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Cisco UCS and Intel Xeon E7v3: bringing the horsepower you need for analytics

UCS B460 M4

Cisco UCS B460 M4

I’ve heard it said that CIO’s like their ERP systems the same way they like their cars: big, fast and German. Setting nationalities aside, IT pros craving more horsepower for something like SAP HANA need look no further than our UCS B460 M4 and C460 M4 servers, which now supports Intel’s new Xeon E7v3 processor family.

You may wonder why news like this is this important in an age where hardware is so often taken for granted. The answer is speed, in two flavors:

  • Faster Applications
  • Fast IT

Organizations across the spectrum are working to become intelligence-driven throughout their operations, in real time, in order to create a perpetual and renewable competitive edge. Taking a long-term view in choosing the right infrastructure accomplish this important. Here are two reasons why:

  1. You never hear about an analytic environment getting smaller. Massive increases in data volume mean these environments inevitably grow.   For many, this will mean continuously expanding clusters of hundreds or thousands of servers for scale-out big data apps and bringing in ever-larger systems for the scale-up, in-memory analytics.
  2. Data is the lifeblood of the digital enterprise. As the use of big data becomes pervasive and critical to day-to-day decision-making, the performance and predictability of these computing platforms will become increasingly paramount to success. So too will be the speed at which they can be deployed and expanded. You want to choose partners and technology you can trust.

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Preparing for the Next Big Wave in IT: The Intercloud’s Role in Digitization

There is no question that we’re on the cusp of rapid IT evolution. Ten years ago, a small subset of IT managers and system administrators defined and drove infrastructure and services with a finite set of management tools for everyone’s use. In the emerging cloud world, the control of the data center has become segregated into individual hardware components (compute, network, storage) and become more available to the masses.

Today developers are building and running cloud services and next generation applications.  As users, we are also composing our own cloud services to get our job done and combining all the various things we can consume in the cloud. That means the number of users and developers that touch IT systems and services has grown exponentially, which is why automation, programmability, and light weight development environments have become critical in the IT landscape.  By definition, the consumption of these varying services have also driven the requirements for fast, hybrid IT and given the opportunity to companies like Amazon Web Services to capitalize on the users.

You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet!

But we are anticipating a much bigger wave in IT – one that we all have to be prepared for – which is digitization. With all things of value connecting to the network, we are walking around with super computers in our pockets and in our cars and homes.  These “things” (e.g. FitBit, Nest, and the Telsa smart traffic mapping application) are the new “users” that are consuming services and data from our surroundings and using these services to get their jobs done.  This is another order of magnitude greater than the system administrators who drove the IT revolution and the users like us who drove the initial cloud revolution. We need to find a way to push the intelligence and services all the way out to the edge and tie this uber-distributed compute fabric together to support the “things” while giving the developers and users the automated, secure platform, intelligence, and analytics that they need.

Hyper-distributed Application Environment

This means in the current cloud economy, enterprises will need a bimodal IT model to take advantage of this uber-distributed compute fabric – one that supports their existing legacy applications AND one that supports hyperscale applications (those cloud-native applications built for mobile, gaming, ecommerce, etc.).  We need to allow enterprise to deploy those new applications in hundreds of clouds and not just on their own private cloud. Enabling this kind of distributed application environment will require an agile, FAST IT development strategy combined with the right cloud platform to manage it. In addition, this cloud platform needs to be hybrid as well to allow full workload mobility across any cloud, from any vendor in a way that guarantees visibility, security, compliance and full open standards.

We believe that Intercloud, the global network of connected clouds that we’re building with our partners, is the right hybrid cloud platform to help users take advantage of digitization and IoE in the near future. Our partners are going to play a major role in making this a reality for their customers.

