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Manufacturers Are Following the Crowd to ‘Drive’ Innovation

The appetite for the latest new products and services is growing exponentially driven by the 24 hour, on demand, social media driven, next day delivery expecting,  ‘selfie’ posing with the new shiny object, hyper informed consumer.  Satisfying the demand for this fast-paced consumer cycle requires manufacturers to move rapidly to stay ahead of competitors and consumer tastes. They must bring interesting and exciting new products to market in a timely fashion, whether they are first to market or responding to a competitor’s new product offerings.

Two specific trends are emerging and transforming how the industry develops, manufactures and meets the demands of the new on demand consumer driving market - crowd sourcing and 3D printing.

Manufacturing Game Changers:  Crowdsourcing and 3D Printing

Crowdsourcing is not a new development model.  In fact, the open-source model gave us the Linux operating system and the Apache Web server over 20 years ago.  But there is one very distinct difference when applying crowdsourcing methodology to a manufacturing process, as opposed to software development, and that is raw material.   This is where 3D printing technology is rapidly maturing driving orders of magnitude efficiencies and cost savings into the value chain.

A Printed Car

In fact, a start-up called Local Motors is on the cutting edge of combining crowdsourcing and 3D printing to revolutionize the automobile industry. In a process that Local Motors calls “co-creation,” — also known as “crowdsourcing” — the software allows enthusiasts to post a design for a part that other users in a worldwide community can call up on a browser, see in 3D, take measurements from, and comment on, thus providing a new model and methodology for innovation.  Local Motors then leverage 3D printing technology to deploy “microfactories”

Can crowdsourcing and 3D printing produce an electric car?

Read More »

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Cisco Announces Intent to Acquire Metacloud

Today, Cisco takes another important step towards realizing our plans to create the world’s largest global Intercloud – a worldwide network of interconnected clouds and cloud service providers.

Our intent to acquire Metacloud, an OpenStack-based private cloud-as-a-service company, advances our strategy and delivers value to customers—right now. Metacloud provides IT teams with another way to accelerate their journey to the cloud and to gain an on-ramp to the Intercloud. By catalyzing the creation of the Intercloud, Cisco can fundamentally transform how IT and cloud services are bought, sold, aggregated and consumed.

Cisco’s vision is for an OpenStack-based Intercloud that allows organizations and users to combine and move high-value workloads – including data and applications – across different public or private clouds as needed. Doing so easily and securely, while maintaining essential network and security policies as well as full compliance with local data sovereignty laws, is critical.

Metacloud deploys, operates and manages OpenStack-based production-ready private clouds in any customer data center. Together, Cisco and Metacloud will enable the creation of hybrid cloud environments that combine service provider public cloud deployments with remotely-managed OpenStack private clouds. Bottom line for customers: More agility for less money.

Our customers and partners see the value proposition clearly and have rallied around Cisco’s Intercloud vision and strategy over the last year. Many leading companies are working with us in the adoption of the Intercloud. Among them, key service providers and cloud providers, as well as important technology partners, including Dimension Data, Johnson Controls, NetApp, Red Hat, Sungard, Telstra, and VCE.

Metacloud will become a critical part of our Cloud Services portfolio under the leadership of Faiyaz Shahpurwala.

Stay tuned for more details in the weeks to come!

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UCS M-series – As little as possible but Absolutely NO LESS!!

Welcome back! Thanks for your interest in our journey from that painful “you wasted our engineering” moment to the product we announced on Sep 4thUCS M-series Modular Servers.

There’s good pain and there’s bad pain. This pain was the muscle ache after a hard game of flag football. We had wasted some energy but were winning. Our customers were our coaches; they were precise about which parts of our game they loved and which parts they didn’t care for. They loved the management policy engine within UCS Manager but *did not* need the levels of redundancy and resilience in the hardware. And they really … really wished that we added some aspects to our game, specifically improvements to power and space efficiencies.  Our customers were either trying to eke out more from their existing data centers or trying to reduce their co-location costs.

So our cloud scale customers,
i)   loved our management policy engine
ii)  didn’t rely on hardware redundancy/resilience
iii) needed better power and space efficiencies

I’ll note here that during this time we gained incredible respect for our cloud scale customers. These customers are either disrupting traditional industries or are innovators who are reinventing themselves to take advantage of the “internet everywhere” age. That’s a tough business, and whoa is competition fierce! ……. being 2nd best on the internet often means you are a distant loser. Read More »

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UCS M-series Modular Servers – Because wastage just plain hurts!

Last week we announced the UCS M-series Modular Servers. The launch represented culmination of an exciting journey for us that started two years ago.

In mid 2012 just as UCS B-series blade servers were taking off in a big way, we noticed a group of our customers using our core technology very differently than customers in our primary market, enterprise IT. In our primary market customers loved UCS’s stateless computing model, virtualization benefits and the converged offerings with our partners EMC and NetApp. In this other category, customers did not consider those same benefits nearly as important. However UCS Manager’s powerful policy engine got them really excited. UCS Manager gave them a programmatic interface to manage thousands of nodes across dozens of sites globally.

Curious, I started to visit some of these customers. During one such visit, I was walking thru the aisles of their data center and I noticed something I had not ever seen at any of our enterprise IT customers data center. This customer had all UCS chassis single homed to a single Fabric Interconnect, I stopped in my tracks -- reallyIsn’t that kind of dangerous? What happens if there’s a failure? Or you have to upgrade? The customer explained to me how a combination of their application architecture and their application instance placement strategy made sure that outages at the rack level could be handled without service disruption. Wow! so we had engineered all kinds of resiliency, dual ported adapters, dual IOMs, dual chassis controllers, clustered Fabric Interconnects … lots and lots of hard engineering work to make our product robust and resilient, and this customer had thrown it all away with one toss… that really hurt. :( Read More »

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Journey to the Cloud: a Smooth Transition

I speak with many business leaders about “the cloud” and how best to use it to improve collaboration. Quite often, discussions end up getting into specific services and technologies but I always try to ensure that some basic considerations are a primary focus – namely People, Processes and Culture. This video is a great overview and insight into how important it is to get the foundations right, and what questions you should ask before you start looking for a specific solution or ‘technology’.

The Three Considerations

People

People

People are your company’s greatest asset and you need to enable them fully and effectively. Increasingly, they “vote with their feet.” They use their own solutions or those provided directly by their departments instead of official IT options (shadow IT). For many reasons public cloud services are a big hit, but you can’t afford for the virtualized environment you have painstakingly created to be used only for functional or legacy workloads.  Nobody can afford a discrete, separate underutilized platform -- unappreciated and with hidden value. Read More »

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