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Part 1: 10 Things Vmware Server Admins Should Know About Self-Service Catalogs and Lifecycle Management

This part 1 of the series “10 Things Vmware Server Admins Should Know About Self-Service Catalogs and Lifecycle Management” that I’ll be publishing over the next few weeks--I hope! (The boy is nothing if not ambitious).

1. The service catalog is a tool for driving users to standard configurations.

To get the operational efficiencies we hope to achieve from virtualization and / or cloud computing, we need to establish standard configurations. This is tough, for a couple of reasons.

First, the challenge is the gap between the language of the customer, and the detail needed by the operations group typically generates a lot of back and forth during the “server engineering” process.  Instead of having “pre-packaged” configurations, every thing is bespoke.

Instead of having useful abstraction layers and levels, the customer has to invent their own little bit of the data center. This made sense when the new app meant a whole new hardware stack to which the app would be fused to and the concrete poured on it. It doesn’t make sense now.

Second,  there’s resistance from customers to adopt standard VM builds.  Sometimes the reasons are valid, other times less so. The issue arises because the technical configurations have not been abstracted to a level the user can understand what they get and what’s available for configuration.  Nor can they compare one template to another in ways that are meaningful to them.

The service catalog is the tool to help deal with these two obstacles.  The service catalog is a useful tool to communicate, in the language of the customer, the different options available from IT for hosting environments.

A service catalog will support multiple views (customer, technical, financial, etc) so that when the customer selects “small Linux” for testing, this generates both a bill of materials and standard configuration options.  Once that base is selected, self-service configuration wizards provide both guidance and gutter-rails so the customer is both helped to the right thing and prevented from making errors.

From this customer configuration, the environment build sheet is generated which will drive provisioning and configuration activities or to execute any policy automation in place.

And the catalog allows the VM admins to figure out what their “market” is buying; which is very useful for capacity planning.

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The not so hidden war: Private versus Public Cloud…

The cloud battle lines have been drawn out over the past 2-3 years.  Is your company getting your CRM from the public cloud?  Most definitely!  Does your IT shop use one site Service Desk tools or are they using a public cloud provider?  Maybe.  Did you click the button and put your music in the cloud.  Probably.

Many 10’s of billions of enterprise CAPEX and OPEX dollars are spent on enterprise compute and the tools to manage and automate that.  IT shops have a very difficult question:  Do I invest in building my own private cloud, or do I leverage the public cloud?   Many say that a well run private cloud can be cheaper, more secure, and more in tune with internal requirements.   Private and Public clouds are vying for your spend and mind share.  Who will this battle?  How much of a war is this?

Let’s understand that management and automation software has become just as important as your hardware selection as the key ingredient in your compute strategy.  This is a war over close to 100B dollars of enterprise and service provide spend.

There is indeed a 3rd player in this war:  a company and a service offer that is both pragmatic and in a leadership position.   I personally spent close to 6 years in the managed services business earlier in my career and every lesson I learned in managing on-premise, hosted, and private infrastructure for clients all pointed to the most pragmatic approach for how to address client needs:   Customer Choice.

News Flash:  CSC has selected and is deploying Cisco’s Intelligent Automation for Cloud as the cloud automation engine behind their on-premise private and public cloud offering running on VCE vBlock technology.  This is a significant market statement about where infrastructure as a service is going and how to get there.  Leveraging the lessons from Cisco IT usage of Intelligent Automation for Cloud (self service, catalog and orchestration) for private cloud management and automation and all the knowledge based best practices that our business unit has harvested over the past 10+ years of experience in automation in public and private clouds, CSC and Cisco and have joined forces in the war.  Many other service providers are as well.

If you would like the benefit of a private cloud, but want someone else to operate it, give CSC a call.  It will be an intelligent choice for Intelligent Automation from Cisco.

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Fresh Video from the Interop Show Floor in VEGAS!

May 9, 2012 at 5:20 am PST

Chattin with Prashanth at Interop Vegas

Having a lot of fun this year at Interop 2012. We are shooting and editing in a much tighter workflow so that we can publish these things same day and thank gosh!  The stories are numerous and oh so timely.   Follow along as I attempt to recap our first full day on the show floor.

Meet PAM

Jim Frey recently wrote a white paper called Closing the Loop for Effective Network Operations Management and he stopped by to chat about some of the key points made.

As he describes it: Cisco has developed and introduced Prime Assurance Manager with one essential goal in mind – to provide end-to-end operational monitoring visibility, spanning data center to and through the branch, as a means for facilitating efficient operations and proactively protecting network-delivered applications and network availability, network performance, application performance, and end user experience data across both wired and wireless environments, coupled with troubleshooting and reporting features.

