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Our Ecosystem Begins Here @Ciscocloud

As Cisco prepares for Cisco Live Melbourne #clmel, I wanted to take this opportunity to highlight our @Ciscocloud Intercloud partnership with Telstra

The following Q&A session between executives of our partnered companies identifies the unique challenges of our current business environment and the rapidly changing needs of our customers. Interviewed by Stuart Robbins, the participants in our inaugural blog are Ken Owens, Cloud Services CTO from Cisco, and Tim Otten, GM Cloud Strategy and Platforms from Telstra.

Q: Cisco’s strategy is to create solutions built upon intelligent networks that solve our customers’ challenges. As a key technology partner, Telstra’s diverse customers present unique opportunities for a new generation of solutions for those customers – can you tell us about how our combined capabilities will help those customers be successful?

[Otton, Tim J] Networks are increasingly important to the delivery of services as we shift to “the Cloud,” and the concurrent profusion of data, workforce mobility, distributed application environments, and the hybrid infrastructures supporting those applications. Both Cisco and Telstra are committed to delivering highly secure, high-performance intelligent network capabilities.

These networks must be thoroughly responsive to an ever-changing set of user and application requirements – adaptive, flexible, and resilient. Both companies have a rich tradition of global insight gained from a relentless focus on customer requirements.

[Owens, Ken] Telstra is one of the industry’s most advanced solution providers, with a noteworthy history of successful technology transformations in telecommunications. From the earliest days of IT outsourcing, and managed hosting, and now as we shift to the Cloud, Telstra has provided true leadership to the industry during these transformations.

Like Cisco, they view their customers’ strategic objectives as Priority 1 and will do whatever is necessary to make their customers successful. For more than 25 years, Cisco and Telstra have guided the market through each new technological shift, with exceptional people leading the way.

Q: One aspect of the changing enterprise landscape is the “blurred” boundaries between large enterprises in business ecosystems. While the basic principles remain important (resilient architectures, reliable networks, responsive applications), what are some of the emerging challenges in this “ecosystem first” world?


[Otton, Tim J] The business landscape has changed. Cloud, Mobility, Social Media, advanced analytics, and open platforms are also changing the landscape for service creation and innovation. Increasingly, service creation will emerge both within and beyond (intra- and inter-organizational) boundaries to better serve a growing number of mobile users and a project-oriented workforce.

In order to support connectivity as well as enable full integration with many external partners and providers, businesses are now required to ‘open’ their IT environment. Increasingly, organizations are choosing to expose their own systems and proprietary data to third-parties, creating “greater value” by encouraging innovative use of a company’s intellectual assets. Software applications are distributed, both geographically and architecturally. All of these factors alter the connectivity/security paradigms of traditional enterprise IT.

[Owens, Ken] Tim is right on, and the exciting element of this model is that it’s driven by the customer! This is not a consumer fad or one-time remodel, this is the pace and speed by which business must adopting to the requirements of their customers and the rapidly changing marketplace. A successful business today requires a flexible set of services and capabilities to quickly adapt to this changing landscape. Together, Cisco and Telstra have a proven track record of enabling innovation to address the changing needs of the businesses we support.

Q: Providing exceptional products and services to Enterprise IT is familiar territory to both Cisco and Telstra, and this common ground is one reason why the Cisco-Telstra partnership makes great sense. As we move beyond IT, we’re also being asked to directly address the needs of business departments (marketing, product management, customer support). How do we adapt to meet those needs?


[Otton, Tim J] We need to develop a deeper understanding of the different “lines of business” within the Enterprise. We need to better understand what drives their business and the market environments in which they operate. In other words, we need to become an enabler of business solutions rather than simply selling more technology. Our focus needs to be increasingly on the business outcomes we can deliver to our customers.
We need equip our sales teams to communicate those solutions, to be able to engage customers in conversations that start with business issues and proceed from there to provision enabling technologies rather than starting (and often finishing with) technology alone.
At the same time, we need to better support IT departments so that these services can be integrated into the overall Enterprise network architecture- – -ensuring that these distributed services are secure, and optimized to perform reliably. Telstra and Cisco need to be seen as enabling partners, and not just suppliers.

