If you look at various businesses across the world, you’ll see that they are facing some similar strategic challenges – such as globalization, innovation, new business models, evolving customer transactions to interactions, environmental sustainability, new partnerships, and the need to reduce costs. To address these challenges, companies are adding rich communication, information and collaboration services and these services are increasingly being delivered by a data center. So, what are Data Centers? Data centers are buildings that house IT resources such as server, storage systems and networking equipment. These data centers typically host a large number of business and consumer applications and data, each running on a dedicated or shared hardware infrastructure. In today’s connected global marketplace, where customers and users expect to purchase products and access services 24×7, datacenters are playing an increasingly important role for successful experience.
In my work in the Cisco Data Center Advanced Services Product Management team, I’ve watched as Data centers have undergone transformation over the past few years to achieve significant savings in time, capital, and energy while increasing flexibility, efficiency, and comprehensive disaster recovery. At the same time, in both Cisco and our customers, I’ve observed how the demand on the next generation Data Center are always increasing and the push for IT organizations to deliver IT services to their customers faster and cheaper has never been stronger. The challenge to optimize how network, storage and compute resources deliver business services has become increasingly complex.
Organizations sometimes take different approaches to addressing the challenges listed. Sometimes data center projects are resourced completely in-house, and sometimes professional services experts are called in to help. In my blog here, I’d like to give you my perspective on how we in Cisco Services can help you evolve, indeed revolutionize if necessary, your data center. I’ll describe some of the challenges that I see customers are facing, and how Cisco Services have helped our customers across the globe solve their business and technical challenges with our extensive portfolio of data center services.
Cisco’s Data Center Advanced Services provides a complete portfolio of services, tools, and Intellectual Property to successfully drive the adoption of Data Center 3.0 technologies (http://www.cisco.com/en/US/solutions/collateral/ns340/ns517/ns224/ns836/at_a_glance_c45-509458.pdf) and end-to-end architectures to help with the overall data center strategy for our customers and partners across the Enterprise, Services Provider, Public Sector, Commercial and Global 3.0 segments. Customers across the globe and various market segments have leveraged Cisco’s Data Center Advanced Services capabilities, experience and a comprehensive portfolio to drive their business transformation. We have worked with our industry-leading partners to support customers and enhance their business operations, while taking into consideration various factors such as costs, technology, and other requirements.
If you are considering using a services partner to help in your data center, what aspects should you use to evaluate such a partner. I believe there are a number of key criteria, including:
- Is the services partner experienced? Do they have a repeatable process – a services methodology or “lifecycle” … OR are they more ad-hoc?
- Does the services partner have sufficient staff with appropriate skillsets and broad industry experience?
- Can the services partner show you other customers who they have helped to evolve and revolutionize their data center?
- Do they have a range of service offerings – a portfolio – that has sufficient breadth and depth to help your range of data center challenges?
- Does the services partner have access to the key intellectual property in the network, storage and compute technology? Can the services partner only provide you with public domain knowledge, or can they leverage product and technology R&D to give you unique insights?
Let’s discuss some of these areas, starting with what a service lifecycle is.
The Data Center Advanced Services Practice follows Cisco Services’s unique LifeCycle Services Methodology and Practices to support the evolution of networks to support business systems and ensure the most return from corporate IT investments. This LifeCycle Services Methodology inside Cisco is called PPDIOO (Prepare, Plan, Design, Implement, Operate and Optimize). The Cisco Lifecycle Services approach defines the minimum set of activities needed by technology and by network complexity to help customers successfully design, deploy and operate data center technologies and optimize their performance.
In my next blog, I will talk more about Cisco’s LifeCycle Methodology and Data Center Services Portfolio and how it helps our customers transform their datacenter to meet key business challenges.