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How Cisco IT Solved Its Internal Cloud Dilemma

Is your organization looking to build a cloud?

You’ll want to learn how Cisco’s John Manville leveraged an internal, private, infrastructure-as-a-service cloud to drive business value.

View John Manville's Cloud Insights Video Podcast

View John Manville’s Cloud Insights Video Podcast

John Manville is responsible for Cisco’s Global IT infrastructure  – which includes the data centers,  networks, platforms and more. Overall, John’s role is to implement Fast IT, which is really about being adaptable and responsive to business needs.

What technology helps drive this responsiveness and adaptability? “There are many solutions that can help, but if I had to sum it up in one word, that word is  cloud” replied John .

Cisco uses internal cloud technology for several important business imperatives. Through the cloud, we are  balancing internal IT workloads and providing our engineering team the tools needed for OS development. We are also using the internal cloud for external capabilities. For example, Cisco Smart Services uses our internal cloud to offer services to external customers.

Recently, John had the chance to participate in a new Cloud Insights Video Podcast to discuss the challenges his team faced prior to cloud implementation. Like most IT teams, they were challenged by speed of delivery of business capabilities, driving Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)  down and completing maintenance on the underlying infrastructure with minimal impact on the business users or applications they need on a daily basis.

To offset these challenges, his team  developed and deployed CITEIS (Cisco IT Elastic Infrastructure Services), an internal, private, infrastructure-as-a-service cloud. CITEIS started off as a way to provision virtual machines, but the team quickly realized that it  wasn’t enough so they  added on more middleware and database capabilities . Now, it’s a rich service that John’s team  offers to their clients.

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Looking for an orchestration taxonomy

In recent years, there have been a number of discussions around the subject of orchestration as a key enabler for different Cloud technologies.

The ETSI NFV Management and Network Orchestration (MANO) working group is defining the main interfaces for resource orchestration, a fundamental layer in management.

It is important to define standard interfaces, but equally important is to understand the main capabilities for an orchestration (or choreography) solution. We can gain some more insight by revisiting previous work, particularly in the domain of Grid computing.

Personally, I found the work done by Ian Foster and Steven Tuecke around IT as a Service (back in 2005, 9 years ago!), still extremely relevant. It is fascinating to see how applicable this work continues to be, apart perhaps from the replacement of general SOA services by REST services in particular. We should pay special attention to their definition of Grid Infrastructure: “enable the horizontal integration across diverse physical resources”. I see their work applicable beyond the physical layer, to logical resources and their composition into services. Quoting the paper, the Grid Infrastructure’s capabilities should be:

  • Resource modeling: describes available resources, their capabilities, and the relationships between them to facilitate discovery, provisioning, and quality of service management.
  • Monitoring and notification: provides visibility into the state of resources to enable discovery and maintain quality of service.
  • Allocation: Assures quality of service across an entire set of resources for the lifetime of their use by an application.
  • Accounting and auditing: tracks the usage of shared resources and provides mechanisms for transferring costs among user communities and for charging for resource use by applications and users
  • Provisioning, life-cycle management and decommissioning: enables an allocated resource to be configured automatically for application use, manages the resource for the duration of the task at hand and restores the resource to its original state for future use. Read More »

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Join Us May 14: Cisco Intercloud Workload Migration Webcast

The use of hybrid cloud or Intercloud technology is growing increasingly popular. A recent study supports that IT managers want a mix of public and private cloud in their enterprises. In fact, 60% of the 400 enterprises surveyed see the hybrid cloud model as the way to go.

And for good reason: The same secure, open and flexible solutions that can be found within your private data center can be implemented with a hybrid cloud set-up, providing the best of both worlds: private cloud control and flexible public clouds. And when the need arises to expand your data center, creating an Intercloud to extend your own data center and cloud capacity when you need it is an excellent option for any business of any size.

Next week, we invite you to join our informative cloud webcast: Cisco Solutions for Open and Secure Intercloud Workload Migration. You’ll gain insight as to how your organization will benefit from an Intercloud approach. The conversation will be focused on how your business can:

  • Extend your company’s capabilities, store more data and increase resources as you need them. Data centers cost to both build and operate, and InterCloud makes the public cloud an extension of your cloud.
  • Maintain your sense of security by applying your same quality of service restrictions and policies to your hybrid cloud. You may be “renting” the capacity, but for all intended purposes, you own it.
  • Keep your current cloud provider of choice and even link to more than one if you choose. The same traits are replicated in each instance of your data center.

