Last week I was in London for the Gartner Data Center Conference. As always there was a wide range of interesting topics being discussed, all very useful. Working in Cisco Data Center Services, I am interested in many data center topics, however this year I was interested to hear perspectives on SDN, how the market is evolving, and how the attendees – including many senior IT practitioners – are considering SDN adoption.
London’s Big Ben at Night
From a Cisco perspective, we were showcasing the recently launched Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI), which generated a lot of interest. There is growing awareness among our customers that ACI could do for networks and applications what the Cisco UCS has done for the server market (with UCS server profiles in the latter proving a good analogy to help customers understand the potential of ACI).
So what were some of my key takeaways from the SDN discussion I heard here? And what were the questions that in my view are still not being discussed sufficiently across the industry?
By now, given all the launch and blogging activity activity over the past week or so, I am sure your understanding of and interest in Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) will have grown. Many of you will be asking “how do I get started as quickly as possible?”, and “how can I free up some time and resources to investigate?” You understand the “what” – now, as I blogged recently on SDN, it’s time to understand more about the “why” and take action on the “how”. How then do you get off that start line as quickly as possible?
Get Set To Go With ACI
As with many things in life, it helps if you get help from someone who has “been there” and “done that”. And that’s where Cisco Services comes in, as Scott Clark, the VP for our Data Center Services team, introduced last week. So let’s talk about why Cisco Services should be your partner in this application centric world, and what services can help you.
The road in my picture below – the A82 that winds through Glencoe in Scotland – was used in the James Bond “Skyfall” movie in one of the amazing car chase scenes. This road winds through sparsely inhabited territory, has lots of ups, downs, bumps and turns and if you’re not careful it can be a dangerous road. I’ll draw the analogy here with the challenges of introducing new technologies: there can be ups, downs, bumps and turns into the unknown, if you are not careful. And in my case here, I’ll use this analogy to illustrate the challenges of adopting OpenStack: without the right kind of approach, without a carefully managed exploratory “pilot” investigation and subsequent roadmap planning, you may find that adopting OpenStack – or any other open source software solution, for that matter – has its share of challenges, ups, downs, bumps and turns into the unknown.
It’s hard to believe but it’s ten months since I first blogged on Cisco Domain TenSM, which is Cisco Service’s framework to guide you on your path to data center and cloud transformation. I’ve now covered all ten domains of this concise and powerful model. I’ll now collect all articles – including my most Cisco Domain Ten article around the breadth of SDN adoption challenges – into this one article as a useful summary. So forgive the brevity and please do dive into the links/URLs for more information if indeed you missed these articles first time. And if you’ve read every article and watched our VoDs, please do let me know what you thought of the series – oh, and thanks!
Going back, now, I started in December 2012, with our launch of Cisco Domain Ten, where I set the focus for my series of articles as cloud transformation. Let me summarize each article with (and for those that know me you’ll know this is a struggle ) just one sentence with the key message from each blog/domain.
Like most industries, security has gone through many different evolutions. Over the past 20 years, the industry has been largely product focused, with customers deploying point products across the network in an effort to “cover” all security gaps. Over time and with the arrival of mobile, social and cloud, customers now recognize that having all the security products in the world is not going to close all the gaps. Today’s customers are looking for fully integrated solutions – a combination of services, products and people.
This is where Cisco delivers. We are elevating our security solutions efforts with the creation of a Services Security Practice, led by security industry veteran Bryan Palma, who comes to Cisco with an extensive background in both services and security. Reporting to Edzard Overbeek, Senior Vice President of Cisco Services, Bryan’s team will build three new service categories for our customers: Consultation; Product Implementation and Support; and Managed Services for enterprises and governments.
Cisco’s integrated security strategy is to defend, discover and remediate the most critical threats. With world-class products, research teams, global intelligence, advanced threat protection – and now services – our customers will benefit from continuous security in more places across the infrastructure.