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Earlier today on main stage during Cisco Partner Summit in Montreal, I gave more than 7,000 partners a preview of this Intercloud-enabled journey to Fast IT and digitization, and the role they’ll be able to play with customers. Within this journey there are a few different Cisco solutions that partners can sell to their customers and monetize today or in the near future:

  • Discover True Cloud Usage
    Before enterprises race to embrace the world of many clouds and eventually digitization, it is critical that they understand their own cloud usage and what services are within their control. Most CIOs think they know how many cloud services they are using within their enterprise, but they’re usually way off base. In many organizations, line of business (LOB) managers lease and use multiple IT and cloud services without the IT department’s knowledge. After analysis, CIOs usually discover they are using 5 to 10 times more cloud services than they were aware of, called “Shadow IT” or “Shadow Cloud.” This creates exponentially more hidden costs than are visible to the IT department, and a host of other security risks. Our new Cisco Cloud Consumption as a Service not only helps customers find out how many Shadow IT services they’re actually using, but which applications are in use, whether the data stored on those applications is encrypted, and how much it is costing them.
  • Build a Hybrid Cloud Platform
    Once CIOs realize the extent of the cloud fragmentation, they need a hybrid cloud model that gives them control over this hyperscale distribution of applications and data. Cisco ONE Enterprise Cloud Suite helps customers build their own hybrid private cloud and functions like an internal cloud store while still guaranteeing visibility, control, security, policy management, and compliance. Since it already contains a combination of Cisco Prime Service Catalog, Cisco Intercloud Fabric, and UCS Director, Cisco ONE Enterprise Cloud Suite is the one-stop shop for Cloud Builders who want to help enterprises build their own private hybrid cloud and manage the IaaS, Paas, and SaaS services applications inside it, whether those applications are their own or purchased from a partner marketplace or a public cloud.
  • Link IT to OT
    50 billion new things will be connected to the Internet and all of these “things” will create data that will be stored in clouds and will need to be managed by the IT department. This is the world of hybrid IT – not just hybrid cloud. Cisco Energy Management Suite is an example of an Intercloud application that links IT to OT to solve this problem. It helps identify the customer’s energy use and provides benchmarks for their cloud, IT, and OT assets. Partners will wrap their own professional services around this offer to perform an assessment of the customer’s environment and automatically create and deploy policies to better manage their customers’ energy consumption all through the cloud.
  • Sell a Private OpenStack Cloud Managed Service
    As I mentioned earlier, a new IT approach is needed for enterprises to deploy cloud-native applications. Centralized computing models won’t work for many of the IoE solutions today. The time-sensitive nature of these solutions requires localized analysis and processing, which requires a distributed intelligence that only the network can deliver. This distributed applications approach leverages the intelligence network as a platform to deploy many IoE applications closer to the decision point and the data so it can enable people and processes to take near real-time informed action. Partners can help enterprises build their own distributed application cloud environment and deploy cloud-native applications using Cisco OpenStack Private Cloud Bundle based on Cisco’s Metacloud acquisition. This OpenStack-based private cloud development application is designed to radically simplify the private cloud start up process for enterprises, deliver a public cloud experience for developers, and provide a reoccurring subscription revenue opportunity for partners. Not only that, but it allows enterprises to create, deploy, and modify these cloud-native applications built for mobile, gaming, or ecommerce (such as the Angry Birds game) that can become a new source of revenue and customer analytics for enterprises.NEarlePS3

 

In conclusion, CIOs need to solve the problem of hybrid IT – not just hybrid cloud. Their new remit is to manage everything from data centers to the cloud, to edges, to mobile devices. Cisco Intercloud is the only solution that has been designed from the ground up to solve this problem while leveraging the power of the network.

 

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Oil and the Smart Pipe – Article on The Network, Cisco, by Scott Gurvey

Scott Gurvey (the famous New York bureau chief and senior correspondent of the PBS broadcast Nightly Business Report for more than 20 years) has written a thought-provoking piece on “The Network” (Cisco’s Technology News Site).

Safety is the key in the Oil and Gas industry. Whether it’s people, infrastructure, or the environment, the industry is grappling with sometimes controversial issues.

Scott talks about the Keystone XL Oil Pipeline, new technology and the relative safety of different oil transport methods. He quotes James Stafford, the editor of Oilprice.com, as saying that even though moving oil through pipelines is generally considered safer than the alternatives of rail or truck transport, the number of pipeline accidents reported each year remains “unacceptable”

That’s where the new technologies of the Internet of Things comes in. The Operational Technologies (OT) requirements have been different to the IT needs in the past. In my view that’s because of several reasons. The different technologies used for each area gave rise to concern that folks have had about security between networks is one.

