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Cloud-based ITaaS: Transforming IT from Support to Service Brokerage

Cloud computing is more mainstream today than ever before, but it’s important to note that there are still significant opportunities for IT leaders to innovate and leverage cloud delivery options to capture new business opportunities and implement new IT models.

The Evolution of ITaaS: The Convergence of Two Roads

On one hand, traditional private cloud services within customer IT services are driving different degrees of completeness depending on organizational needs. Virtualization, consolidation and on-premise shared services are some of the drivers within the private cloud space.

On the other hand, public cloud services are evolving to include Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Software as a Service (SaaS), and Platform as a Service (PaaS).

Today, these two tracks are intersecting to create demand for a hybrid cloud model. While the concept of the “Hybrid” cloud has developed mostly as a consequence of the availability of different cloud services, this same availability is also driving the evolution of IT as a Service.

What does this mean for business? It means that fundamentally, IT is adopting a supply chain management logic by deciding whether to make or buy a specific service based on a variety of organizational goals, market pressures, and available options.

The Ongoing IT Sourcing Strategy: Make vs. Buy 

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New! Cisco UCS Director 4.1 – When You Don’t Have Time to Wait on IT

Congratulations on your hot new project! It is critical to your organization expanding its revenue base; it’s top of mind for your manager and the CIO. What’s that? You did all the planning, but you can’t start for four weeks? Oh, right—that’s how long IT needs to get you the necessary infrastructure resources.

Let’s change the perspective. YOU’RE the head of IT. The hot new project is critical to your organization. People want to start now but with all these manual processes your team needs four weeks. Your customers are frustrated. What’s the answer?

Cisco understands the impact of a delay like this on your organization, and we have the solution.

By replacing manual processes with unified automation and management across virtualization, compute, network, and storage, Cisco UCS Director gives you the speed you need. With the 4.1 version, Cisco UCS Director has deepened its infrastructure management capabilities.  With deeper support for FlexPod, Vblock, VSPEX, VNX and VNX2, Nexus (including the new Nexus 9000), UCS Manager and Central, Cisco UCS Director is continuing to increase the efficiency of your IT staff across a broader range of infrastructure components.   This link will provide more details on the latest release.

To learn more about Cisco UCS Director, watch this video.  

Does Cisco UCS Director really make a major difference? Yes, and in more ways than picking up the pace. Customers frequently comment on the following:

  • Consistency. Sounds fundamental right? Cisco UCS Director ensures that virtual machines, LUNs, VLANs and bare-metal instances are set up right—and according to YOUR best practices—the first time, every time. Human errors resulting from a system administrator applying best practices from a former job are eliminated.
  • Fosters collaboration. Instead of your system admins repeating the same manual tasks every day, they have time to talk with their network, computing, and storage counterparts. They create and innovate, and you benefit from the new services they deliver.
  • More with less. Let’s be honest, this is the mantra in business. Customers consistently mention how Cisco UCS Director helps them manage more with their existing IT staff.  When peak workloads hit … no sweat. Read our latest customer success story with Entel to learn more.

Here are some next steps to take. Register for a live demo and ask our technical experts questions. The next demo is Wednesday, February 5th and they run bi-weekly. Download the latest version of Cisco UCS Director and try it free for 30 days.

Your new project is critical to your organization expanding its revenue base.  So ask yourself, “Can my hot new project really wait or would I rather start now?”

Cisco UCS Director lines up IT with your business and eliminates the time waiting.

Now go kick-off that project.

#EngineersUnplugged S4|Ep11: Level Up Your Skills, Next Gen IT

January 22, 2014 at 3:28 pm PST

In this week’s episode of Engineers Unplugged, Scott Hanson (@CiscoServerGeek) and Conrad Ramos (@vNoob) discuss the IT jobs of the future, what the next gen needs to learn, and how to level up your skills. It’s a can’t miss watch for anyone interested in the trends of the industry. Also, how can your efforts benefit the community? Watch and see:

Unicorns at work: Scott Hanson and Conrad Ramos talk next-gen IT skills.

Unicorns at work: Scott Hanson and Conrad Ramos talk next-gen IT skills.

**The next shoot is last week of January at Cisco Live in Milan! Stop by the Social Media Hub to say hello.**

This is Engineers Unplugged, where technologists talk to each other the way they know best, with a whiteboard. The rules are simple:

  1. Episodes will publish weekly (or as close to it as we can manage)
  2. Subscribe to the podcast here: engineersunplugged.com
  3. Follow the #engineersunplugged conversation on Twitter
  4. Submit ideas for episodes or volunteer to appear by Tweeting to @CommsNinja
  5. Practice drawing unicorns

Join the behind the scenes by liking Engineers Unplugged on Facebook.

