At the OpenStack Summit 2013, Red Hat announced RDO, a freely available, community-supported distribution of OpenStack. OpenStack is an open source cloud operating system that controls large pools of compute, storage, and networking resources throughout a datacenter.
In addition to the new release, Red Hat also announced today the launch of an official Cloud Infrastructure Partner Program, “a multi-tiered program designed for third-party commercial companies that offer hardware, software and services for customers to implement cloud infrastructure solutions powered by Red Hat OpenStack.” I’m excited about the solution opportunities that are possible by combining UCS and Nexus offerings with Red Hat on the OpenStack cloud infrastructure.
Almost everyone has heard of the “cloud,” as a result of advertising by computer companies and frequent mentions in the news media. “Cloud” refers to technology resources used by an organization that are not at their own location, but available over the global data communications network (otherwise called the Internet). Moreover, the cloud is not just a question of getting access to some big data center in the sky; ultimately, it means gaining authorized access to any data or computing resource that is part of the Internet, and even combining data and software components from physically distant computers.
Public officials may have heard about how the cloud is being used in the public sector. For example, the United States Conference of Mayors had a session on this at its 2011 meeting where various mayors spoke about how their cities were using such services as shared email “in the cloud.” At the National Association of Counties, there have been sessions describing a cloud that is restricted to trusted government agencies at the state and local levels — what some call the “private cloud” because its services are not available to every organization, thus helping preserve the privacy and integrity of government data.
But the reasons state and local government officials might want to use the cloud are not often explained. This post will describe the various ways that the cloud can provide strategic value to state and local governments.
Most people have first heard of the cloud as a means of saving money, which is especially attractive at a time of tighter budgets. So instead of buying hardware and software, a government agency rents what it needs, when it needs it. This approach means you can shift from using bonds and debt service to an approach that matches your IT budget with the real demand each year.
And, often, the software services available in the cloud, such as email, can cost less per employee than licensing equivalent software in-house.
Potential cost reduction is not all there is to the story. There are other positive benefits as well.
First, cloud enables your government to survive a major disaster, whether man-made or natural. With the cloud, as long as your employees can connect to the Internet, regardless of location, they will be able to continue operations. This is crucial during disasters, when people depend on the government to continue to operate.
Second, the cloud can increase government flexibility. Email is a good example. Email that is hosted in the cloud is available to your employees no matter where they are — on the road or in their normal office. (There are other ways to try to imitate this result, but those approaches are more demanding of your IT staff than using the cloud.) Flexibility also includes being able to respond to peak demand, since resources available in the cloud are vastly larger than any demand your government might require.
The third related benefit is faster adoption of technology. With traditional budgeting approaches, adoption of new technology may not be possible until the last technology investment has been amortized. In the cloud, you can jump on new technologies quicker because that financial obstacle no longer exists.
Collaboration and Data Sharing
The cloud makes it easier to connect from one government agency to another, which means that they can collaborate and share data more easily. This helps break down silos that annoy citizens and make public programs ineffective. (Beyond breaking down silos, the cloud also enables government to reduce or eliminate the duplication of expensive data centers.)
Focus on Citizens
The cloud also helps your staff focus on what’s important. If you do not consider IT to be a strategic tool or core competence of your government, then clearly it makes sense to depend upon the resources of the cloud rather than trying to build equivalent expertise within your own government.
Even if you view IT as a strategic tool — and I hope you do — the cloud enables your IT staff to shift from running data center operations to focusing on services they can deliver to citizens.
The cloud is more than just a good way to save some money; it also has strategic value as a means to govern better.
Stay tuned to the Cisco Government blog for the next installment of the cloud for local government blog series or click here to register and reserve your copy of the complete compilation of the blog series, including this blog as well as a variety of cloud resources, which will be available in May.
The data center landscape has changed dramatically in several dimensions. Server virtualization is almost a defacto in our customers’ data centers with a big increase in VM density. They are also moving towards world of many clouds. And then there is the massive data growth. Some studies show that data is doubling in every 2 years while there is an increase in the adoption of solid-state drives (SSD). Several of our customers are also either consolidating their data centers or forming mega data centers. All of these mega trends certainly come with increasing challenges for the Storage Administrator as the storage network is becoming more critical as it is the strategic asset in the Data Centers.
Take a look at this short video with Richard Darnielle (Director of Product Management for MDS Product lines) and me. Richard shares his insights on the mega trends that will shape the next-generation storage networks.
Guess what? Once again Cisco is here to help you on your journey to addressing these mega trends by raising the bar for storage networks. How you ask?
I’m also a keen observer of the world around me—especially when it involves my health.
For many healthcare professionals, I believe the recent challenges surrounding the industry have taken some of the enjoyment out of their work. Issues such as new and changing regulations, increased lawsuits, escalating costs, and barely manageable patient loads, among others, have all taken their toll on the doctors, nurses, and administrators who, I believe, entered the healthcare field to have a fulfilling, lifelong career serving people and helping them live better lives.
This situation presents a real issue for literally everyone fortunate enough to have access to modern healthcare. Population growth and aging populations in many countries around the world mean we need more healthcare professionals, not fewer. Happier, more productive doctors and nurses mean better care for their patients. And, people who dedicate years of their lives to practice medicine should have a satisfying work experience.
In the United States, demand for physicians will outpace supply by 130,000 by 2025 (Source: AAMC Center for Workforce Studies, 2011)
For healthcare professionals (and the rest of us), I have great news—we are at the cusp of a renaissance in healthcare. Technology—including the Internet of Everything (IoE), robotics, 3-D printing, wearable technology, cloud, mobility, and many others—promises to usher in this new era in healthcare. In short, the best is yet to come.
To make my point, here are a couple of examples that I believe will transform healthcare over the next 10 years. (For those of you attending the HIMSS13 conference March 3-7, I will be presenting several more examples in my keynote speech.) Read More »
Salem Health is a network of hospitals, rehab facilities, and physician clinics located in the Pacific Northwest. The organization was experiencing major performance issues with their IT infrastructure, which was hurting business processes. And in the healthcare industry, that’s not something to be overlooked. Clinicians were experiencing too much downtime to provide top-of-the-line patient care, not to mention the lack of support and control the company had for their current environment.
In dire need of change, Salem Health overhauled their data center with the Cisco® Unified Computing System™ (UCS), powered by Intel® Xeon® processers. The transition was cost-effective -- saving the business 68 percent in IT expenses – and provided enhanced data replication, decreased downtime, and greatly improved network access. As a result, Salem Health is able to deliver much better care to patients, and the business is back on track.