On Wednesday, at Cisco Live!, Doug Merritt, our senior vice president for Products, Solutions, and Industry Marketing had an engaging conversation with the CIO of Universal Parks and Resorts, Bill McCorey, to get his thoughts on managing an IT organization that services millions of guests everyday.
Doug Merritt in conversation with Bill McCorey, CIO of Universal
When Bill started at Universal he looked to increase the IT organization productivity through team work and setting priorities, so Bill pulled from a life-changing experience where his life literally hung in the balance.
Early in the morning when climbing Mt. Rainier, his team faced a challenge -- a large deep crevasse. The climbing lead said, “Bill you are going to need to jump.” Bill took a deep breath and leaped to the other side. Missing his target by inches, he fell 20 feet down into the crevass until his rope team could hold the line. While he dangled over the 10,000 foot drop for 20 minutes, his rope team scrambled to pull him back up to safety. When they finally got Bill out of the void, the rope lead informed Bill that they needed to turn around: “okay we now need to jump back over the same crevasse.” This time Bill made the target and the team headed back to base camp, where his wife bought the whole team a beer!
Bill learned a lot about relying on a team, taking risks, and setting priorities. He used this experience to transform the IT team that delivers technology services to Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure parks and hotels, Hard Rock Hotel, Loews Portofino Bay Hotel in Orlando Florida to deliver new services that enhance the guest experience and hopefully help encourage them to extend their stay.
Bill credits teamwork for the success of the IT organization, which now completes 85% of projects every year. His team works closely with business and creative teams at Universal Studios to deliver exciting rides, like the new 3D Transformers attraction that opened last week, to provide an experience that exceeds their guest expectations.
Crevasse on Mt. Ranier
As the world becomes more connected, Bill also talked about the challenges his IT teams has to keep up with guest to deliver new kinds of experiences that make their time at the parks and in their hotels a more enjoyable…and drives profits for their investors. Bill is all about delivering a positive journey for his customers. From purchasing in their retail stores, eating in the restaurants, sleeping in their hotels, to enjoying the coolest rides in Orlando, Bill’s team is always striving for the new technology that will deliver the excellent experience.
We all saw the fruits of the Universal IT team’s behind-the-scenes teamwork to give us a really exciting experience at the #CLUS Customer Appreciation Event on Wednesday night at Universal as we cheered on Journey.
Today, at Cisco Live! in Orlando, we shared a vision for a revolutionary networking architecture that will transform data centers and usher in a new era of Application-Centric Infrastructure.
The realization of this vision will optimize data center infrastructure for the new breed of mobile-cloud era applications that has evolved around the massive proliferation of connections between people, processes, information and devices that we call the Internet of Everything.
Big Data applications such as Hadoop, cloud applications such as Salesforce and Cisco WebEx, and massively scalable consumer video applications such as NetFlix and YouTube are typical of this new breed.
The challenge with these applications in particular, is that they need to be able to run across multiple servers and data centers, be able to parallel process asynchronous tasks, and be continually available, globally. These applications rely on both physical and virtual infrastructures and, as a result, place new demands on the data center to deliver applications at scale, with the level of availability, quality of service and flexibility that today’s businesses demand.
Through our Application Centric Infrastructure vision, we will help IT departments dramatically simplify how they provision their data center resources (networking, servers, storage and services) that are critical to the performance of their applications. It’s a key component in the evolution to the model for next generation IT that I detailed in my keynote at Cisco Live! Orlando.
In order to meet these demands, the infrastructure must evolve. It must become application-centric. Network, compute, and storage need to be able to operate as one high-performance resource pool that can be provisioned instantly and automatically according to the needs of the application and related IT policies with security pervasive throughout. This type of dynamic, automated infrastructure provisioning requires a single point of management for the integrated needs of application, network and security administrators that replaces the fragmented, siloed views they have today.
And it’s this vision for the next generation data center that we will deliver, to the market, while helping customers evolve their existing investments for the future. The Application Centric Infrastructure will give our customers the agility to deliver applications to end-users where they want, when they want, and to any device they want - securely, rapidly, and at a lower cost.
Why Isn’t the Traditional Model of Networking Sufficient for the Cloud, Mobile and Big Data Era?
We’ve made huge strides and delivered phenomenal innovations with our Cisco Unified Fabric that brings together LAN, SAN, and converged networks. And I’m excited that we can continue to bring operational simplicity and scale across physical and virtual environments with Dynamic Fabric Automation (DFA) and the new switching platforms we also announced today.
But we’ll only meet future demands when we can bridge the gap between applications and infrastructure, in addition to unifying the siloes of infrastructure. The fabric is extremely valuable in bringing together disparate systems, and the logical next step would be convergence for applications deployment and performance. Let me use an analogy to explain.
In the consumer world, if you buy an approved Android App, you know it’s going to run well on your mobile device because the developer used an Android development toolkit to optimize the app for the O/S. Once bought, the App doesn’t need to know the details of your device, the O/S simply ‘tells’ the device which resources it needs to run really well.
No such abstraction layer exists in the data center today. To make applications run really well, apps need to be programmed to the individual networked elements at the command line level. Imagine if every time you bought a new smart phone app, you had to manually configure your device’s screen resolution, graphics card, keyboard, broadband connection etc. In the data center, the process is this manual, complicated, slow, and thereby expensive.
And why SDN is not the answer…
While it might seem that SDN is supposed to solve this exact challenge, I want to share my thoughts on where it falls short.
SDN promised to meet the needs of new apps by delivering greater scale, programmability, centralized management and automation. But SDN, to date, can’t meet the needs of applications because it mimics the old model of networking. It doesn’t unify physical and virtual. It is flow-based (focused on individual networking elements), and not object-oriented (creating a configurable system of all IT resources). It can’t offer dynamic centralized policy management, programmability because it is constrained by old proprietary-standards model.
And with the changing applications world, we need more. We need an approach broader than what’s been defined as the separation of the control and data planes. Beyond SDN, the next generation data center must:
- Be created with an object-oriented design
- Provide a single point for dynamic policy management across physical and virtual resource pools
- Be a system that is deeply programmable for rapid application provisioning and placement
- Incorporate an open source approach to ensure total integration with RESTful interfaces into system-level management software
- Enable multi-tenancy and virtualization, without performance penalties
- And have deep ecosystem support from application, management, and services vendors.
That is precisely the type of Application Centric Infrastructure Cisco will deliver with our new networking architecture.
A Complete Solution: Application Centric Infrastructure
In the second half of 2013, Cisco will begin to introduce the elements of this new secure architecture, starting with best-in-class infrastructure components, and followed by software that enables centralized, application and policy-driven automation, and unified management of physical, virtual and cloud infrastructures.
Accelerated to market by Cisco’s investment in the data center start-up Insieme Networks, we think the benefits to customers will be huge, and include:
- Application Velocity (Any workload, anywhere): Reducing application deployment time through a fully automated and programmatic infrastructure for provisioning and placement. Customers will be able to define the infrastructure requirements of the application, and then have those requirements applied automatically throughout the infrastructure.
- A common platform for managing physical, virtual and cloud infrastructure: The complete integration across physical and virtual, normalizing endpoint access while delivering the flexibility of software and the performance, scale and visibility of hardware across multi-vendor, virtualized, bare metal, distributed scale out and cloud applications
- Systems Architecture: A holistic approach with the integration of infrastructure, services and security along with the ability to deliver simplification of the infrastructure, integration of existing and future services with real time telemetry system wide.
- Common Policy, Management and Operations for Network, Security, Applications: A common policy management framework and operational model driving automation across Network, Security and Application IT teams that is extensible to compute and storage in the future.
- Open APIs, Open Source and Multivendor: A broad ecosystem of partners who will be empowered by a comprehensive published set of APIs and innovations contributed to open source.
- The best of Custom and Merchant Silicon: To provide highly scalable, programmatic performance, low-power platforms and optics innovations that protect investments in existing cabling plants, and optimize capital and operational expenditures.
As we prepare to write the next chapter in the evolution of the data center, I couldn’t be more proud of our team. It is the true realization of Cisco’s innovation principles -- build, buy, partner and integrate. We’re delivering a fundamentally new vision with disruptive, breakthrough innovation.
I look forward to telling you more in the fall!
Tags: application centric infrastructure, Cisco, data center, padmasree warrior
Cisco partner Anittel has announced that it will be implementing a new communication system, based on Cisco Hosted Collaboration Solution, for the Tasmanian Government.
By hosting its communication and collaboration systems in the cloud, the Tasmanian Government will optimise internal processes and improve overall employee productivity. Based on a Cisco Powered Cloud implemented by Anittel, it’s expected that Tasmania’s whole-of-government shared service initiative will also benefit from the ability to move forward with more agility, flexibility and speed.
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Last Friday, Cisco welcomed the announcement by the Australian Federal Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Hon. Bill Shorten that The University of Melbourne was selected to establish the inaugural Australian Centre for Workplace Leadership (ACWL) at a press conference hosted in our Melbourne Office. The establishment of the ACWL supports the government’s aim to improve productivity by creating higher performing workplaces and stronger leadership capability in Australian organisations.
We welcome the creation of the ACWL as management look to learn new skills and leadership capabilities in order to capture the opportunities presented by Australia’s growing digital economy. Cisco supported Melbourne University’s submission to establish the centre, as the two organisations have successfully partnered on a number of initiatives, such as National Telework Congress, to improve management capability and leadership in Australian workplaces. Read More »
Today, as Cisco EVP and CFO Frank Calderoni presided over the closing bell ceremony at NASDAQ with our customers and with the Cisco Live! logo behind him, I couldn’t help but get excited about this year’s Cisco Live!
Cisco Live, Cisco’s annual IT and Communications conference, starts in Orlando, Florida this weekend, and it is already certain to be the largest customer event in our company’s history. (You can see more photos of Frank at the “Closing Bell” ceremony here.)
Cisco CFO Frank Calderoni Closing NASDAQ
More than 20,000 of the brightest in the industry will gather to see and discuss the latest innovations and to learn and demonstrate how the network is transforming the way we live, work, learn and play.
And this year more than ever, it feels like the possibilities of the Internet of Everything are endless. From Wall Street, where the fastest switches in the world are helping traders get a competitive edge, to main street where networked systems and applications are helping us shop, park, bank, and communicate on the go, from anywhere.
In the wake of the network’s increasingly important role in all aspects of our lives, it’s perhaps no surprise that attendance at Cisco Live! has doubled in the past five years. Just about every technology trend – from 3D printing, to connected cars, robots, tele-medicine, cloud computing, big data – has come to rely on a secure and dynamic network.
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Tags: #CLUS, cisco live, Closing Bell, frank calderoni, NASDAQ