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Independent Report Validates that Cisco Nexus 9000 Offers the Most Comprehensive, Open Programming Environment

January 22, 2014 at 2:57 pm PST

As IT departments move to private cloud offerings, DevOps methodologies, and continuous integration capabilities, many segments of the data center market have a strong need for more open, programmable, and application-led networks. In these fully automated environments, network automation for infrastructure as a service (IaaS) or applications on demand is becoming essential. As discussed in a recent blog post by Ravi Balakrishnan, the Cisco Nexus 9000 offers the industry’s 1st open and extensible application policy model helping businesses increase agility, flexibility, and scalability and automate repetitive manual tasks, reducing the time to deployment and easing maintenance tasks.

A recently-issued Lippis Report provides validation that the Cisco Nexus 9000 product line offers the most comprehensive open programming tools and functions available that can either be leveraged independently, or put to work in unison with other platform capabilities. The report found that the benefits of Cisco Nexus 9000 programming environment include investment protection and improved business agility through support of open protocols, APIs and standards that leverage customers’ existing networking, services including security, physical and virtual compute, and storage assets and accelerate network application deployment times to minutes improving business agility through centralized management.

Use Cases

Cisco 9000 programmability enables use cases across the whole IT delivery chain in terms of being able to orchestrate and automate provisioning of network infrastructure. Applications now have special, real-time access to network buffers, congestion and state information, so that they can actually make better choices and decisions on how they’re delivering services to end-users. In addition, troubleshooting can be automated through applications having much deeper visibility into the network.

The specific use cases for Cisco NX-OS API enhancements span data center network engineers and experienced DevOps personnel in cloud and large enterprise IT organization. For network engineers, NX-OS APIs can simplify and automate common network infrastructure provisioning challenges as well as offer automated troubleshooting through enhanced network visibility.

DevOps personnel may leverage NX-OS APIs and automation tools to create their own custom scripts and leverage the NX-API into other tools with which they are already familiar to customize network device data and use it in the way that’s important for them to either deliver competitive business value or to reduce OpEx through automation.

Cisco 9000 Programmability Highlights

The Cisco NX-OS enhancements for the Cisco Nexus 9000 Series supports numerous capabilities that aid automation and orchestration including providing investment protection through the support of new automation capabilities in the future.  Centralized, fine-grained access to Cisco 9000  networking resources is enabled through support for XML, JSON, representational state transfer (REST), remote procedure call (RPC), NetConf, Python scripting, Bash and Broadcom chip-level shell access, and Linux containers for development of custom applications. These APIs have full read and write access to the Cisco 9000 platform, providing programmability, automation, and system access.  Cisco-NX-OS also supports APIs enabling rapid integration with existing management and orchestration frameworks. These include OpenStack interfaces to provide Cisco policy consistency across physical, virtual, and cloud environments.

The full report can be found here:

Lippis Report Nexus 9000 Programmable Network Environment

Lippis Report Nexus 9000 Programmable Network Environment

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As well as further information on network programmability here:

Network Programmability with Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure

Lippis Report — Nexus 9000 Programmable Network Environment video:

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Is ACI Really SDN? One Point of View to Clarify the Conversation

January 22, 2014 at 10:00 am PST
rose

Would SDN, by any other name, still smell as sweet?

Perhaps I’m in the minority that is still frustrated by this, but as a marketing person who is tasked with explaining technology and solutions to customers and prospects, I feel hamstrung by a lack of a widely agreed upon definition of what is and is not “SDN” still. This usually comes up in discussions about our new Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI), and how it compares to traditional SDN concepts, as well as alternative approaches, such as overlay networks advocated by VMware.

The topic came up again this with a NetworkWorld article in which the head of VMware’s network virtualization business is now saying, “SDN will never happen” (our rebuttal). Well, what is happening, if it’s not SDN? Or just because the technology has evolved, do we need to create a new term just because some early assumptions the industry made have changed?  As we start out a new year, I thought it a good time to try and reframe the definition, and look at how the trends in SDN may be shaping up to extend the concept into new areas.

Why do customers need SDN?

By early 2012, there was so much hype and expectations around Software Defined Networking, focused on the ability to “program” the network, that real customer use cases and the killer SDN app was lost in the conversation. But what slowly emerged, that is driving all the investment, pilots and product designs is a much better way to manage the data center and cloud network, and to automate IT tasks so that the infrastructure could respond dynamically to rapidly changing business conditions and requirements. The “intelligence” to make all that happen is moving from the network devices and device management consoles, to centralized policy-management platforms, orchestration tools and cloud-managers.

What’s caused the biggest evolution in SDN is the realization that very few organizations really have the desire, skills and incentives to write a new class of applications to a published API to program the network. These users are outlying use cases compared to the vast majority of organizations just looking to automate IT tasks, accelerate application deployment, make their cloud networks more flexible, and better align their IT infrastructure with business requirements. The focus has shifted from SDN being an open API/controller platform, to a platform capable of hosting a myriad of orchestration and IT workflow automation solutions that drive customers to their end goal. To that end, ACI is meeting all those objectives, and in more advanced and innovative ways than earlier SDN approaches.

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