Jim is going to be going even deeper with an hour long seminar on May 15.

My First Cloud

Yair Dolev was our guest for the topic of ‘Intelligent Automation for the Cloud’ now in a cool starter Edition!

Read More »

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Why the new Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud Starter Edition is good news for Partners

May 2, 2012 at 11:20 am PST

Please be aware that this product is no longer sold.

 

Cloud_Components

Please be aware that this product is no longer sold.
The recent release of the new Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud Starter Edition is good news for Cisco’s Partners.

 

Why?

Customers will have another way to purchase and implement a Cisco cloud solution. Most customers already know that they can buy this solution from Cisco and have Cisco Advanced Services perform the installation, configuration and customization — now qualified Partners will be able to both sell and stand up cloud solutions as well. Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud is a sophisticated yet easy-to-use cloud solution. Customers buy a software license, but typically need a Professional Services engagement to stand up the cloud.

 

Partner Enablement:

The Cisco IAC Partner Enablement program is what makes this possible for a Partner to perform. Qualified Partners will be able to get pre-sales and post-sales training. By pre-sales training, I mean gaining competencies around how to identify and qualify a deal, how to present the value proposition around Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud, how to strategically sell it and then an understanding about how it’s deployed.

Post-sales training is a combination of learning foundational issues around cloud dynamics, and seven days of hands-on labs with the technology — becoming competent in the installation, configuration, enhancement, and customization of a Cisco IAC environment.CIAC_3.0-Training_Strategy

Qualification:

In order to insure quality and high customer satisfaction as Cisco IAC Starter Edition is rolled out, two dozen Authorized Technology Partners (ATP) Partners have been selected worldwide who have already built a cloud practice in their Professional Services organization. They’ve made investments and commitments to joint sales planning sessions, training classes and mentoring engagements. They have cloud business design and implementation service competencies matched by technical implementation qualifications that enable them to do multi-system integration with advanced enterprise software systems using standard web services and custom APIs. They are familiar with Cisco UCS and VMware certified and have done advanced data storage integrations. These consultants, architects and implementation engineers will receive the conceptual as well as hands-on experience with standing up a Cisco IAC solution.

 

A Phased Approach:

Starting later this month and next month, the first phase of training will begin for these ATP Partners with pre-sales and post-sales service delivery training classes. As these ATP Partners complete their training, a second phase of Partners, who are motivated to obtain the training, will be able to sign up for this enablement.

Where to learn more:

  • Visit the Cisco IAC Partner Community. Cisco Partners are participating in the online community around Cisco IAC. With your Cisco Partner credentials, drop by cisco.com/go/iacloudpartner and join in the discussion, read the Q&A, and find other information designed specifically for Partners. The website will grow and develop based on your input.
  • See it live. Cisco is doing live demos at InterOp in Las Vegas the week of May 6, at EMC World in Las Vegas the week of May 21, and Cisco Live in San Diego the week of June 11. Stop by the Cisco booth and say hello.
  • See a demo of Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud Starter Edition online. Visit the website cisco.com/go/starteredition and click on the Video Demonstration. You can also find Data Sheets and Presentations there and learn more about the Cisco Cloud Portal and Cisco Process Orchestrator technologies that make up Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud.
  •  Join the live Cisco webcast here on May 15, 2012 at 8 am Pacific Time to ask questions about Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud Starter Edition.

 

You’re connected to the CloudTone.

Bill Petro

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Build a Profitable Cloud Practice with Cisco’s New Cloud Collateral, Tools, Demand Generation Assets—and Live Webcast

April 30, 2012 at 8:32 am PST

Know anyone interested in cloud solutions? Try enterprises, service providers, small businesses, and governments. Maybe a better question is: Who isn’t looking to the cloud to solve their most pressing business challenges?

But can your customers leverage cloud today? The answer is absolutely yes. Cisco CloudVerse delivers on the promise of cloud. With your help, it creates the agility and efficiency your customers long for—all with the opportunity to increase profitability, reduce expenses, and implement innovative new business models.

How you ask? It’s easy. CloudVerse is a powerful set of capabilities that uniquely enable the world of many clouds, bringing together the intelligence of the network, the power of the data center, and the flexibility of cloud applications. This adds up to a compelling and assured cloud experience, with applications and services securely delivered from the world of many clouds—anywhere, at any time, on any device.

Got your attention? Good. Read more to learn about our latest partner resources designed to help you grow your cloud practice.  Read More »

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