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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Tags: amazon, CIAC, cloud, cloud infrastructure, Cloud Management, IAC, OpenStack, process automation, Self-Service Portal, UCS, vCloud Director, virtualization
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Tags: amazon, application, kindle, meetings, mobile, WebEX
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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Tags: amazon, Cisco, connected world technology report, human network, internet, internet importance, internet of things, iPad, network, ronan singh lach, skype, trailspace.com, wireless
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
Tags: amazon, retail, retailing, shopping, store