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Fast IT Workshop #2 – Roadmap to Fast IT

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. This post will discuss what IT leaders can do now to adopt a roadmap to Fast IT.

To read the first post in this series by Colin Kincaid which introduces Fast IT, a new model for IT, click here. To read the third post in this series by Doug Webster which highlights how service providers specifically stand to benefit from Fast IT, click here. To read the fourth and final post in this series by Jeff Reed which explores how a Fast IT model can mitigate infrastructure challenges, click here.

The old way of doing things won’t work anymore for us IT professionals. The “application economy” and explosion of connected devices have increased the complexity of IT to such levels that throwing bodies at the problems won’t solve them anymore. The new Fast IT model we discussed in previous blogs enables IT departments to shift focus from spending too much time keeping the lights on to capturing the value of today’s connections and preparing for the future.

Here is an example of the CapEx and OpEx savings our own Cisco IT has achieved by following a Fast IT model.

ACI Delivers Business Outcomes | CiscoLive

Like any strategic initiative, the transition to a Fast IT model requires careful planning and change management.  In particular, organizations need to develop a plan that encompasses people, organizational processes and technologies. Once this foundational plan is in place, CIOs are then ready to begin the steps of preparing their business for Fast IT and building an organization focused on service delivery.

To assist with this process, we’ve created a four-step roadmap. Here’s a closer look at each step:

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Copenhagen Gets Greener with the Internet of Everything

Once a Viking fishing village founded in the 10th century, Copenhagen today stands tall among the world’s most technologically enlightened cities.

Most everyone knows that Denmark’s capital is praised worldwide for its green initiatives, which are obvious from the pure air, clean sidewalks, ever-present bicycles and fresh-water canals, which I’ve enjoyed swimming in over the years.

There’s good reason Copenhagen topped the 2012 Global Green Economy Index and was recently named “The European Green Capital 2014.”

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CiscoLive – 25 Years and 25,000 People

We celebrated 25 years of CiscoLive last week in San Francisco, with more than 25,000 people attending (live) to learn more about the power of the Internet of Everything and the value it will bring for years to come.

My favorite part… a ‘dancing’ John Chambers as an intro and close to his opening keynote kicked off the event Monday afternoon.  He focused on IoE as a movement that will be enabled by Fast IT and that change is a constant in business.  He stressed that those who do not change fast enough will not survive.  And, he noted that only 24 percent of the Fortune 500 companies still reside on that list from just 25 years ago.

Rob Lloyd, Cisco president of development and sales, complimented John’s keynote with his own the next day, adding that FastIT is based on Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) and Intercloud.

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Fast IT Workshop #1: Beyond SDN _ Expanding the Conversation

As business leaders navigate an increasingly complex world of connections, they need IT to dynamically respond to their needs. This four-part blog series explores how responsive and programmable infrastructure helps IT leaders succeed. Today’s post highlights how Fast IT, a new model of IT, encompasses a broader focus of next-generation infrastructure and how it can drive business value.

To read the second post in this series by Jim Grubb which discusses a roadmap to adopt a Fast IT model, click here. To read the third post in this series by Doug Webster which highlights how service providers specifically stand to benefit from Fast IT, click here. To read the fourth and final post in this series by Jeff Reed which explores how a Fast IT model can mitigate infrastructure challenges, click here.

Lately, there has been a lot of chatter around what software-defined networking (SDN) really is. Initially, SDN was a term used to explain the concept of splitting the forwarding plane from the control plane with the added benefit of automation and orchestration. However, recently SDN has become a “buzzword” attached to products that vendors are trying to sell as explained by Network Computing’s Tom Hollingsworth.

Critics of SDN say that it means too many things to too many different people, making what was once network architecture into a philosophy. This was affirmed by Colin Bannon, Chief Architect and CTO, British Telecom, as heard in this recording of the “Business Implications of Software-Defined Networking” panel discussion at Cisco Live Milan in January. During the panel, he suggested SDN means one of three things:

  1. Centralized control which is especially popular with data center,
  2. Centralized control but with lots of distributed intelligence, or
  3. A software programmability into existing infrastructure, meaning more of an orchestration set.

Tim Zimmerman, Research Vice President, Gartner, echoed this sentiment at this same SDN panel: “SDN tends to have a meaning for everybody. It’s not always the same meaning for each person who asks the question.” He added, “We have to worry a little about using it to mean everything. I encourage people to ask the additional questions to ensure they’re getting the right answers when we explore what SDN means to them.”

Cisco_ FastITWorkshop_#1_ALT_5.5.14

At Cisco, we know that the old way of doing things won’t work anymore and SDN seems to solve many issues organizations face today with programmability. However, we want to expand the conversation beyond just SDN to include application-centricity, automation, virtualization, and orchestration. We’ve labeled these types of capabilities Fast IT. Fast IT is a new model for IT with a drive for less complexity, more agility, and comprehensive security. With the majority of IT budgets tied up in manual processes, IT struggles to free up resources needed to deliver innovative technology services to the business. IT must deliver value faster, and be more agile and less complex in responding to changing business needs. IT must enable the business to innovate and achieve business outcomes faster through a simple, smart and secure IT model.

So, what do IT leaders need to do?

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Cisco Announces Intent to Acquire ThreatGRID

For cyber attackers, and those who defend against them, the stakes could not be higher than they are right now.  There’s no question that security is a top priority for organizations and the threat landscape is more dynamic than ever. Given the explosion in the amount of information being created and exchanged, driven by mobility, cloud computing, and the Internet of Everything (IoE), the number of cyber attacks will continue to increase—and with greater speed and complexity. Companies need threat-centric security solutions to address the full attack continuum – before, during, and after an attack.

Today, I am pleased to announce Cisco’s intent to acquire ThreatGRID, headquartered in New York, NY. ThreatGRID offers dynamic malware analysis and threat intelligence technology, both on-premise and in the cloud. This helps organizations and security teams defend proactively against and quickly respond to advanced cyber attacks and malware outbreaks.

The acquisition of ThreatGRID and its team of security innovators strengthen Cisco’s security strategy to deliver intelligent and comprehensive cybersecurity for the real world. ThreatGRID’s technology enhances Cisco’s Advanced Malware Protection (AMP) portfolio, originally developed by Sourcefire, acquired in 2013. ThreatGRID’s on-premise products also expand our ability to help protect customers with in-house data retention requirements. AMP addresses our customers’ security needs from network to endpoint and delivers comprehensive malware-defeating capabilities, including detection and blocking, continuous analysis and retrospective remediation of advanced threats. The combination of Cisco and ThreatGRID will enhance our already strong capabilities to aggregate and correlate data to identify advanced and evasive cyber threats and provide intelligent cybersecurity solutions for the real world.

Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) and investments are a key part of our innovation strategy that includes build, buy, partner, and integrate. This acquisition further supports Cisco’s priority to deliver innovative security offerings and to be the number one IT company, and security partner, to our customers. The acquisition is expected to close in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2014. We are very excited to welcome ThreatGRID’s outstanding team and technology to Cisco.

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