CiscoLive 2013 concluded last week in Orlando. Some of the sessions are available for viewing at www.ciscolive365.com. One of the keynote addresses featured an AVA 500 robot from irobot (Registration required - Hour and 48 mins into the video). The robot brought a flood of memories from my days as a grad student. I was a student participant in a consortium of companies striving for manufacturing excellence. There was a major push in the 90’s to improve US Manufacturing and the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award was instituted to spur progress. It is now awarded to companies for performance excellence and the 2010 the winner was the parent company of two Texas restaurant chains – Rudys and Mighty fine burgers.
So what has this got to do with Cisco UCS you ask? Large scale data centers are ushering in the industrialization of IT services with standardization and stringent service level agreements. Cisco UCS is the infrastructure platform for delivery of IT Services and has the main ingredients to power service excellence.
Service excellence come about with reduction in variation in the process. Good service principles and practices bring about consistency, reliability and predictability. The slide deck which was a result of work with Forrestor analyst Glenn O’donnell a couple of years ago, gives more details on service orchestration, and the business case to invest in it.
The presentation addresses how orchestration goes beyond automation. The two key points were:
Automation is restricted to a single domain or systems whereas Orchestration encompasses multiple domains.
Orchestration takes into account real time feedback of the system where as automation does not do so.
To give a more concrete example, provisioning of a Cisco UCS server for a service with a script or software program, would be automation. Adding server capacity for the service when 90% of compute capacity is in use, would be orchestration.
Automation of tasks is however the foundation for service orchestration and Cisco UCS excels at it. The Cisco UCS XML API enables automation regardless of user preferences. Since I will be attending Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference in Houston, TX next week, I expect to meet many Microsoft Powershell users who can now exploit Cisco UCS C-Series PowerTool to manage standalone UCS (needs CIMC v1.5) rack servers. With Cisco UCS PowerTool, users can enjoy the benefits of automation and hence service orchestration in their data centers. If you are attending the conference come by and check out all the Cisco solutions including the Cisco UCS Manager and Cisco UCS PowerTool.
Businesses and organizations are increasingly turning to private cloud delivery models to address their most pressing business and technology challenges. Next week, at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference 2013 (WPC) in Houston, channel partners will be able to speak with Cisco executives and consult with Cisco experts, to learn how Cisco and Microsoft have teamed to provide integrated solutions for Microsoft Private Cloud. These validated solutions create opportunities for partners to: increase revenue; accelerate their customer’s journey to private cloud; and enable repeatable deployments.
Virtacore, a leading cloud services provider, aims to help clients shift to the cloud. But the company was aware that in order to help others, it first needed to help itself—which meant updating its own infrastructure to provide the best IT-as-a-Service (ITaaS) to customers.
By leveraging innovative technology from Cisco, like the Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS), based on Intel® Xeon® processors, Cisco Nexus Switches, and Cisco Catalyst Switches, Virtacore is now able to better leverage its internal IT to perform faster, more reliably, and on a larger scale. And, in turn, the company gained the ability to provide more cost effective, higher-standard services externally.
Reducing deployment from six weeks to just a few hours, providing a single-pane-of-glass management, and ensuring improved performance are a few of the benefits that have confirmed the worth of implementing new technology and rebuilding the IT environment.
Read the full article and learn just what Virtacore did to unleash their IT potential – and how they can continue to do so in the future.
Reduce the barriers to mobile productivity while making sure the corporate network is secure. Impossible? Seems like it. But that’s what the business continues to demand.
SAP Afaria support for Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE) is a key component of policies based on conditionality that attempts to negotiate the gap between employees who want to use their own mobile devices and good security practice. Employees want to and should control their personal devices. But they also want to use those devices for email and to access services on the corporate network. So while it is true that the employee can install any software on their device, they should know that only compliant devices can get email and access to the corporate Wi-Fi network. In some circles, this is known as “carrot” (do not install apps that put corporate information at risk) and “stick” (if you do, email is blocked on that device and no access to the Wi-Fi). The value to IT is that the enterprise network has an additional level of security -- only mobile devices that are under management and deemed compliant are granted access, period.
In addition, now that you have ISE and SAP Afaria working together, you can answer questions like what percent of Afaria managed devices connect to the Wi-Fi network on an average day? And how does that vary between Boston, Brussels and Bangalore?
IT Managers and Administrators are looking for a single, holistic view into the compliance status of network identity across all regions with detailed visibility into all kinds of devices management information. They are looking for immediate insights into non-compliance devices trying to connect to network with drill down capabilities for root cause analysis of each kind of non-compliance devices.
SAP HANA running on Cisco UCS solves this by giving enterprises the ability to capture high volumes of data from all required external/internal sources – Afaria, ISE, HR systems, Microsoft System Center, etc. HANA brings together the ecosystem of technologies that provide different business controls, including app management, mobile identity and access management and mobile analytics. Customers can then generate real time analysis of Compliance trend/Posture Compliance across regions and types of devices with rich reporting & dashboard capabilities with great user experience.