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Preventative Medicine or Emergency Surgery? Healthcare and the Cloud

While Cloud Computing is getting the majority of the headlines within the IT industry, it could easily be argued that no industry is going through as much change as Healthcare. Whether it’s Healthcare reform in the United States, the rollout of Telemedicine solutions (by corporations and municipalities), or online collaboration to educate and discuss outbreaks and crisis, the business of keeping people well is going through radical change. Not only are the economics of Healthcare being forced to change, but so to is the technology that allows doctors to deliver care, medical records to be stored and researchers to find the next cure.

This past week I had the opportunity to present at the NCHICA “Health Information in the Cloud” along with experts from industry, technology, law and standards-bodies. The conference focused on many aspects of Healthcare + Cloud, including HIPPA standards, Legal and Compliance considerations, Security, Deployments in Public vs. Private Clouds, offerings from Managed Service Providers and real-world case studies (presentations can be found here and here). The presentation we gave focused on the infrastructure required to build Private Cloud.

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Cloud Computing Brings Sunny Skies for Qwest and Cisco

It has been a long winter for many of us. Nevertheless, the snow is finally melting and it’s an entirely new season for Qwest and Cisco.

Qwest has implemented the Cisco Unified Service Delivery (USD) solution across its CyberCenters. Qwest CyberCentersSM provide a highly-secure, reliable, scalable foundation for the delivery of state-of-the-art hosting for mission-critical enterprise application services.

Qwest VP of Product Management and National Network Services, Eric Bozich, talks about how
Cisco Unified Service Delivery brings new flexibility to cloud service delivery.

The Cisco USD solution helps Qwest optimize its CyberCenter network, application, compute and storage resources, while reducing capital, operating, real estate and energy costs. This creates new economies of scale for Qwest and attractive pay-per-use business models for their enterprise customers. The Cisco Unified Service Delivery is helping Qwest to change the game by bringing new levels of service agility to the cloud.

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Learning More about Cisco Jabber

Imagine being able to communicate with your coworkers easily despite their location or endpoint, and seamlessly escalating a conversation over IM to a voice or video call from a single client.

Last week at Enterprise Connect in Orlando, Cisco announced  Cisco Jabber, a new application that helps enterprise users consolidate all of their communications: presence, instant messaging (IM), voice and video, voice messaging, desktop sharing and conferencing. Cisco Jabber provides integration across devices, including PCs, Macs, tablets and smart phones.  Jabber provide users with a unified client they can deploy across on-premise and cloud-based options.

Listen below as Laurent Philonenko, Vice President and General Manager for Cisco’s Unified Communications Business Unit, describes the new Cisco Jabber solution and what it means for enterprise communications.

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The Gathering of the “Clouderati” at Cloud Connect

Yesterday the “Clouderati” gathered again in Santa Clara, CA, where I had the pleasure of delivering a short opening keynote at the Cloud Connect conference.

I always look forward to these events where I can get together with friends and exchange our ideas about how the industry is evolving with each new wave of innovation.  Some of the key themes I heard throughout the day is the importance of the ecosystem being built on top of the cloud services APIs and the growing interest in open source communities like OpenStack – a community that Cisco recently joined.  

Here’s just a quick recap of what I shared with the audience, talking about the “Network is the Computer, Once Again” …click on the video to hear more details on each of these points (14 min).

  • There will be a world of many clouds, driven in large part by the regulatory requirements of the different industries (e.g. financial services, government or healthcare), but they will share a common model for cloud computing.  And we are still at the early stages in this journey.
  • Application complexity makes it impossible to efficiently scale traditional enterprise data centers due to the binding of each app to it’s own infrastructure. However, even within a private data center it is possible to gain some of the benefits of the cloud computing model by de-coupling apps from the infrastructure through pooling resources and running an internal Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) operation. If truly operated and measured as a service offering independent of the applications, many of the advantages of a cloud computing model can be gained in-house and give the organization greater flexibility over where they eventually run their workloads.  This new “Infrastructure-as-a-service” layer is therefore an important part of the new platform enabled by cloud computing.
  • Cisco, along with its partners, is helping both service providers and enterprise customers architect, build and deploy clouds and is continuing to evolve networking to meet the new requirement of customers moving to the cloud.
  • In summary, the network is the computer…once, again.

I encourage you to tune in to Cloud Connect online for videos of all the great speakers.

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Top 3 Government Challenges with Cloud

As Cloud Computing gains more attention from government customers, it presents new challenges and demands a different set of skills to become successful. Having a clear understanding of the business’ challenges and the benefits that may be obtained from the cloud becomes even more important.

In my conversations with different government organizations about Cloud Computing, three distinct challenges keep coming up.

Cloud Computing Government

#1: Reducing Costs. More than ever, agencies have the pressure to reduce costs at all levels.  Dealing with shrinking budgets and demands for newer services has forced agencies to carefully look for areas that may be optimized or simplified.  While many agencies struggle to keep the lights on, they are forced to look at alternate ways to provide services. Cloud services has become an attractive way to address those demands and provide new services to its citizens.

The pressure to reduce costs has also forced agencies with common needs to work together and find ways to collaborate and simplify operations.  This is different from the past, where agencies could not justify or were not interested in combining computing resources with other agencies.

#2: Agility and Scalability. At the same time they are forced to reduce costs, agencies are also forced to achieve new levels of agility and innovation.  The constant demand for new services and deployment of new technologies have forced agencies to consider services in the cloud in order to simplify and reduce their infrastructure footprint.  While agencies may be solely focused on reducing costs, cloud applications can not only reduce the costs, but also give agencies a new level of agility and scalability.

The cloud allows agencies to pool resources to serve multiple customers using a multi-tenant model.  These shared resources give agencies a sense of independence and elasticity, since resources may be dynamically assigned according to demand.

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