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A Global Intercloud: Cisco Cloud Services, Cisco Powered, and You

In a previous blog post, I discussed some considerations organizations should keep in mind when selecting a cloud  provider. After all, in today’s world of many clouds, organizations must have confidence in their decision – both from a technology and business perspective.  This week Cisco announced plans to build a global Intercloud – a network of clouds – together with a set of partners.

Partners are an essential part of Cisco’s DNA. Only through the help of our partners can we provide customers with the world’s largest network of clouds. So far, over 200 Cisco cloud partners have already created 430 Cisco Powered services worldwide. With the addition of Cisco Cloud Services, together, we will have an unmatched portfolio of enterprise class offers.

Cisco Powered is the power behind the cloud: cisco.com/go/ciscopowered

Cisco Powered is the power behind the cloud: cisco.com/go/ciscopowered

Cisco is expanding the Cisco Powered program to include Cisco Cloud Services. Cisco will sell these new services through channel partners and directly to end customers. Partners who develop Cisco Powered services can extend their portfolio with unique Cisco technologies such as WebEx, Cisco Cloud Web Security and Meraki, as well as third party applications. This provides a significant opportunity to leverage the scale of a global Intercloud. In doing so, partners can tap into new revenue streams while improving profitability, and business relevance.

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Virtualization Everywhere, but not a Cloud in Sight!

Customers have often said to me, “Joann, we have virtualization all over the place. That’s cloud isn’t it?”   My response is, “Well not really, that is not a cloud, but you can get to cloud!”  Then there is a brief uncomfortable silence, which I resolve with an action provoking explanation that I will now share with you.

Here’s why that isn’t truly a cloud. What these customers often have is server provisioning that automates the process of standing up new virtual servers while the storage, network, and application layers continue to be provisioned manually. The result is higher management costs that strain IT budgets, which are decreasing or flat to begin with. With this approach, businesses aren’t seeing the agility and flexibility they expected from cloud. So, they become frustrated when they see their costs rising and continue struggling to align with new business innovation.

If your IT department adopted widespread virtualization and thought it was cloud, my guess is you are probably nodding your head in agreement.  Don’t worry, you’re not alone.

So then, what are the key elements an organization needs to achieve the speed, flexibility and agility promised by cloud?

1)      Self-service portal and service catalog
The self-service portal is the starting point that customers use to order cloud services. Think of a self-service portal as a menu at a restaurant.  The end user is presented with a standardized menu of services that have been defined to IT’s policies and standards and customers simply order what they need.  Self-service portals greatly streamline resource deployment which reduces the manual effort by IT to provision resources.

2)      Service delivery automation
After the user selects services from the portal service menu, then what? Well, under the hood should be automated service delivery—which is a defining characteristic of a real cloud environment.  Behind each of the standardized menu items in the self-service portal is a blueprint or instructions that prescribe how the service order is delivered across the data center resources.  This has been proven to appreciably simplify IT operations, reduce costs and drive business flexibility.

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Cisco WebEx Meetings Mobile App now available for Kindle Fire

September 19, 2012 at 10:15 am PST

Get out of the office and still get your work done. Use the free WebEx Mobile app right from your Kindle Fire and take your meeting from anywhere that has Internet access.

Our newest app release allows you to participate with high-quality two-way video on your Kindle Fire by viewing the video feeds of the participants in the web conference and streaming your own video back to them.

Join, start or schedule WebEx Meetings from your Kindle Fire!

Download it right from the Amazon Appstore!

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Give me Internet or give me Death!

September 25, 2011 at 10:28 pm PST

Could you live without the Internet?

If you think that the answer to this question is an easy “yes,” then you may find the results from Cisco’s 2011 Connected World Technology Report a bit shocking. Cisco commissioned an international workforce study of nearly 3000 people asking their views on the network in their lives.

A few choice highlights:

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In between the numbers – Big Changes for Stores

March 31, 2011 at 8:35 pm PST

 14.2 Billion Square Feet

 Was doing the Google-dive a few days ago in preparation for a customer presentation.

 Two numbers popped out.  Amazon sales were up 40% in 210, to $34 billion.   And the current vacancy rate in US shopping centers is at 10.9%.

 At first glance, it’s easy to see that online sales are eating into store-based sales.   Morgan Stanley reports that online is now more than 10% of all revenues in a number of product categories, from consumer electronics to jewelry.

 It’s also painfully obvious that the greatest creators of new retail real estate vacancies in North America (Borders,  Hollywood Video, and Blockbuster) have digital tire tracks on their chests.

 Hmmm . . .

 But let’s take a moment, and look beyond the obvious.    And specifically at the future of the 1.22 million stores in the USA  that occupy 14.2 billion square feet of gross leasable area.  Which calculates out at 46.6 square feet of total retail space for every man, woman, and child in the country.

 What retailers are learning – all too slowly, in many cases – is that the opening of more stores is not the end-all, be-all path to revenue growth.   In certain categories, comp-store revenues in status quo stores will decline faster than good stores can be opened.  Revenue is now a question of channel optimization.   Store operation is more a question of net margin.

 Second, the store’s not dead.   But the store must evolve rapidly – probably into smaller footprints, with virtual selections and services.  Probably into living-breathing web sites, where net-based experiences offer the transparency, speed, abundance, and expertise that shoppers find on the web.   Probably into interactive, educational, experiential zones, where shoppers learn and play.   Probably into a tri-furcated structure of large, full services-experience stores, small footprint urban-and-fast stores, and down-sized low-cost stores.

 Status quo just won’t work.  Big changes ahead

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