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How a Customer Crisis Ten Years Ago Helped Me Understand the Challenges of Cloud Service Creation Today (Part 1)

February 23, 2012 at 10:45 am PST

If you are already offering cloud services from your data center, or are starting your planning to do so, there are some key initial questions I’d advise you consider.  And they’re not about the technical aspects of data center architecture!  You find yourself asking “what cloud services should we offer?” and “How do we evolve what we offer today”.  You may, post launch, also find yourself asking “Why is the take up to our cloud services not as big as we initially forecast?”.  Before you say “aha -  these are questions for service providers offering cloud services” .. I would argue that these questions are fundamental to enterprise and public sector organizations too -- assuming that you intend to provide cloud services to your user community that help them do their jobs.  Following one of my colleagues who blogged earlier that, with cloud services, “you need to think like a product manager”, I will assert here that there are some key lessons from product management that can help you in creating cloud services that are actually useful to your customer and/or your internal clients and stakeholders.

As you may have noticed from my previous blogs, I’ve worked in product management of both products and services for a while (since 1997 in fact, when I moved from software engineering into the “dark side” :-) ) …. so what lessons have I learned that may help you address the challenges of creating and defining new cloud services?

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What Happens When Mobile and Cloud Collide?

Mobility and cloud computing are colliding. So, what does this mean for the future of mobile devices? How soon will video-conference calls on our mobile devices become commonplace? How can service providers (SPs) enhance their competitive position by delivering cloud and managed services?

While research has been conducted on mobile and cloud computing as separate trends, to date very little data has existed on the impact of mobility and cloud together. To understand this dynamic market better, the Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) surveyed more than 1,000 business users to understand their current and future needs with regard to the mobile cloud.

The top findings may surprise you:

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Barry O’Sullivan: 2012 Collaboration Predictions

This week in No Jitter, Cisco Collaboration Senior Vice President and General Manager Barry O’Sullivan looked into his crystal ball and elaborated on his predictions for 2012.

In an excerpt, Barry predicts:

“1. Post PC-era will explode

2. Video will break through

3. Contact Centers will evolve as customers choose to interact with companies in radically new ways

4. Companies will use the cloud and desktop virtualization to provide collaboration capabilities across the enterprise

5. Social business processes will become mainstream for many.”

Read Barry’s predictions in more detail and the follow-up answers Barry gave to Eric Krapf’s questions. I trust you’ll enjoy reading the article.  Send in your predictions for 2012 for collaboration, video, social software, and contact center.

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Manufacturing a Successful Cloud Strategy

I just finished an interview on the topic of “Cloud in Manufacturing” with a German machine-building and factory automation magazine. The interview ran an hour longer than scheduled—an indication of the publication’s interest, as well as its lingering doubts about whether cloud services truly can benefit “real manufacturing.”

We discussed an abundance of cloud-related ideas – most pertaining to obvious areas such as web presence in marketing, after-sales application hosting to make field engineers more productive, and collaboration as a service to enable partners and suppliers to work together more effectively on large projects.

The uncharted cloud territory, however, is the area that manufacturers see their “core”: the physical making of things. Can cloud play a role in supply chain management (yes, it can)? Will there be a cloud service for motion control (due to latency and determinism considerations, not yet) and for asset management and MIS applications (yes)? Read More »

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Cisco, NetApp & FlexPod – The Momentum Continues at Cisco Live Europe

January 31, 2012 at 9:23 am PST

by John Rollason, Senior Manager Product, Solutions & Alliances EMEA, NetApp

For many years the server market was dominated by the likes of IBM, HP/Compaq, Fujitsu, Dell, Sun and characterised by small market share shifts. True the market changed as rack and blade servers became popular, but most of the players recognized the shift and adapted.  Then Server Virtualisation technologies changed the market and Cisco disrupted it completely with the launch of the Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) in 2009. Today Cisco’s vision for server virtualization has been proven successful with more than 10,000 UCS customers and 54 UCS world record results. Customers obviously see the advantage!

Cisco’s innovation, vision and leadership are an ideal match with NetApp, a recognized leader and innovative in the storage industry. Over more than a decade of collaboration our companies have achieved a number of milestones including first native FCoE SAN storage solutions and first certified end-to-end FCoE solution for VMware environments.

Just over a year ago NetApp and Cisco introduced FlexPod, a pre-designed, pre-tested and validated Data Centre cloud solution built on modular and unified architecture composed of Cisco UCS servers, Cisco Nexus switches, and NetApp unified storage systems running Data ONTAP. FlexPod components are integrated and standardized to help you eliminate the guesswork and achieve timely, repeatable, consistent deployments. FlexPod has also been optimized with a variety of mixed application workloads and design configurations in various environments such as virtual desktop infrastructure and secure multi-tenancy environments.

Today more than 500 customers across 33 countries are seeing the benefits of Cisco UCS + NetApp. In fact, I”ve blogged about European FlexPod customers including Accenture, Börse Stuttgart, Computacenter, Terremark, Guiness Partnership, Loughborough University, and many more.

This week at Cisco Live London 2012 you’ll have the opportunity to hear directly from several organizations transforming their infrastructures and businesses on FlexPod and talk with variety of partners activity selling and developing solutions built on FlexPod.  NetApp is a Platinum sponsor of Cisco Live and I’ll be at NetApp Stand P1 with the rest of the team for the 4th year. Highlights include:

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