[Owens, Ken] The needs of the business can be vast, complicated, and rapidly evolving to meet the needs of a changing marketplace. Cisco and Telstra are leaders in business transformation. The key to success in this ever-changing environment is to provide leadership with speed, agility, innovative leadership to assist each customer’s ability to adapt to the changes. Of course, Tim’s right, we also need to help IT executives quickly transition not only their technology, but also their processes and practices.

Q: The recipe seems simple enough = one part: exceptional technology with the associated expertise, and one part: an evolved partnership methodology (i.e., Partnership 2.0) that will serve as the foundation for what our companies can accomplish together.

One last question. Imagine what success looks like for the joint Cisco-Telstra effort in two years: what are the core behaviors/values that we’ll be most proud to have embraced, when we glance back? In other words, what are the central organizational principles that will serve to anchor this new style of ecosystem development?


[Otton, Tim J] My vision for the partnership is that we have developed an advanced understanding of the requirements of stakeholders – whether it be IT, LOB, or end-users – within the customers we served and are singularly focused on the business outcomes that we can jointly deliver for our customers.

[Owens, Ken] The demands of Enterprise 2.0 require an infrastructure that is both elastic and reliable, flexible yet secure. Organizations, too, will require those very characteristics. To accomplish this,“Governance 2.0” and “Partnership 2.0” become framework components of that new ecosystem in service of our customer’s transformed world. As Tim stated, the business outcomes and continuously delivering business value are the key principles.

Thank you Tim for you time to discuss the joint journey we are embarking on.

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New Analytics Solutions Drive Better Business Outcomes

In the Internet of Everything Era (IoE), analytics will occur throughout the network—from the edge, to the core, in the cloud, and everywhere in between. Cisco is uniquely positioned to deliver intelligent networking infrastructure that acts as a flexible data plumbing footprint and control plane, giving our customers the flexibility to send analytics to the data source for IoT use cases that require real-time insights—as well as data to the analytics for use cases that require historical data.

The most powerful analytics solutions apply the combined power of an innovative infrastructure and analytics software solutions that are uniquely designed to optimize one another. Cisco’s analytics-ready infrastructure has been proven to provide a high-performance, flexible, and efficient foundation for leading data management, data integration, and analytics software.

  • Cisco UCS Integrated Infrastructure for Big Data is an industry-leading platform widely adopted in the industry that helps organizations deploy and scale Big Data applications faster to drive the revenue side of the business while significantly reducing risk and TCO.
  • Cisco UCS Integrated Infrastructure for Big Data is the first and only platform to post certified results for the new TPC Express Benchmark HS (TPCx-HS), which was developed to provide enterprises with a vendor-neutral way to evaluate the performance and price-to-performance of big data implementations. Cisco UCS Integrated Infrastructure for Big Data demonstrated outstanding performance and scalability at 1TB, 3TB, and 10TB scale factors.
  • Cisco UCS Mini, ideal for processing analytics at the edge and branch offices, has earned industry recognition for innovation in furthering the development of the data center industry with the InfoTECH Spotlight Data Center Excellence Award for 2014. InfoTech Award
  • And, Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) and the Nexus 9000 also took home an InfoTECH excellence award adding additional proof of the strength of Cisco’s analytics-ready infrastructure. As analytics workloads increase in number, the network plays a critical role in ensuring that workloads are completed and insights are delivered on time, securely, and cost-effectively. Cisco ACI lets customers dynamically optimize cluster performance in the network, redeploy resources automatically for new workloads to improve utilization and lower TCO, and ensure isolation of users and data as resource deployments change.

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The Power of a Complete Data and Analytics Strategy

This week, I’ll join my Cisco colleagues and industry peers at Strata + Hadoop World in San Jose. Participating in conferences such as this is one of my favorite parts of my job, because it gives us an opportunity as an industry to share information, learn from each other, and tackle challenges collectively with creative Data and Analytics solutions.

