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The Foundation for a Business Relevant Network

With the growing influx of new mobile devices, connected things, bandwidth intensive applications and more data, the network is more relevant to business success than ever before.  Back in June of 2012, Cisco saw that we needed to move away from multiple network systems loosely linked together to an agile and simple infrastructure, streamlined policy and centralized management would be needed to support new business demands. We called it Cisco Unified Access and we aligned the solution to three pillars: One Network, One Policy and One Management.

For the last few years, we have focused on delivering new products and functionality under this Unified Access model. Below is a timeline of products released as part of the Unified Access framework. Cisco lead the way in delivering gigabit 802.11ac Wi-Fi., converged wireless control in access switches and through the acquisition of Meraki – a complete cloud-managed network solution.

foundation

The timeline above doesn’t represent every feature and function we have delivered, but it shows Cisco’s commitment to this Unified Access model, both from a cloud-managed and on-premise solution perspective.

Today, Cisco is announcing a number of new products and new functionality to existing products that will help mobilize the workforce, secure the business and increase IT agility. The announcement includes the following: Read More »

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Introducing Cisco Information Server 7.0: Easy Access for Business Users, Larger Deployments, More Data

Today, at Data Virtualization Day 2014 in New York City, we proudly announced Cisco Information Server 7.0 (CIS 7.0). The latest version of our flagship data virtualization offering, CIS 7.0 extends data virtualization to new audiences, enables larger, more-complex deployments and integrates more data sources so our customers can run their businesses more effectively by leveraging all of their data.

Enterprises are challenged to keep pace. That’s a big problem in a world where data and analytics form the competitive battlefield. With trends like Big Data, Cloud and the Internet of Everything are transforming our world, the possibilities are staggering.

Unfortunately, these possibilities also come with challenges:

  • With 25 billion connected devices by the end of 2015 and another 25 billion by 2020, data is and will continue to be sprawled out over billions of devices.
  • Data distribution reaches far beyond the traditional enterprise data warehouse, today data is everywhere across hybrid IT environments that span on-premise, private cloud and public cloud.
  • With data the lifeblood of today’s modern enterprise, business and IT stakeholders must radically change how they partner together in order to extract the most useful insight for all users. An “all hands on deck” approach to data and analytics is needed.

These are challenges CIS 7.0 is engineered to address.

Self-Service Data Gateway for Business

Leveraging the new class of easy-to-use business intelligence tools such as Qliktech, Spotfire and Tableau, as well as the increasingly powerful and ubiquitous Excel, business users have become adept at visualizing and analyzing data without IT’s help.  However finding and accessing that data remains a big challenge, with long IT lead times frequently the only option. That is until CIS 7.0.

bd - search results

Business Directory is the first data virtualization offering designed exclusively for business self-service.

CIS 7.0’s Business Directory is the first data virtualization offering designed exclusively for business self-service. Users apply search and categorization techniques to quickly find the data they’re looking for, and then use their business intelligence (BI) tool of choice to query it.  The result is far faster time to insight and translates to better business outcomes sooner.

With Business Directory, IT creates a new partnership with the business.  IT provides secure, curated data sets to the business.  Then the business adds domain knowledge and analytic value on the path to insight. Using CIS 7.0’s scalable platform, IT can manage security profiles ensuring users see only the data for which they’re authorized.  And as new business needs arise, IT can use the CIS Studio to quickly add new data sets, often in a day or less.

Connecting Data Globally, with Control

Data virtualization’s ability to connect and deliver data with agility is well understood.  As data has become increasingly distributed, data virtualization adoption has skyrocketed. This has led to highly complex, global-scale data virtualization deployments.

CIS 7.0’s Deployment Manager simplifies management of the mega-scale CIS 7.0 deployments. Deployment Manager automates the transfer views, data services, caches, policies and more across multiple CIS 7 instances.  These faster, risk-free deployments provide the scalability desired, ensure compliance with software development life cycle processes and other governance practices, and reduce the cost of IT administration.

More Data Sources For Better Analysis

Everyone knows that if you can access more data sources, you can drive better, data-driven business outcomes. However the rise of new fit-for-purpose data stores from graph databases to Hadoop, as well as highly specialized industry solutions, such as the PI System in upstream energy, has made it difficult for IT to integrate all these sources at business pace.

CIS 7.0’s Data Source Software Development Kit (SDK) accelerates data adapter development. Using Data Source SDK, Cisco, system integrators and customers can build high-performance data virtualization adapters for emerging and industry-specific data sources quickly and in a way that leverages Cisco development best practices and market-leading, query optimization techniques.

Winning on the Data Battlefield

With Big Data, Cloud and the Internet of Everything disrupting data integration, the time is right for CIS 7.0. Business Directory addresses business demand for self-service data. Deployment Manager provides global-scale data virtualization with control.  Data Source SDK extends data virtualization’s reach.  These breakthroughs, on top of the industry’s leading data virtualization platform, will help our customers drive better business outcomes and outpace their competition.

CIS 7.0’s time in now!  So get ready!

For those of you attending Data Virtualization Day, check out a sneak preview at the Solution Showcase. General availability via Cisco Support is scheduled for next month. Cisco Advanced Services and our many ATP partners are set to provide migration assistance.

 

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Data Vault and Data Virtualization: Double Agility

Rick van der Lans is data virtualization’s leading independent analyst.  So when he writes a new white paper, any enterprise that is struggling to connect all their data (which is pretty much every enterprise), would be wise to check it out.

