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Cloud for Local Government Global Blog Series, Cloud and the Smart City: A Brighter Tomorrow

In my last blog, I discussed the benefits of Smart City cloud management capabilities. An intelligent IP-enabled network unites multiple services onto one infrastructure, allowing for tight operations management and lower expenses. Operating this network remotely, through the cloud, further enhances the capability for sustainable, effective city management.

As Smart City visions emerge in various projects in local government, we will see a combination of new ways of thinking, designing, planning, executing, and managing. Busan, South Korea has already discovered the powerful benefits of cloud infrastructure to create Smart+Connected Communities solutions. The government partnered with companies to create a Mobile Application Center to utilize city assets and the connected network. (You can also watch a video series, “Cities of the Future,” on Songdo, South Korea and how this new connected Smart City was designed, planned, and built.)

There are some important steps that other cities and governments can take to harness the power of the cloud to become more connected, efficient, and sustainable. A process on how to answer the Smart City call to action is further outlined in Cisco’s POV paper, “Smart City Framework,” and video.

1.     Use one intelligent, multiservice IP network.

This is the overarching mantra of a Smart City—connect systems and services to improve city livability. While it can seem daunting, it’s important to remember the long-term benefits of a connected city, especially using cloud management. Some of the most promising Smart City projects have shown that it’s possible to use the network to achieve some major goals of state and local government, including efficient city management and economic, social, and environmental sustainability.

Savvy government leaders are recognizing the untapped power of the network and incorporating its potential into the early stages of planning and development. Many cities have experimented with including information and communications technology (ICT) solutions through small-scale “proof of concept” projects. Since budgets are so limited, it can be difficult to adopt a purely centralized approach, which means trying new techniques and learning from the enterprise sector.

2.     Build a foundation for public-private partnerships.

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Case Study: Cisco’s Private Cloud and Lessons Learned

This is my talk I gave last week at Cloud Connect in Santa Clara. One slide that did not make the deck are the top reasons why people struggle with building private clouds

  1. Management and operations process.
  2. Culture
  3. Funding Model
  4. Service description and self-service interface

As my deck says, “I got 99 problems, but the tech ain’t one”

Building a “real” cloud involves the following success factors

  1. Well articulated corporate strategy with phases (crawl, walk, run)
  2. Engage existing automation teams for skills
  3. Well-defined, achievable service definitions that are automatable, volume
  4. Platform that does not lock into a specific hypervisor or cloud API
  5. A team that is trained (with specific roles) on the solution so that they can extend it in combination with the vendor’s services organization
  6. Get into production ASAP to drive value and organizational learning
  7. Union of OOB features and specific configurations for your environment.
  8. Articulated strategy for integrating with certain existing/deployed IT assets, and using the new “Cloud” as a way to shed IT baggage
  9. Recognition that your Cloud Management Platform is extensible to other areas in the IT strategy and that partner products may be necessary as well
  10. Have a suite / framework so you can maintain in the long term. And use external resources
  11. Need clear articulation of career paths once you start removing “button pushers.” design, operations, not implementation
  12. Focus on process outcomes, not process activities. Or end up with innefficient processes

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Cloud for Local Government Global Blog Series, Cloud and the Smart City: It’s All Connected

Cities around the world are facing some big and complicated problems, with few easy answers at the ready. Rising energy costs, environmental concerns, and new government initiatives have inspired a focus on sustainable IT operations. But how can cities be expected to solve these crises, while also improving citizen services and ensuring future economic success?

Advanced information and communications technology (ICT) is a great answer, but this is easier said than done. Cities frequently face logistical hurdles on the road to becoming Smart Cities. I believe the key is creating a more effective “connected transformation,” harnessing the power of cloud computing for cost reduction and the delivery of vital services.

We’ve seen this in the enterprise sector: An intelligent IP-enabled information network provides a single, multiservice infrastructure to support productivity and cost initiatives—all achieved remotely, via cloud management. Government agencies are beginning to follow this lead. The public sector, for example, is finding new ways to measure such things as power consumption, thereby controlling energy output, reducing costs, and increasing operational efficiency. For government as well, the cloud is becoming an important tool for achieving greater sustainability.

Overall, the cloud is helping to create more effective city management, and it enables the network to become:

  • Observable. Cities can monitor systems, power flows, and equipment, with no physical or location constraints.
  • Controllable. Providing remote two-way communications and data between stations, systems, and equipment will maintain effective operations.
  • Automated. Hands-off processes allow for greater cost efficiency.
  • Secure. Layers of defense throughout a cloud grid will assure service reliability, prevent outages, and protect citizens.

The result is an intelligent, integrated cloud infrastructure that is pivotal to a Smart City’s evolution. Some amazing technology advances are making it possible for complex systems to be managed—and self-managed—remotely and efficiently. A flood of recently published case studies show how, in practical terms, high connectivity is essential to a new future for buildings and cities, and to the urban economy as a whole.

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Cisco Management to Make Your Data Center More Efficient

There is a lot of buzz in the market about Cisco Cloupia and how it is
positioned relative to other Cisco solutions such as Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud.   The term cloud is often used interchangeably for automated infrastructure provisioning as well as for true clouds, as mentioned in my previous blog.  To better understand where these solutions should play in your data center’s cloud journey, I offer the following explanation.

Historically, to keep pace with the growth of business applications and the data they generate, IT infrastructure resources were deployed in a silo-like configuration.   One set of resources was devoted to one particular computer technology, business application or line of business.    These resources were not always optimized and could not be reconfigured or shared to support varying workloads. Read More »

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Financial Management for the Enterprise Cloud

One of the most exciting things about Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud (Cisco IAC) is its ability to deliver the self-service agility and flexibility that a business requires to drive its success.  Capacity is instantly available when needed, enabling creative innovation to bear fruit much faster (think research institutions executing millions of computations, software engineers developing new applications, or retailers launching holiday marketing campaigns.)

The benefits of cloud computing are obvious but what about the costs? For example, how do you know which resources a particular project is tied to and whether it makes good business sense?  How do you make sure your users shut down services when they’re no longer needed?  And how do you implement a cost model to charge back IT costs to the proper business unit or project?

These are questions that are bubbling to the surface of many enterprise cloud discussions, which is why I’m particularly excited to announce our new partner, Cloud Cruiser.  Cloud Cruiser has integrated their financial management system with Intelligent Automation for Cloud, enabling enterprises to take control of their IT spending and use the granular cost information it gathers to drive better business decisions.

By implementing a financial management solution designed for the cloud, enterprise IT becomes a partner to the lines of business, providing valuable insight into the IT costs associated with the projects and applications they deploy.  Chargeback gives business units the advantage of only paying for the resources that they use, resulting in both a reduction of waste (who wants to pay for those VMs that are no longer being used?) and more educated IT spending decisions, such as whether to use internal or external IT resources for a particular project. Self-service budgets and reports make users more fiscally responsible for the resources they deploy, driving costs down and productivity up.

In short, Cloud Cruiser and Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud work together to help enterprises make the most of their enterprise private cloud by delivering better service at lower cost.

To see how Cloud Cruiser for Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud works, view this short video:

Read the joint solution brief and web page to learn more about Cloud Cruiser for Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud.

 

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