 

When Cisco’s Global Intercloud was introduced, it completely changed the direction of how we utilized the hybrid cloud. It also showed us the need that CIOs across the globe had for a customizable, secure and high-performance data center expansion solution. And now is your chance to see why we’ve answered with Intercloud.

Registration is open, mark your calendar and join us for this webcast (available on demand):

Cisco Solutions for Open and Secure Intercloud Workload Migration.  Join our webcast to learn how the Cisco InterCloud solution helps ensure the same network security, quality of service (QoS), and access control policies previously enforced in the data center are implemented in the public cloud.  Wednesday, May 14, 9:00 a.m. Pacific Time / 12:00 pm Eastern Time

Cisco Solutions for Open and Secure Intercloud Workload Migration. Join our webcast to learn how the Cisco InterCloud solution helps ensure the same network security, quality of service (QoS), and access control policies previously enforced in the data center are implemented in the public cloud.   Available on demand.

Cisco Solutions for Open and Secure Intercloud Workload Migration

Wednesday, May 14

9:00 a.m. Pacific Time / 12:00 pm Eastern Time

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Business Continuity and Workload Mobility for Private Cloud (CVD-Part2)

In my previous blog, we provided an overview of the critical use cases and innovations we included in our new Business Continuity and Workload Mobility Solution for Private Cloud.  This blog highlights the critical trends and challenges driving new multi-site Cloud designs.

Two important trends are driving CTO’s and CIO’s to deploy new multi-site Cloud solutions that provide better Business Continuity, Workload Mobility, and Disaster Recovery.

  1. More workloads are moving to the Private and Public Cloud versus the traditional data center
  2. Cloud Data Centers have a higher density of workloads per server than traditional data centers due to increased virtualization.

Cisco Global Cloud Index: Forecast and Methodology, 2012–2017

Blog 2 - Trends

This ever increasing volume of Cloud hosted workloads is placing serious pressure on operations teams to manage larger scale data centers, and insure that they keep these workloads up and running, avoiding costly downtime or a nightmare service outage.  Many of the CTO’s and CIO’s we’ve worked with are re-assessing their Multi-site strategy to insure they can answer some tough questions:

  • What are the common weak points of multi-site Cloud designs that could prevent us from achieving our Business Continuity goals for our critical apps?  Can we avoid them?
  • How can we provide Workload Mobility between sites to provide a more agile Cloud environment?
  • In the event of site outage, can our Private Cloud reduce the time it takes to recover critical applications to a new site?
  • How can our Private Cloud deliver these critical services (Business Continuity, Workload Mobility, and Disaster Recovery) with lower cost and complexity?

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The Cloud Delivers a Better Experience for the Connected Athlete through the Internet of Everything

In the world of sports, becoming the fiercest competitor possible is the name of the game.

Today, the intersection of cloud technology and smart sports equipment is helping athletes and para-athletes perform at a world-class level. As a techie, you might admire the new shock absorbers built for downhill skis so paraplegics can hurl down a mountain at 70mph. Or how can you not marvel at the development of the prosthetic retina that can help blind athletes perform the sports they love?

Another amazing advancement is highlighted in Rick Smolan’s book, The Human Face of Big Data. Sheila Nirenberg, an associate professor at Weill Cornell Medical College, developed a way to enable patients with macular degeneration to see again. Awesome!  As stated in the book:

 “Using an array of high-speed, parallel processing computers, Nirenberg and her team embedded custom software in microprocessors and cameras that will be built into eyeglasses…images captured by the cameras will be translated into code in the form of thousands of pulsing lights, which can be recognized by the brain.”

It won’t be long before today’s visually impaired athletes can use this technology to compete at the highest level. And more than ever, this technology will rely on data that flows quickly and in real-time.

This is where cloud computing plays a key role – allowing data to be easily accessed and stored, so that mobile devices and the peripherals of tomorrow (connected eyeglasses, etc.) can provide new experiences to athletes. These devices will be able to transmit data, communicate to each other (M2M) and relay to the user (M2P) vital information needed for the athlete.

Advancements in medical technology and cloud computing are giving us a new perspective on life

Advancements in medical technology and cloud computing are giving us a new perspective on life

For example, a partially blind, or fully blind cross-country skier may one day have the capabilities through the Internet of Everything (IoE) to communicate through M2P technology while on the course. What will this mean?  Sensors indicating course characteristics (downhill, uphill, turns, starting line/finish line, timing, etc.) will be able to communicate and relay the information in real-time to the skier. These types of mobile-enabled experiences are powered through cloud infrastructure and applications.

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