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How Many Servers Do You Have …. Comatose and Sitting Idle?! (Part 1)

In my role in Cisco Services, I’m more interested in the challenges of technology adoption and deployment than I am in speeds and feeds, statistics and technology fads.  I actively seek out case studies where technology goes wrong – admittedly most of these examples turn out to be issues around introducing and managing the technology, rather than the technology itself.  So I have to admit, I was fascinated by a recent  eWeek article (full details below) which discussed the huge proportion – the report uncovers evidence of up to 30%!! – of (physical) servers in enterprise data centers that are typically running doing nothing!!  Yes – up to 30% – even in these days of virtualization!

 

How Many Idle and Comatose Servers Do You Have?!

How Many Idle and Comatose Servers Do You Have?!

Yes, even in your data center, it’s probably a safe bet to say that you have some servers that are not doing that much information processing today!  In this part 1 of my blog, I’ll discuss the costs – obvious and hidden – of the idle server challenge.  And next week I’ll discuss why this happens and what you could and indeed should do about it!

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Criteria for SDN/NFV Vendor Selection – Heads Up on Cisco Live

Cisco Live US 2015 is just around the corner, and will start in San Diego on June 7th, running through Thursday 11th June.  I’m surprised and honoured to be one of the folks wearing a “Cisco Live Speaker” shirt, and I’m looking forward to sharing some of what I’ve been working on over the past year or two.

I’ll be basing a lot of my presentation off of as yet unpublished, independent market research, into the challenges of SDN and NFV adoption, some of which are illustrated in the diagram below.  The final copy of this brand new market research report landed on my desk just last weekend – May 23rd 2015.  Hot off the press, it was funded by Cisco but conducted completely independently by a leading market research company.  The intent of this report is to guide our SDN and NFV professional services strategy. Some of the insights, however, are too useful not to share with you!  Covering a global audience, with separate questionnaires for service provider and enterprise businesses, we had set out to increase our understanding of the latest challenges of adoption of SDN and NFV as appopriate in (enterprise) businesses, including public sector, and service provider markets.

Some of the Topics in my Cisco Live Presentation

Questions I Will Discuss In My Cisco Live Presentation

 

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Identifying and Solving the Cloud Sprawl Problem

An interesting read for me one day last week was the Wall Street Journal reporting on the exploding yet ungoverned use of cloud services by employees in just about every organization.  Referring to Rachael King writing for CIO Journal, author Steve Rosenbush outlines the potential for security problems and the surprising reaction of companies who start to understand how many cloud services employees are really using.

The facts of unregulated cloud usage are surprising, no debate.  A few months back I was talking to an industry analyst and I asked him how many cloud providers enterprise organizations knew they had, and how many were actually being used by employees.  He replied “probably 5 or 6” are known, and “maybe 10 or so are actually in use in total”.  “So maybe double?” I replied to confirm my understanding.   He nearly fell off his chair when I told him what we are finding in Cisco Services engagement, that it’s more like a factor of 10-15 than a factor of 1-2!  (as the following diagram shows)

Cloud Usage

There are two aspects to this problem I’d like to discuss in this blog, identifying the cloud usage and then both consolidating and tidying it up, with the aim of increasing security and saving you money in  the process.  I’ll also related this to two key services we offer in this arena, Cisco Cloud Consumption Services and Cisco Cloud On-boarding Services.

 

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Your Design Engineers Need Support and ‘Expertise on Tap’ Too!

If you are involved in designing, supporting or managing a data center, you will undoubtedly rely on technical support services from one or more vendors.  Running your data center, there is always the risk of a hardware failure or being impacted by a software defect.  While relatively rare, hardware does occasionally fail unfortunately.  However you undoubtedly have technical support in place to deal with such problems.  You may have invested in a few extra switches as backup, you may also have failover mechanisms in place.  Almost certainly you will have a support contract in place with your Cisco partner or with Cisco, so you have break/fix expertise on tap for when something goes wrong.   This is critical support for your business, no debate from me.

Engineer Under Stress!

Engineer Under Stress!

Now, arguably the most important resource you have in your data center is not so much individual switches, routers or servers.  It’s your engineers, those who design and support your data center.  If they have a problem, where and how do they get help?  Who helps them when they are stretched?  When business pressures are telling?  Of course, their colleagues and managers can and will help.  Where, however, can they tap into additional sources of expertise so that they can become even more productive for you?  This is where Cisco Optimization Services come in – including our award-winning Cisco Network Optimization Service (or “NOS” for short), Collaboration Optimization Service, and the one I’m involved with, Cisco Data Center Optimization Services.

 

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Part 3 – SDN Questions to Ask at the Gartner Data Center Conference

My final observation from my days at the London Gartner Data Center Conference is related to SDN and ease of network management – or otherwise.  Hopefully this discussion will give you some ideas for good questions to ask at the Las Vegas conference, which is running as I write this.

Cisco UCS on show at the Gartner Data Center Conference

Cisco UCS on show at the Gartner Data Center Conference

Before I start, if you are at the conference in Las Vegas, please do take time out to visit the Cisco stand #305 to find out more onCisco solutions including Unified Computing and ACI.  Also take some time to say hello to our with new, exciting team members from our Metacloud acquisition – it’s fantastic to have such OpenStack and DevOps expertise in particular part of the Cisco team.

To catch up on my earlier questions, see my part 1 and part 2 blogs – questions you can ask at any SDN conference or of any vendor, since this blog series is not just about the Gartner conference. Now on to more SDN questions to ask ….

 

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