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Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud 3.1 — for Partners and Customers

November 2, 2012 at 12:38 pm PST

Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud 3.1 was announced this week in a blog article by Director of Marketing Jason Schroedl.

Why are Customers and Partners excited about this new release?

The release this week of Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud 3.1 further demonstrates Cisco’s commitment to help its enterprise and service provider customers with innovative technology for private, public, and hybrid cloud deployments.

Today I would like to talk about the three ways an enterprise company can implement their cloud with Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud:

  1. Cisco Advanced Service -- cloud enablement services
  2. Authorized Technology Provider Partner — professional services delivery engagement
  3. Customer Implementation — following upcoming customer training
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Enterprise SDN: Moving from box boundaries to software boundaries

November 1, 2012 at 7:10 am PST

Enterprise trends driving SDN and Network Programmability are becoming clearer.  The skyrocketing number of virtual/cloud devices is making human configuration infeasible.  A natural result will be that networks will move from being integrated based on physical box boundaries to being integrated based on software boundaries.  Put another way, traditional box based network integration will be overwhelmed by device proliferation.  Therefore businesses must adopt new approaches to device configuration and control.  This will include a new layer of network software which will instantiate, orchestrate, and dismantle virtual networks.

But what does this really mean?  Read More »

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Introducing Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud – Version 3.1

November 1, 2012 at 5:48 am PST

Just the other morning, my 3.5 year old daughter said “Daddy, can you make me a waffle?” And like any self-respecting parent, I of course responded with “Poof. You’re a waffle.”

It reminded me of something we frequently hear from customers: they effectively ask us to “make my data center a cloud.”  Now we could wave our arms and say “Poof. It’s a cloud.” But it’s not that easy.  Despite what some cloudwashers may say, virtualizing your data center does not mean you have a cloud – and self-service provisioning of VMs is not cloud computing.  Real clouds require much more.

Fortunately, we have solutions to help our customers deploy real clouds – with market-leading compute, network, and management products in our Unified Data Center portfolio as well as our cloud enablement services.  In fact, today we introduced yet another innovation in our Unified Computing System (UCS) portfolio with Cisco UCS Central.

I’m pleased to also announce the latest release of our cloud management software solution today: Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud version 3.1.  This release introduces several exciting new features, and I’ve highlighted a few of these new product capabilities below.

Virtual Data Centers – In simple infrastructure-as-a-service use cases, virtual machines and other resources may be provisioned from a shared pool of resources on-demand.  In more advanced infrastructure-as-a-service use cases, virtual data centers (VDCs) can be established to provide project teams or departments with a dedicated resource pool of compute, storage, and network capacity for their own organization. I’ve written in the past about this concept of a virtual data center and this is what Cisco IT deployed for our own internal private cloud.

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IT “Patients”

When you think of cloud technology and data center virtualization, you likely think of big corporations managing their data centers and IT infrastructure to drive business forward. But that’s not the only sector benefiting from the cloud. The healthcare industry is confirming that virtualization is an important factor in the well-being of people -- technology being used to help save lives, not just increase revenue.

Updating an IT infrastructure with cloud enablement is impacting the medical world in imperative ways. Through the cloud, clinicians are able to access medical records and information from a multitude of devices, and from anywhere. Never being out-of-range in an emergency situation is a huge step for healthcare. It means less physical hardware, easier access, shared information, and better service for the patient.

Consider St. George’s Healthcare NHS Trust, a leading healthcare provider. After experiencing difficulties in accessing information and maxing out resources, St. George’s made the move to Unified Communications. Doctors and nurses are now able to retrieve information from the device of their choice, enabling quicker response to patients’ needs, all while meeting new government regulations and controlling their budget.

Other examples include Sparrow Health, who strived to be a national leader in quality and patient experience. With virtualization and cloud-based applications, Sparrow achieved a medical-grade network that solved the problems of their former, unreliable IT system. And Seattle Children’s Hospital severely cut back on wasted time in accessing information and managing their systems by bringing nearly 400 servers and 5500 workstations under central management using virtualization. Likewise, Cook County Health and Concentra are all healthcare providers who reaped the benefits of a virtualized, unified network.

For these profiles and more information on utilizing the cloud to increase ROI and improve TCO, visit UnleashingIT.com.

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OpenStack, Cisco ONE and You

October 16, 2012 at 8:40 am PST

So, with our announcements around OpenStack this week a few folks have asked me how OpenStack fits into our broader strategies like Cisco Open Network Environment. The short answer is “quite well, actually”, the longer answer follows. :)

If you look back our original introduction of the Cisco Open Network Environment, we made a couple of points—there is a plurality of use cases and as a result, there need to be a plurality of enabling technologies. While there are common objectives such as agility and programmability to better handle the macro trends like cloud and virtualization, the truth is, everyone has their own design objectives and priorities. To that sentiment, I might add that folks have varying operational objectives and priorities—the appetite for the amount of risk and complexity they want to take on.

With the three-pillar structure of the Open Network Environment, we feel like we have given folks the flexibility to choose the right technologies for the job. With initiatives like OpenStack we now support a different kind of flexibility.

While a segment of the market seems to want to start writing their own protocols and hand-wiring flow tables, a different segment of the market is moving in the other direction, expressing a desire to get out of the infrastructure business and focus their time and efforts on their apps and their users—this has traditionally been the Vblock and FlexPod crowd. With OpenStack, they now have another option—they get the programmability we talk about with the Open Network Environment, but at the stack level, instead of at the box level. The idea behind something like the Cisco Edition of OpenStack is simplify the task and reduce the risks of standing up a cloud stack. You have the full Folsom release of OpenStack, some Puppet recipes to simplify deployment and validation against the relevant Cisco hardware (follow that last link for details).

To get more insights into our OpenStack announcements this week, check our this blog by Lew Tucker, our VP/CTO for Cloud Computing and this post by Kyle Mestery, one of the many Cisco folks who has invested a great deal of time and effort in OpenStack.

One final thought. We are a long way from being done yet. In just the last few days, I blogged about how our Virtuata and vCider acquisitions fit into a multi-cloud strategy, we have had the aforementioned posts related to this week’s OpenStack announcements, and Rodrigo Flores just posted about our Multi-Cloud Acceleration Kits for our Intelligent Automation for Cloud solution. While cloud is the destination, there are many ways to get there as we have customers and we will continue to innovate and partner on a number of fronts and in a number of ways that will likely surprise some folks. Stay tuned.

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