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Fast IT Workshop #4 – Innovative Infrastructure Management: Challenges and Opportunities

As business leaders navigate an increasingly complex world of connections, they need IT to provide a programmable infrastructure that can dynamically respond to their needs. This four-part blog series explores how responsive infrastructure helps IT leaders succeed. The first post in this series, by Colin Kincaid, discusses how Fast IT, a new model of IT, offers a broader focus of next-generation infrastructure. The second post in this series by Jim Grubb highlighted what IT leaders can do now to adopt a roadmap to Fast IT. The third post in this series by Doug Webster discusses how service providers specifically stand to benefit from Fast IT. Today’s post, the final in this four-part series, will explore how a Fast IT model can mitigate common infrastructure challenges. 

Many organizations realize that they need to change the way they are networking today and they are looking to SDN as the answer. However, the answer is broader than SDN.

To succeed in a new world of networking, organizations need a Fast IT model. In other words, an infrastructure that embraces technology transitions using programmability, automation, orchestration, virtualization, and security throughout.

As executives look to future-proof their business, many are facing innovation challenges in today’s infrastructure landscape. IT organizations are increasingly expected to drive revenue growth, reduce operational costs, mitigate security risk, and increase innovation – and do it all faster than ever before. Today, it is absolutely critical for IT to partner with the business and continue to be relevant to the organization’s growth.

So, what distinctive differentiation points of a next-generation infrastructure can mitigate these challenges? How can Fast IT help IT organizations deliver greater business value?

 

Challenge #1: Be More Agile

It’s becoming clear IT needs the ability to respond quickly. There is a growing proliferation of IT as a Service (ITaaS) applications that supplant traditional service models. And in today’s landscape, business agility requires application agility, so IT teams need to provision applications much faster. IT leaders are increasingly measured by their speed to deploy applications because this will determine how successful they are in new markets and new business models.

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Cisco Announces Intent to Acquire Tail-f Systems

Every day our world becomes increasingly connected. And as the Internet of Everything (IoE) continues to develop, service providers who provide us with video, voice, and data services are faced with managing explosive growth of demand on their network, including the number of applications and platforms needed to improve the way we live, learn, work and play.

All of this makes networks more complex and expensive to manage.  At the same time, increased competition is driving service providers to introduce new services more rapidly. While Network Function Virtualization (NFV) and network programmability both help improve scale and functionality of networks for service providers, they do not solve the bottleneck caused by operational complexity.

That is why today, I am pleased to announce our intent to acquire Tail-f Systems, a leading provider of multi-vendor network orchestration solutions for traditional and virtual networks. Tail-f will help achieve our goal of aiding customers in their quest to simplify and automate network management, enabling service innovation and deployment acceleration. The acquisition of Tail-f accelerates Cisco’s cloud virtualization strategy of delivering software that increases value to our customers’ applications and services, while supporting Cisco’s long-standing commitment to open standards, architectures, and multi-vendor environments.

Tail-f’s innovative and talented team is also the thought leader around the development and implementation of the NETCONF protocol and YANG data modeling language, which is the leading industry approach to simplifying and automating networks. Tail-f also has an amazing team of talented engineers. Tail-f’s talent and technology, when added to our existing offerings, will enhance how Cisco addresses network orchestration and will help simplify and automate how physical and virtual networks are both provisioned and managed.

We couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity to continue driving leadership in cloud virtualization and orchestration with the addition of Tail-f. Stay tuned for more details in the weeks and months to come.  And welcome Tail-f!

 

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Mobile Cloud Accelerates the Pace of Change

As organizations seek ways to maintain real-time connections with their workforce and customers in an increasingly digital and mobile-centered world, the growth of mobile cloud will be a major force in shaping the business landscape and future tech decisions. This blog series will explore how the convergence of mobility and cloud will deliver unprecedented transformation for all organizations. This post will highlight the growth of mobile cloud and how any business in any vertical stands to benefit.

Mobile communications have fundamentally changed the way business works. At the same time, cloud computing has become the new way of delivering and charging for IT services and functionality. This collision of technology -- the “mobile cloud” – stands to significantly increase the overall value of mobility, as well as radically alter the way employees work and businesses operate.

In short, what we know about mobile cloud today can be summed up in three parts:

1. Mobile cloud is growing. A leading industry report estimates mobile cloud services will increase at a staggering pace from $500 million today to $4.4 billion in 2017, a scant three years away. It’s also important to note that hybrid cloud environments are a major force in mobile cloud growth. By connecting private and public clouds, organizations can deliver the mobile, collaborative and rich video cloud services that enable today’s new connected experiences.