Read the latest Thought Leadership for Oil and Gas

Read the latest Thought Leadership for Oil and Gas

Another is that there was also a lack of visibility, and it was difficult for parts of an organization to collaborate with another to sense problems in real time and deliver the right resources to solve them. That’s changing as IT and OT converge. Probably not fast enough for most people’s liking, but that’s owing to the cultural changes needed.

Back to Scott’s article. I’m not going to steal his thunder on ‘Pigs’ (well, Smart Pigs, but still not the kind in your hot dog!), drones (the peaceful kind), or the Analytics challenge the industry faces today. You’ll have to read his article for that.

But I do want to give a plug for the recent thought leadership in the oil industry that Cisco recently conducted (A New Reality for Oil & Gas: Complex Market Dynamics Create Urgent Need for Digital Transformation), which I was proud to contribute to. In it the analytics issue comes to the forefront and IT/OT convergence and Collaboration are seen as essential catalysts for change, with an overarching emphasis on ensuring end-to-end cybersecurity. Read it to see the details. Some might surprise you.

As always, you can learn more about Cisco in Oil and gas here: www.cisco.com/go/oilandgas, and read the latest Secure Industrial Networks with Cisco White Paper (don’t worry, it’s only 3 pages!), by clicking on this link: Secure Industrial Networks with Cisco.

And I almost forgot – if you’re interested in Cisco’s relevance to oil pipelines and that part of the industry, here’s something to whet your appetite: Cisco Connected Pipelines At-a-Glance.

Happy reading! And remember, stay safe out there!

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IoE-Powered Business Transformation Boosts Agility and Efficiency for Oil and Gas Companies

This week I’m attending CERAWeek, the premier international gathering of energy industry leaders, experts, government officials, policymakers, and innovators. While this is the 34th annual CERAWeek conference, the mood is definitely not “business as usual.” The disruption and uncertainty created by plunging oil prices and shifting market dynamics has created the urgency throughout the industry to rethink strategies and adopt connected technologies to spur operational efficiencies.

But disruption can also create opportunity. Forward-thinking oil and gas (O&G) firms see today’s turbulent market as an opportunity to gain competitive advantage by harnessing new technologies. For example, in the Eagle Ford region in North America, improved drilling technologies are now enabling oil rigs to produce 18 times more efficiently than in 2008, and 65 percent more efficiently than in 2013.

A new study by Cisco highlights the opportunity to achieve even greater efficiencies through transformed business models and digital technologies powered by the Internet of Everything (IoE)—the networked connection of people process, data, and things.

With IoE, oil and gas firms have the opportunity to make IT services a commodity in the business, creating the potential for dramatic cost reduction and improved operational efficiency. The illustration below shows several ways O&G operations can benefit from connected technologies. To achieve these benefits, however, they will need to bring together both the IT and the operational technology (OT) sides of the business. Our survey indicates that oil and gas firms have a long way to go in breaking down the barriers between IT and OT. In fact, only 41 percent of respondents “completely” or “somewhat” agreed that their firms’ IT and OT strategies are aligned.

OandG_Digital_Tranform_01

Source: Cisco, 2015

Here are some examples of how IT-OT convergence can impact the areas of data, collaboration, and cybersecurity: Read More »

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A Turning Point for Oil and Gas: Managing Through Turbulence to Digital Transformation

This is a big week for the global energy industry, as thousands of energy leaders, experts, technologists, and policymakers gather in Houston, Texas, for the 34th annual CERAWeek conference, the premier international event for the industry. As a corporate sponsor of the event, it’s also a big week for Cisco.

Just last week, Cisco released a new report focused on the need for digital transformation in the oil and gas industry. Based on a survey of oil and gas executives, analysts, and consultants in 14 countries, the paper validates CERAWeek’s “oil day” theme, “Turning Point for the Oil Industry.” For forward-thinking oil and gas companies, the price volatility and turbulence in the market could represent a turning point toward true digital transformation. Read More »

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