximizes Intel innovations and as a result Cisco UCS with the Intel Xeon processor E7 v2 family delivered up to 122 percent better performance over the prior generation of Intel Xeon processors, as shown in the graph below:
Cisco UCS delivers versatility with performance leadership across a wide range of workloads, enabling customers to eliminate infrastructure silos historically driven by unique application needs. Todd Brannon sums up the customer benefits and business advantages delivered by Cisco UCS in his blog post New UCS Servers deliver innovative scaling options and record-breaking power.
So the momentum continues…In five short years, the Cisco UCS has captured over 90 world records for performance and IT productivity taking its place among the most trusted server vendors on the market. Check out the Cisco UCS 90 World-Record Performance Results.
The architectural advantages of a single cohesive system optimized for virtualized environments coupled with the industry leading benchmark performance results makes the Cisco Unified Computing System an “infrastructure platform of choice” to provide industry-leading performance in your data center. For additional information on Cisco UCS and Cisco UCS solutions please visit Cisco Unified Computing & Servers web page.
Competitive claims based on results posted at http://www.spec.org/, http://www.vmmark.com/and at http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/products/servers-unified-computing/industry_benchmarks.html as of 02/18/2014. SPEC, SPECint, SPECfp and SPEComp are trademarks or registered trademarks of Standard Performance Evaluation Corporation. VMware VMmark is a product of VMware, Inc.
Tags: application performance, Benchmark Performance, Cisc UCS, performance, Virualization performance, World-record performance
This week we’re announcing new systems at the upper end of the UCS server product line: some heavy-duty iron for heavy-duty times. These are important new tools for our UCS customers: the digital age is accelerating, IT needs more horsepower to keep up, and there is a lot at stake.
Consider this: less than 10 years ago, some of the largest mainframes scaled up to half a terabyte (TB) of main memory. What if I were to tell you that these latest generation UCS blade servers will scale to 3TB? Sound like a lot? It is. And that’s just the two-processor version. Connect two UCS B260 M4 blades with an expansion connector and they become a UCS B460 M4, a four socket server that will scale to 6TB. Putting that into perspective: a spiffy new laptop might ship today with 8GB of memory. Multiply that by 750 and you have 6TB.
Not too long ago, all the content Wikipedia would fit in this type of footprint (in 2010 it was just under 6TB with media.) Here is a fun illustration of what this scale of data would look like on paper (just the ~10GB of text, not the images.) Now remember, we’re not talking about fitting all that data on the local disks of the server – we’re talking about fitting it in main memory. This is becoming crucially important in the field of data analytics, where “in-memory” is the key to speed and competitiveness. Applications like SAP HANA are at the forefront of this trend. Today, at Intel’s launch event in San Francisco, Dan Morales (Vice President of Enabling Functions at eBay) joined us to talk about how they’re betting on this type of analytic technology to help them make the eBay Marketplace work better for buyers and sellers (and eBay shareholders.) I’ll post a video clip of that soon; his description of the challenges and opportunities, at eBay scale, is worth a watch.
We’ve talked about memory scaling, and Bruno Messina has a nice post that talks more about the scalability on these systems and UCS at large. But dominating performance is the name of the game: behemoth processing performance is what we look for at this end of the server spectrum and Intel has not disappointed on this round of new technology. The next generation of the Intel Xeon E7 family packs up to 15 cores per processor and delivers an average 2x performance increase compared to previous generation products. Performance will be even higher on specific workloads, for example up to 3X on database and even higher for virtualization. Cisco’s implementation of this technology has once again set the standard for system performance. In today’s launch, Intel cited Cisco with 6 industry-leading results on key workloads. As of this posting, the closest to come to that achievement that was Dell with 4. HP ProLiant posted 1. So hats off, once again, to the engineering team in Cisco’s Computing Systems Product Group. Girish Kulkarni has a great summary of the performance news here.
Our collaboration with Intel is one of the best technology combinations in the industry today. Consider what we both bring to the party. Intel: innovation in processor technology that drives Moore’s Law. Cisco: innovation in connecting things across the data center and around the world. UCS is an outcome of two blue-chip tech powerhouses investing in real innovation and the results have changed the industry.
In 1991, Stewart Alsop famously wrote: “I predict that the last mainframe will be unplugged on 15 March 1996.” He just as famously had to eat his words. He munched on those twelve years ago, and while mainframes and RISC-based systems remain, there is an inexorable trend as the heaviest analytic workloads continue to shift to the type of scale-up x86-based systems we’re talking about today. It only makes sense. So while this will garner me plenty of comments from the architectural purists out there, I say “go ahead and plug a mainframe back in.” It will fit right in your UCS B-Series blade chassis…
Tags: Big Data, Blade Servers, Cisco Data Center, Cisco Data Center strategy, Cisco Servers, Cisco UCS, Cisco Unified Computing System, SAP. HANA, unified computing