Cisco created an Analytics 3.0 architecture that enables data and analytics solutions in the Data Center, the Cloud, and at the network edge, and has made substantial investments in each of these areas as a company. As we have the opportunity to meet and collaborate at Strata + Hadoop World, the Cisco team can tell you all about our substantial investments in these areas. More importantly, you will hear about how Cisco is delivering solutions in partnership with innovative companies who are leaders in big data, analytics and business intelligence.

Speaking of innovative partnerships, today, I am excited to share the announcement of a joint Data Warehouse Optimization solution with Informatica. The solution provides a single platform for offloading processing and storage from data warehouses to Hadoop and enables organizations the ability to integrate and analyze more data and types of data. If you are attending the conference this week, I encourage you to visit the Cisco booth (#831) to hear more about this exciting new solution.

By bringing the best software, hardware and services from Cisco together with innovative and market leading capabilities of our partners, Cisco is enabling powerful solutions to the very real data problems our customers are facing. Data Virtualization is a key part of Analytics 3.0, because it allows you to connect multiple different data sources, make all the data appear as if it’s all in one spot, and serve it up with a consistent shape and format to an application and eventually to an end user. Take data from traditional data warehouses, Hadoop clusters, lots of edge places and make it all look to an application like its sitting in the data center in one central data base. This also saves application developers from re-writing applications to take advantage of data that lives at the edge. They can simply write applications as they always have and we can pull that data together wherever it lives – all across the network, in the cloud, and between clouds. Powerful on its own…even more powerful together with our partners.

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Putting Cisco Entrepreneurs in Residence into High Gear: More Startup Innovations for the Internet of Everything

Cisco’s leadership in the emerging market for the Internet of Everything (IoE), Smart Cities and Big Data/analytics rests on our ability to harness the technologies and business models of our global partner ecosystem – especially those of early-stage startups who are building truly disruptive capabilities for the future. I previously shared my vision of Cisco Entrepreneurs in Residence (Cisco EIR) pioneering new ways for Cisco, already a successful innovator in the global IT space, to collaborate with innovative entrepreneurs in shaping the emerging technologies that will redefine our industry and change our lives. Since then, six startups joined our first incubation track last spring in Silicon Valley and began collaborating closely with Cisco business and engineering groups to co-create solutions for Cisco’s customers and partners. I shared various updates in the following months about the EIR program’s exciting milestones adding co-incubation partners across the US, taking the program to Europe and selecting the first startups to join our program there.

Today, I am pleased to share two more milestones marking the continued success of our open innovation strategy at Cisco, with Cisco EIR helping to lead the way.

Cisco EIR Demo Day 2014

On December 8th, 2014, we celebrated the successes of the startups in our inaugural cohort with our first Cisco EIR Demo Day (photos) a gathering of over 100 attendees, including Cisco business and technology leaders, VCs, partners and others from the Silicon Valley startup community.

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Beyond the Internet of Things (IoT): A Commentary

Shawn McCarthy, Research Director at IDC Government recently penned an insightful blog on IoT. Titled “Beyond the Internet of Things: How Convergence Can Help Governments Support Their Rising Tide of New Devices,” the blog notes with more devices producing more data, government agencies have been working to add more storage, security, network bandwidth, and systems management tools. David Bray, the innovative, young Chief Information Officer at the Federal Communications Commission, has noted this exponential change. In a recent interview, Bray estimates that from the current 7 billion networked devices we will grow to upwards of 50 billion networked devices by 2020. Deloitte suggests that by 2020, the IoT is powered by a trillion sensors. And Cisco Systems’ research indicates the economic impact in 2020 is more than $14 trillion. In order to take advantage of their mountain of new data, and the associated range of new applications, agencies will have to merge parts of their existing infrastructure. That converged infrastructure can take two forms – merging data centers themselves or consolidating components within a single optimized computing package. Converging IT infrastructure is the first step in the roadmap to capitalizing on the benefits of the Internet of Everything (I0E). Bray goes even further, arguing that we will need to shift from searching for data to having relevant data find us, to include developing machines that learn our preferences for data as well as when to deliver that data in a form most useful to our work. McCarthy also reviews the disruptive, but hopefully positive, effects of IoT on citizen services, government reaction times, and employees. Read More »

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