Rick’s latest is Data Vault and Data Virtualization: Double Agility. In a nutshell, the paper addresses how enterprises can craftily combine the Data Vault approach to modeling enterprise data warehouses with the data virtualization approach for connecting and delivering data.  The result is what Rick calls double agility as each approach accelerates time to solution in complex data environments.

Data Vault Pros and Cons

Adding new data sources such as big data and cloud to an existing data warehouses is difficult. The Data Vault approach provides the extensibility required.  This is the first agility.

Unfortunately, from a query and reporting point of view developing reports straight for a Data Vault‐based data warehouse results in complex SQL statements that almost always lead to bad reporting performance. The reason is Data Vault models distribute data over a large number of tables.

Losing Agility Due to Data Mart Proliferation

To solve the performance problems with Data Vault, many enterprises have built physical data marts that reorganize the data for faster queries.

Unfortunately valuable time must be spent on designing, optimizing, loading, and managing all these data marts.   And any new extensions to the enterprise data warehouse must be re-implemented across the impacted marts.

Data Virtualization Returns the Agility

To avoid the data mart workload, yet retain agile warehouse extensibility, Rick has worked with Netherlands based system integrator Centennium and Cisco to provide a better, double agility, alternative.

In this new solution, Cisco Data Virtualization, together with a Centennium-defined data modeling technique called SuperNova, replaces all the physical data marts.  So, no valuable time has to be spent on designing, optimizing, loading, managing and updating these derived data marts. Data warehouse extensibility is retained, but because the reporting is based on virtual, rather than physical models, they are very easy to create and maintain.

Meet Rick van der Lans at Data Virtualization Day

To learn more about this innovative solution as well as data virtualization in general, come to Data Virtualization Day 2014 in New York City on October 1.  Rick, along with the also sharp Barry Devlin, will join me on stage for the Analyst Roundtable. I hope to see you there.

 

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Service Agility from Customer, Business, and Orchestration Perspectives

A Great Leap Forward

Evolutionary biologists talk about features that suddenly seem to burst forth and enable stunning new capabilities for life forms in the natural world. Eyes. Legs. Flight. And right now service providers have at their fingertips many new operational features that can help them become more agile purveyors of better, faster, and cheaper services. It’s no exaggeration to look at Software-defined Networking (SDN), Network Functions Virtualization (NFV), and other new, evolving technology approaches as part of a groundbreaking, evolutionary leap forward.

Service providers are not alone in embracing solutions that provide greater service agility. A 2013 Gartner study that asked enterprises to list their primary driver for cloud services found that 66% of enterprises ranked agility and service velocity above cost savings and other factors.

Understanding How and When to be Agile Read More »

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Innovation Distinguishes Between a Leader and a Follower

Steve Jobs is arguably the most amazing innovator of our times.  I recently read some of his thoughts on innovation. His statement “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower,” caused me to reflect upon my eight-year association with data virtualization, and consider who in the IT analyst community have been the innovative leaders.

Since 2006, I have worked with over one hundred IT analysts to define and advance the data virtualization market.  I even teamed up with one, Judith Davis, to co-author the first book on data virtualization, Data Virtualization: Going Beyond Traditional Data Integration to Achieve Business Agility.

Others such as Rick van der Lans, author of data virtualization’s second book, Data Virtualization for Business Intelligence Systems: Revolutionizing Data Integration for Data Warehouses and the seminal article, The Network is the Database, have contributed mightily to the market’s understanding of data virtualization’s capabilities, advantages and benefits.

The role call of top analysts doing innovative work continues with Noel Yuhanna of Forrester who wrote the analyst community’s first research paper on data virtualization in January 2006, Information Fabric: Enterprise Data Virtualization.

Gartner’s Ted Friedman and Mark A. Beyer, and more recently Merv Adrian, Roxane Edjlali, Mei Selvage, Svetlana Sicular and Eric Thoo, have been both descriptive and proscriptive about the use of data virtualization as a data integration delivery method, a data service enabler and a key component in what Gartner calls the Logical Data Warehouse.

Dave Wells, author of TDWI’s Data Virtualization Course, Data Virtualization: Solving Complex Data Integration Challenges, helped bring data virtualization into the mainstream.    As did Boulder BI Brain Trust members Claudia Imhoff, Colin White, John O’Brien, Ralph Hughes, John Myers and more who I recently wrote about in Rocky Mountains High On Data Virtualization.

Further, there have been myriad analysts who have amazing contributions.

  • The learned trio of Dr. Barry Devlin, Dr. Robin Bloor, and Dr. Richard Hackathorn have pushed the art of the possible.
  • While analyst / practitioners such as Jill Dyche, Mike Ferguson, Rick Sherman, Steve Dine, Evan Levy, David Loshin and William McKnight, via their hands-on client work, have “kept data virtualization grounded on reality street,” to quote Mike Ferguson.
  • And let’s not forget the Massachusetts’ Waynes — Wayne Eckerson formerly of TDWI and Wayne Kernochan, author of the eponymous Thoughts From a Software IT Analyst blog.  Their voices and insights have proven invaluable.

To quote Gene Rodenberry, “It isn’t all over; everything has not been invented; the human adventure is just beginning.”  The same is true for data virtualization.  So I look forward to more great insights from these innovators, as well as a new generation led by Puni Rajah of Canalys and Vernon Turner of IDC.

To see Rick van der Lans and Barry Devlin on stage and gain even more insights from the 2014 Data Virtualization Leadership Award winners, join us at Data Virtualization Day 2014 on October 1 in New York City.

Watch for a sneak peek of Data Virtualization Day 2014.

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