FlexPod, by any measure, has been a great success. 2,100 customers worldwide have adopted the architecture and it stands today as one of the leading converged infrastructure solutions in the industry. IT organizations want to modernize their operations, but they need to do it in a way that mitigates risk and lays down a solid foundation on which to scale. To get there they need a solution that brings the best, most innovative technology in an integrated architecture that’s easy to consume. FlexPod has delivered on that combination of innovation + integration + easy.
Innovation comes in abundance with FlexPod and it has allowed customers to land a wide spectrum of applications on a common infrastructure. The key is that while infrastructure elements are abstracted and pooled (the basic food groups of compute, network and storage) the system supports both bare metal and virtualized workloads with aplomb; a crucial capability given the realities in the data center today. Cisco and NetApp have each taken abstraction and API control deep into the server, network and storage infrastructure, below the OS/Hypervisor waterline, and this is what unlocks new agility for everything built on top.
So what comes next? FlexPod solutions to date have been aimed squarely at the enterprise data center. What Cisco and NetApp announced today expands the architecture on two key axis. Both vectors support the growing challenge IT organizations face today: spanning from the data center core out to the branch office and also into the cloud (both to deliver services and to procure them.) Location independence for applications across this continuum requires infrastructure that can be tuned to support a wide spectrum of workloads and operating models. To do it efficiently requires uniformity in deployment and operating models.
One the axis of operating models, the FlexPod architecture will expand out from the solid base of solutions developed for the data center in two directions: into solutions for branch office and smaller use cases, and upward, with massively scalable designs for solution providers.
On axis of workload, the array of application solutions validated by the companies will continue to grow, allowing customers to expand the footprint of converged infrastructure across their IT services.
From a consumption perspective FlexPod has established an impressive, highly scaled presence, because it was designed by both companies to “meet in the channel.” The solution is offered today by more that 700 partners in 35 countries.
While it’s possible to sometimes have too much of a good thing, it’s clear we’re a long way from that with FlexPod.
The Cisco Process Orchestrator has very rich integration capabilities, yet we often hear the question, “Does it integrate with…” or “Does it work with” [insert product]. The Cisco Process Orchestrator is a primary component in the Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud management solution.
The fact is that in modern environments with modern orchestrators the answer is always yes. The reality is that cloud automation requires a Process Orchestrator tie into a variety of different systems in order to start offering cloud services. Remember, Cloud is an operating model, not a product. This means that to deliver self-service, on-demand services requires all the elements of the service be orchestrated.
The graphic below shows the components in the deployments. You see integration with Cisco UCS, VMware and storage, as you would expect. It also orchestrates IP address management (that IP won’t provision itself), Remedy incident, CMDB, ActiveDirectory (so tenants can log in), image management and a few other things such as Service Assurance.
Previously I talked about the growing demands and how the role of IT has to change from a cost center to a business strategic partner. And we also looked at the journey you need to take to deliver IT as a Service. Cloud computing is part of this journey and it is happening – and I mean all types of Clouds – Private, Public and Hybrid. In other words, we are entering the World of Many Clouds. Forrester Research recently published a report that concluded, “Cloud computing is ready for the enterprise… but many enterprises aren’t ready for the cloud.”1 Yet cloud deployments are happening, driven by workload virtualization and changes in application architecture and usage.
Take a look at this short video with Paul Perez (VP/GM of Unified Computing System and CTO of Data Center Group) and me. Paul shares his insights on the trends of how Cloud is changing the way of the IT and the challenges you will be facing.
Guess what? Once again Cisco is here to help you on your journey to the World of Many Clouds. How you ask?
Previously I talked about the growing demands and how the role of IT has to change from a cost center to a business strategic partner. It’s important to acknowledge that getting an organization to the point where it can implement IT as a Service isn’t easy, nor does it take place all at once. Every customer has their own journey and different customers will take different journeys. For some, it’s all about doing what they do now, only more efficiently or perhaps adding new capabilities. For others, it’s about making that full-blown transformation to service-driven IT.
So how do you get there? Each phase expands into a series of key initiatives…
It all starts with moving into more of a unified architecture of network fabric and corresponding operations.
I believe that the New Year will signal three major shifts in education: The Internet of Everything, Shared Services, and Cloud Computing.
We are rapidly moving into a phase that we call “The Internet of Everything.” Today, there are more things connected to the internet than there are people in the world. In the near future, everything that we see will wake up as more and more people, processes, data, and things join what we call the internet and change the way we work, live, learn, and play. For education, this means that the experiences that we deliver to students will be more connected, integrated, flexible, and meaningful. Students will increasingly learn on their own terms, quickly and easily accessing content, joining courses, and connecting with experts across the globe. Connection will happen seamlessly; students will design their own learning experiences. They will be empowered by public education networks and a multi-device mobile world.