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Case Study: Cisco’s Private Cloud and Lessons Learned

This is my talk I gave last week at Cloud Connect in Santa Clara. One slide that did not make the deck are the top reasons why people struggle with building private clouds

  1. Management and operations process.
  2. Culture
  3. Funding Model
  4. Service description and self-service interface

As my deck says, “I got 99 problems, but the tech ain’t one”

Building a “real” cloud involves the following success factors

  1. Well articulated corporate strategy with phases (crawl, walk, run)
  2. Engage existing automation teams for skills
  3. Well-defined, achievable service definitions that are automatable, volume
  4. Platform that does not lock into a specific hypervisor or cloud API
  5. A team that is trained (with specific roles) on the solution so that they can extend it in combination with the vendor’s services organization
  6. Get into production ASAP to drive value and organizational learning
  7. Union of OOB features and specific configurations for your environment.
  8. Articulated strategy for integrating with certain existing/deployed IT assets, and using the new “Cloud” as a way to shed IT baggage
  9. Recognition that your Cloud Management Platform is extensible to other areas in the IT strategy and that partner products may be necessary as well
  10. Have a suite / framework so you can maintain in the long term. And use external resources
  11. Need clear articulation of career paths once you start removing “button pushers.” design, operations, not implementation
  12. Focus on process outcomes, not process activities. Or end up with innefficient processes

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Self-Service Arrives to Workload Automation. Have Your Users Paint Your Fence.

Self-Service Arrives to Workload Automation. Have Your Users Paint Your Fence.

It’s close to 11 p.m. on the last day of the quarter. And I.T. gets an urgent request to post-pone a closing of the books process because there’s a large order stuck in the CRM system.  This means that it won’t hit the books and be recorded as a sale.  The customer won’t get her order, the salesperson won’t get paid and finance will show a missing number.

Making matters more complicated, there’s a large marketing workload to process sentiment analysis that kicks off after close of business.  That whole workload looks like this:
image002.png@01CDAE1C.37FBAB50

This generates an urgent call to the team that manages the workload automation platform: Hold the closing workflow!  Stop the presses! And postpone the Hadoop workflow.

The admins have to get to their console find the job and pause it.  Not a huge deal, except there are thousands of jobs to be run and hundreds of business people calling on a regular basis, at all kind of hours.

Some customers have created help desks for their workload automation teams or even off-shore to serve these kinds of requests.

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Unlock Your Converged Infrastructure’s Potential

Successful IT managers today and in the future need to quickly adapt to changing business strategies. But how does IT increase efficiency, support more applications and provide additional services with flat or decreasing IT budgets?

In my previous blog, I discussed how Cisco, EMC, NetApp, and VCE introduced converged infrastructures to increase IT efficiency and significantly reduce data center costs. I also addressed the breakdown of IT time and resources between management and maintenance (75 percent) and value-add services (25 percent). So how does IT flip that ratio and spend more time on innovation and less on routine administration?

Watch our new video to learn how Cisco Cloupia—through automated, comprehensive management of converged infrastructure solutions based on Cisco UCS and Nexus—empowers IT to better align quickly with business strategy. By doing so, the software helps drive a positive shift in that 75:25 ratio, providing infrastructure administrators with greater agility and flexibility.

There are a number of converged infrastructure management solutions, but Cisco Cloupia is unique in the industry by delivering:

•Simplicity
In less than 4 hours, you can be experiencing the benefits of automated converged infrastructure management with Cisco Cloupia. The solution installs in less than 1 hour without any service engagement. (In one of our labs at Cisco, the solution was installed in 15 minutes.) Following installation and 2-3 hours of training, conducted by our partners, you can be experiencing all the benefits of the software.

•Comprehensive Management
Cisco Cloupia is the only solution on the market today that manages the leading converged infrastructures from Cisco, EMC, NetApp, and VCE from the same management console. Today’s data centers are heterogeneous, and management tools need to accommodate multiple vendor solutions. Cisco Cloupia enables you to choose the best converged infrastructure solution to meet your business requirements.

•Single pane of glass
Using one tool that manages both physical and virtual compute, network, storage, and virtualization reduces complexity and training time for your staff, helping drive that shift in the 75:25 ratio towards innovation.

•Model-based orchestration
Cisco Cloupia’s unique model-based orchestration enables IT teams to build and execute repeatable physical and virtual infrastructure workflows without complex custom scripts and expensive system integration engagements.

•Greater IT Management and Control
Cisco Cloupia can manage multi-tenant or secure multi-tenant environments, permitting virtualized and non-virtualized workloads to securely run side-by-side while their associated resources remain independent.

As data centers seek to innovate and meet changing business requirements, they need automation and management to ensure that they experience the full potential of their converged infrastructure. These are just some of the ways that Cisco Cloupia can help. To learn more, go here.

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#EngineersUnplugged S2|Eps5-6: #Automation and #KISS, a Double Header!

March 20, 2013 at 11:14 am PST

On Engineers Unplugged this week, we are trying something new, a double edition! First up in Episode 5, VCE’s Jay Cuthrell (@qthrul) and Nick Weaver (@lynxbat) talk shop in terms of Automation and the evolution of Open Source, including GitHub, and the role of Community in Tech solving problems. Amazing discussion with practical guidance on how you can get more involved:

Jay Cuthrell and Nick Weaver take the Community Unicorn Challenge!

Jay Cuthrell and Nick Weaver take the Community Unicorn Challenge!

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A Cloud Management Solution You Can Believe In, Or Better Yet, Bank On

February 1, 2013 at 9:45 am PST

Guest Blogger: Yair Dolev (@CiscoCloudY) brings extensive experience in enterprise application development and management of advanced data center virtualization technology products to Cisco’s Cloud and Systems Management Technology Group. Prior to Cisco, Yair was Director of Product Management at data center automation authority Tidal Software, and managed the groundbreaking Azul Virtual Machine products at Azul Systems, which enabled data centers to run large Java workloads on highly scalable, optimized hardware. 

In my last blog entry, I told you about some of the most fundamental new concepts in Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud (IAC) v3.1 and how they help address top-of-mind issues for our customers. This time I’d like to address a matter no less significant.

At the core of every cloud initiative there always lurks a concern about the sustained viability of such a comprehensive transformation – and this applies to adoption of a new cloud operating model as well as to the deployment of the new technology required. It boils down to two things: trust and cost. Can I trust that this solution will still fit me in the future, and how much will I really have to pay for this fit?

One of the things I really like about Cisco IAC is that it’s built around a core software platform that allows for an amazing level of flexibility and extensibility. Our software can be configured and adapted to closely fit what your IT organization wants to offer to meet your unique business needs. The user portal can be made to look different and behave differently for a variety of users, and it can enforce your organization’s policies and controls. The orchestration engine is adaptable to model a wide range of customer processes, and it’s extensible to communicate with other IT operations management software, OSS/BSS tools or infrastructure systems. Our solution can be extended beyond infrastructure services, to encompass a broad range of IT and business services at the platform and application layer (more on this later). The best news is: you can protect the investment you made so that the changes persist through future product updates. Let’s review some of these key capabilities:

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