2. Mobile cloud is the beginning of an evolution – and it’s being driven by cloud-based applications. Mobile cloud will change not only where employees can work, but this convergence of two technology tools will completely change the way business works. A key component of this is the growth of applications in the cloud, with personalized experiences delivered in real-time, everywhere and anywhere. According to a recent Cisco study, 96% of IT decision makers said that collaboration apps are primarily accessed on mobile by employees. This behavior also supports the prediction that the percentage of enterprise apps adapted for mobile will grow from 31% to 42% in the next year.

3. Mobile cloud is a significant part of moving the Internet of Everything (IoE) forward. As people, processes and things become connected and always on the go, more data will be communicated through mobile cloud. For example, Cisco VNI data predicts that mobile cloud traffic will grow 12-fold from 2013 to 2018, a compound annual growth rate of 64 percent.

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Girls Go Tech at Cisco

Yesterday we hosted 80 Girl Scouts from the Girl Scouts NorCal chapter for an afternoon of STEM mentorship.  It was an amazing opportunity for our senior leaders at Cisco to learn from and engage these impressive young women in an Internet of Everything brainstorming session and aspeed mentoring activity.

STEM Mentorship

STEM Mentorship

 

STEM Mentorship

STEM Mentorship

The enthusiasm that these incredibly talented Girl Scouts had was contagious and it was an invigorating experience for all of us!  The candid discussions included topics ranging from the importance of a quality education, encouragement to excel in science, technology, engineering and math and inspiring them to envision themselves as leaders in the 21st century workforce. I am a big believer that if you try something new and you don’t succeed what is the worse than can happen?  We encouraged the Girl Scouts to always remain curious, to value diversity in teams and if they are the only girl in the after school App Development program, to stick with it.

STEM Mentorship

STEM Mentorship

A favorite parting comment from a participant yesterday was about what she learned from our CEO John Chambers:  “When we are young and have a specific passion in a field, feel free to see where life will take us.  Don’t be so focused on only one path, we might fall in love with something else down the line.  Have fun and explore!”

So proud to be a partner with US2020 and for the opportunity to host the bright young women of the Girl Scouts of Northern California this week.

 

 

 

 

#SmartConnectedCity Series: Tackling City Challenges and Creating Opportunity with IoE and Smart+Connected Communities

What If…

…You have access to unlimited computing power at a reasonable price…

…You have access to unlimited storage and bandwidth at a reasonable price…

…Everything is connected to everything else…

Then…

Would you still provide healthcare and education in the same ways?

Would you run cities the same way?

Would you live your life the same way?

I think you’ll agree that the answer is no.

The Internet has already radically changed the way most of us live our lives. If we take a look at the challenges facing cities today--overcrowding, traffic, areas of poverty, crime, limited access to healthcare, education, citizen services—we recognize the opportunity for the Internet—as it evolves—to radically change the way we address these challenges as well.

New Answers to Big Problems

But to do so, we need to ask some simple, yet profound questions: Why is there traffic? How do we dispense medical information and healthcare more efficiently when 70% of the time a doctor doesn’t need to actually be in the room to help you? Can we provide more efficient street lighting and still keep our streets safe? How do we continue to provide adequate citizen services as cities grow by 10,000 people per hour?

The growth and convergence of things and data as well as people and processes on the Internet–which Cisco calls The Internet of Everything (IoE)--is allowing us to look at the challenges our cities are facing in new ways. At the same time technology is evolving, the price for computing, storage and bandwidth has dropped to nearly free.

Everything is Being Connected

By 2020–only a few years from now--upwards of 50 billion devices--video cameras, home security systems, refrigerators, your car, your medication, maybe even your baby’s diaper--will be connected to the Internet, each one requesting and generating more and more data. And that data will need to be analyzed and packaged to make it useful.

Cisco has estimated that the value of all of these connections in terms of the opportunities and the savings they represent to be a startling $19 trillion over the next decade…and the portion of that dedicated just to public-sector activities to be $4.6 trillion.

Big Opportunities for Cities that Get Smart

Cisco’s Smart+Connected Communities (S+CC) initiative applies the power of IoE to the problems faced by cities. We’ve crafted a set of architectures and a growing portfolio of solutions to allow cities to gather relevant data, analyze it, process it, share it and deliver it to the right people, places, and things to make things happen. Whether it’s to change the stop lights to green as an ambulance is making its way to a hospital or automatically alert the public when the water supply has been compromised, a smart, connected city has more tools in its arsenal to address its most pressing challenges – and leverage new economic opportunities.

Barcelona is a prime example of a city – along with dozens more including Amsterdam, Hamburg, Copenhagen, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Songdo--that has already embraced the smart vision and is making radical architectural, technological and process investments for their future by engaging in a variety of smart, connected city projects.

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