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Observations from London SDN Conference… “Wait, it’s coming…” … But Can You Afford To?

Last week I spent some time at the “Software Defined Networking 2014” conference in London.  It’s a relatively small conference I would say however given the growing interest in SDN and rapid progress of the technology it’s always good to hear alternative viewpoints and experiences.  And I certainly found the previous conference here in December 2013 interesting – in particular one vendor in my view using SDN as the “hammer to crack a nut“.

Cisco wasn’t present at this conference last week, so what are others saying about SDN?  Here is a quick summary of my takeaways (in some cases questions raised in my mind), which I will expand on below.  And let me be controversial in my summary!

(1) Negligible discussion on live SDN deployments.

(2) NFV – at least for service providers – is potentially a quicker win than SDN

(3) SDN “Washing” is alive and well :-)

(4) Is OpenFlow more of an academic pursuit?

(5) Open Daylight excitement

(6) Negligible Discussion on “Making It Happen”

As I say, to some my statements may be controversial – let me explain!

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Enhance Your Security Investment with Security Optimization Service

Many organizations have the same challenges when it comes to security: blurring boundaries, more and more organized cybercrimes, difficulty in finding and retaining technical talent, and keeping up-to-date with the latest security threats and tools.

In my inaugural blog, I’d like to tell you about one useful offering: the Security Optimization Service (SOS) from Cisco Services. The service can help you keep current with what is happening in the industry and in your security fabric on an ongoing basis.

Your corporate security infrastructure fabric should be treated as a dynamic living and breathing ecosystem of policy, framework, hardware, software, applications, people, and processes, with errors, omissions, and commissions all inclusive.

Ongoing care, maintenance, optimization, change support, and user education is critical to get more out of your investments and future planning. This is the philosophy behind Cisco SOS.

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Governing the New Wild West….The World of Many Clouds

ID-10056513In many ways, the race to the cloud resembles the Wild West of the 1800s. The urgency with which business groups are rushing to adopt cloud services, often without IT involvement, resembles the race out to the western US of those looking for gold. With our customer engagements, we have found that there are 5-10 times more cloud applications being used than IT is aware of.

With this rapid rise in shadow IT, organizations are seeing their costs skyrocket as they lose visibility of how much they are spending on cloud services. For example, we worked with a business that discovered it was using well over 600 vendors (and wasn’t aware of 90 percent of them) and spending millions. Shadow IT has been forecasted by CEB to be as high as 40 percent above the IT budget.

The influx of investment in new cloud ventures is also leading to a land grab by cloud service providers, some which are on shaky ground. According to Gartner, only one in four cloud vendors will exist in 2015 due to acquisition or being forced out of business. This leads to risk for organizations that need to ensure continuity of their business applications. Finally, just as the Wild West was filled with dangerous towns and outlaws, cloud services carry business risks if organizations don’t have strong cloud risk and compliance strategies.

Despite this, organizations are keen to brave this new frontier to capitalize on the benefits of cloud. Cloud services help organizations become more agile, reduce costs, and can simplify IT infrastructure. However, to reap these benefits IT teams need a different way of governing the new territory of cloud.

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Data Virtualization: Live at Cisco Live! San Francisco

It has been a great year for Data Virtualization at Cisco Live!   Milan, Melbourne, and Toronto were fantastic opportunities to introduce Data Virtualization to Cisco customer and partner audiences.  And we have saved the best for last with multiple activities at Cisco Live! San Francisco.

We kick things off on Monday May 18 with a by-invitation program for Cisco Data Virtualization customers and prospects.  We start the day at 3:00 with a special pass to John Chambers’ keynote address.  This is followed by a reception, data virtualization demo and tour in the World of Solutions hall.  And we close the evening with a dinner at one of San Francisco’s finest restaurants. Participants in this program return on Wednesday night for a special performance by Lenny Kravitz.   If you would like to join us, please contact Paul Torrento at ptorrent@cisco.com.

For those of you attending the full event, Data Virtualization is also featured in two sessions both entitled, Driving Business Outcomes for Big Data Environment.  I will lead a quick summary session on Thursday at 11:15am, with Jim Green providing a deeper-dive technical session from 11:30-12:30 that day.   In these sessions we will address one of the major issues organizations are facing as a consequence of exponential data growth – that is the huge expenses required to upgrade capacity in their enterprise data warehouses. To avoid this spend, customers are looking for lower cost alternatives such as offloading infrequently used data to Hadoop.  In these sessions you will find out about Cisco’s complete solution with Unified Computing System hardware and Data Virtualization software and Services methodology.

Please also stop by the Data Virtualization booth in the Cisco Services pavilion where we can chat about your business outcome objectives and how data virtualization can help.

And if you can’t make it to Cisco Live! San Francisco, then no worries.  Just check out the recording of my colleague Peter Tran’s session, Utilizing Data Virtualization to Create More Business Agility and Better Decision-Making, from Cisco Live! Milan.  It’s a great crash course intro to data virtualization.

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Achieving Data Center Agility in the World of Many Clouds

Here’s an amazing fact I heard the other day: global network traffic has grown 16-fold since 2005 – 16-fold!  Largely due to the booming popularity of on-demand video, and the explosion of mobile computing including smart phones, tablets, and the Internet of Things, this juggernaut is not going to slow down anytime soon.  Yet, no data center leader I know of has received anywhere near 16 times the budget or staffing levels to keep pace.

I meet frequently with IT executives. What they need the most to keep pace often comes down to one thing: agility.  Agility allows them to meet the organization’s needs on demand.  To scale, and to scale fast.  And to create an IT environment designed to quickly adapt to new technology trends, increase efficiency, fuel innovation, unlock intelligence, and minimize risk.

At this year’s Cisco Partner Summit we announced Cisco Global Intercloud, and at Interop Las Vegas we’re adding new Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) possibilities, all to help you as an IT leader become more agile.  As you move away from legacy systems, you need a strategy and a roadmap to transform your data center.  You need to migrate toward a more resilient infrastructure centered on the network, and evolve it along with the needs of your applications.

Cost pressures, technology changes, and game-changers like cloud computing are forcing IT departments to learn how to deliver IT services differently.  With Cisco ACI, we can help you increase the visibility, programmability, and automation of your physical and virtual networks from a centralized point of management, while helping to improve your financial and productivity metrics.

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And, Cisco’s unique unified architecture for the data center redefines the economics of your IT operations, so you can spend more of your resources to deliver value to your business.  With Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS), we can dramatically simplify your IT operations to help increase business agility, and reduce CapEx and OpEx.
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