Whether it’s ordering a last-minute Halloween costume from the comfort of your couch or being able to IM with colleagues on your flight to see family and friends this holiday season, we can all admit that “on-demand” access is an every day necessity. In much the same way, today’s business users expect on-demand access to IT resources. And as those customer demands increase, more pressure is placed on IT infrastructure.
Everyone – from consumers to business users, from IT departments in large enterprises to service providers – are grappling with both the opportunity and challenge of managing the evolution of IT. It’s hard to let go of the past and the old ways of managing our data – whether that’s putting aside the family scrapbook for a digital library or adopting new management solutions to replace legacy systems in your data center. So, what’s the trick? Find a solution that allows you to easily and seamlessly transition to this new operating model. Almost sounds too good to be true – but it’s real.
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Tags: Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud, cloud, Cloud Management, CTEX, Curacao technology exchange, data center, intelligent automation, orchestration, unified management, Vblock, VCE
Steve Watkins, Guest Blogger
Steve Watkins is a Consulting Systems Engineer for Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud. He came to Cisco as part of the newScale acquisition in 2011. He has been helping customers manage the migration to IT as a Service (ITaaS) since 2004.
Showback and Chargeback have become increasingly hot topics for IT, especially infrastructure teams. This is fuelled at least in part by the general acceptance of cloud computing, including private clouds and SaaS applications. Chargeback (and even Showback) are great ways of affecting behavior of the consumers of IT. It keeps consumers from demanding an unreasonable amount of services, and encourages them to use of what has already been invested in. There is also a growing mandate from Finance to make IT accountable for its spend, or at the very least to justify any requests for further investment. So infrastructure teams find themselves in the unexpected position of defining prices for the services traditionally offered. Most have no idea where to start.
Several vendors have produced offerings to help manage the showback/chargeback business case. This post will not discuss any vendor in detail. Instead, I want to talk about philosophy.
Broadly speaking, there are two major approaches to creating a price model for IT. There is the Utility-based model, in which pricing derived from actual consumption of CPU cycles, RAM, bandwidth, storage, etc. In this model, if you stood up a virtual machine for one week you would only pay for the actual amount CPU cycles and storage you consumed.
Alternately, there is Service-based pricing, which advocates a fixed price based on either the service itself or some other unit of measure such as hours, etc. In this model, if you stood up a virtual machine for one week you would pay for how many hours the VM was active, whether you used it or not.
I always council my customers to adopt service-based pricing. I think utility-based pricing is the wrong approach for IT departments, especially infrastructure teams. Here are my reasons:
1.INFLEXIBLE – Utility pricing is asset based, and therefore assumes that the assets will remain more-or-less the same. The model breaks down when you introduce changes, like renting infrastructure from public providers or changing service levels. What about if I offer VDI next year? That may mean two different types of pricing models, which gets even more complex. A service-based pricing scheme works with all services.
2.POOR CAPACITY MANAGEMENT – by only charging for the CPU cycles you actually consume, it encourages users to stand up systems and leave them in place.. which is exactly what we don’t want. Think of renting a car: you rent a car for 4 days but only drive it for a total of 3 hours, you still have to pay for all for days. If I just paid when I actually drove it, I would keep it all the time. We want to encourage users to return unused assets. Which leads to..
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Tags: chargeback, Cisco Cloud Portal, cloud, Cloud Management, cloud_computing, data center, intelligent automation, private cloud, service based pricing, unified management, utility based pricing
When Cisco acquired netwScale (my company), in addition to our cloud portal, it also brought in the Cisco Workplace Portal (formerly RequestCenter).
There was a lot of curiosity as to what Cisco would do with an ITIL style service catalog and what the future of such product would be within Cisco. Well, it’s 18 months later and it is doing quite well, with an exciting roadmap and some new things already shipped and some in the wing.
In this post, I want to discuss what are workplace services, how they have evolved, how they are evolving and what it means to the service catalog.
Workplace services are those services that employees need in order to do their jobs. They include computers, phones, offices, new employee set up, terminations, access to applications and anything else you can imagine. I have seen tens of thousands of service definitions both common and unusual.
Common ones are the desktop computer variety, but even these sometimes have an unusual bent. For example, banks have different workstations for tellers than admin staff. Other have engineering workstations that are different salespeople. Role definition becomes a pretty important aspect of a service catalog implementation.
Unusual ones were “Report chemical fire”, “Order Executive Sedan”, “Inter-factory mail”, and “File patent idea”. Patent as a service, if you will
If it was something that could be requested, it went in the catalog. Today some customers have 1,500+ service definitions in their catalogs with user bases in the 350,000 employees.
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Tags: Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud, cisco workplace portal, Cloud Management, intelligent automation, orchestration, self-service, unified management, workplace services
Welcome to San Francisco for one the most exciting events of the year!
Here’s a short blog post that will help you connect with the Intelligent Automation team at VMworld and learn about new solution developments and releases. In particular, you will be interested to see a brand new demo featuring Virtual Network Management Center 2.0. VNMC is a centralized device and security policy management software, which works together with Cisco Virtual Security Gateway (VSG) and the Cisco ASA 1000V firewall to manage security on Nexus 1000V virtual switch series.
Other Intelligent Automation and Unified Management demos offered in booth #1213 include:
• Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud
• Network Services Manager
And make sure you mark your calendar to attend one of these theater presentations to learn more about what Cisco can offer your organization:
• My First Cloud Get Started with Cisco Cloud Management from Cisco Data Center
This session will discuss how Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud enables IT to move from manual to flexible automated provisioning of physical and virtual resources, while maintaining existing processes and governance, increasing IT efficiency. Monday, August 27 10:30am Cisco booth
• Virtual Network Management Center 2.0 from Cisco Data Center
Join us to learn about Cisco’s latest VNMC release. Tuesday, August 28 11:00am Cisco Booth #1213
• Private Cloud Case Study with Cisco Management and Orchestration from Cisco Data Center
Join this session to learn about the challenges Cisco IT has solved by implementing cloud management and orchestration technology to provide internal private cloud services. Tuesday, August 28 11:30am Cisco Booth #1213
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Tags: Cisco Intelligent Automation, cloud, Cloud Builder, Cloud Management, events, unified management, VMware, vmworld
Cloud is a journey. This post discusses our approach to crawl, walk and run.
A cloud architecture has multiple facets and requirements, a key part of which is the need for cloud orchestration and provisioning, coupled with a self-service end user portal. Let’s call this “Cloud Automation” for now. If you are designing and/or building a cloud, then, part of your work will be to deliver a cloud automation solution to deliver on that promise. How do you plan to go about that? One approach is to define your extensive list of requirements, based upon your business needs and current capabilities, and go about building out that solution.
Another approach is what I’ll call “Crawl Walk Run”. The incremental approach.
Post is here.
Cloud is a change to the operational model: a change in behavior, accounting, process and people. You can’t do it overnight. Trying to deliver every service doesn’t work.
It’s very important to set a roadmap of where you want go with your cloud services so you don’t get stuck in the VM Azores — this is where all the focus is on VM provisioning and then you deploy technology that does that. And only that.
You need that roadmap of services and a technology platform that supports your vision. Even if all you first is crawl.
Tags: Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud, cloud, cloud automation, Cloud Management, intelligent automation, orchestration, Service Orchestration, unified management