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.
Led by Cisco Senior VP John Kern, the supply chain operations team here at Cisco has undergone an extensive transformation and continues to be recognized globally as a best-in-class practitioner. With more than a thousand contract manufacturing and component suppliers, logistics (3PL) and other service partners, along with more than 25,000 orderable product IDs—which are broadly mixed amongst build cycles of engineer-to-order, configure-to-order, build-to-order and build-to-stock—the complexity and global scale of what our Cisco-resident supply chain gurus deal with on a daily basis could be staggering for some organizations but is managed with excellence by CSCO. Beyond the outstanding development and fulfillment supply chain and manufacturing management services rendered, CSCO has served as a tremendous expert asset and executive connection for our go-to-market expansion with manufacturing customers’ lines of business, particularly related to the Internet of Everything (IoE) market transition.
The splashy ad below illustrating a vision for the Internet of Things (IoT) has become much more of a reality and the technologies and products shown are in use within Cisco’s supply chain ecosystem today.
Recently, two Cisco colleagues — Edna Conway, VP CSCO and Chief Security Officer and Bob Dean, Director, Manufacturing and Energy Vertical, co-authored an excellent article for Manufacturing Leadership Journal entitled ‘The Fourth Dimension of Supply Chains’. The article highlights how new technologies are empowering supply chains as never before, and how they are also exposing enterprises and ecosystems to new risks. Cisco’s comprehensive approach to mitigate risks and bolster confidence across the supply chain focuses on the four areas of malicious modification/substitution of technology, counterfeit products (both raw materials and finished goods), the security component of supply chain resiliency and misuse of intellectual property.
Discipline surrounding that fourth topic of securing intellectual property has become an even greater concern in the face of new business models and innovations with the application of IoE in manufacturing. Best-in-class manufacturers are, like Cisco, increasingly leveraging their supply chains and ecosystems to develop offering portfolios balanced between sustaining and disruptive innovations that are derived from scrutinized customer segmentation and guided by such principles as value-driven design discipline, cross-BU portfolio platform awareness and rationalization, differentiated solution-service bundling, and connected system-level lifecycle services (e.g., Product as a Service). All of these design and innovation processes require immersive and intimate collaboration with customers and across supply chains.
Cisco’s relevance to enable manufacturing supply chain and innovation strategies to achieve more transformative business outcomes has never been greater:
According to Gartner’s Andrew Lerner, many of the networking practitioners running mainstream corporate networks have only surface-level knowledge of OpenStack as evidenced in his recent blog. To assist networkers to understand Openstack, we created an easy white-board style video illustration of OpenStack for beginners with specific use-cases, featuring networking in a Cisco ACI context. Lucien Avramov from Cisco’s Insieme Business Unit, a lead Technical Marketing Engineer and an OpenStack evangelist gleefully signed up to do the Videos. In this blog, I am pleased to present highlights of the videos.
Lucien rightfully starts his white-board Videos with one that discusses the basics, namely “What is OpenStack and Networking”.
This video covers OpenStack and Networking. Lucien does a deep-dive into the Neutron project and explains Neutron basics and its interaction with the physical and virtual networks of a Data Center.
For OpenStack with Networking watch
The last video covers the benefits of ACI with OpenStack. In this Video Lucien describes the workflow between ACI and OpenStack. You will learn the benefits of ACI with OpenStack including the ACI policy model, physical and virtual environment integration, hardware tunnels, service chaining and telemetry such as health scores, troubleshooting and visibility.
The 25th anniversary of Cisco Live was an enormous hit, with record crowds at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. Every day I could feel the enthusiasm of Cisco customers and partners, and it was especially high in the World of Solutions Expo. That’s where I spent most of my time, on the Expo floor taking in all the technology displays, talking shop, learning, and sharing information with Cisco partners and customers. The key conference themes dominated our conversations – global Intercloud, collaboration, security, and, of course, Application Centric Infrastructure. Read More »
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.
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: