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Take Out the Stress of Choosing the Right Cloud Provider

For many organizations, buying cloud services can be stressful. After all, as your business moves more and more into the cloud, you need to know your services and cloud provider are as reliable or better than if these services originated from within your own data center.

Buying cloud services can feel a lot like buying a car. How many of us really know what’s going on under the hood? We look at a few key stats like gas mileage and drive it around the block. Yeah, it accelerates and brakes. We know we’re safe and going to get relatively good gas efficiency. After all, cars have to meet certain standards. So in the end the decision comes down to price and comfort features such as how much we like the center console and cup holder.

But not all clouds are created equal. Low pricing and a fancy user portal are nice, but they aren’t what keep your business growing. Is best-effort service good enough for your operations? Can your organization afford to experience down time? Does your provider offer the flexibility you could get from other providers? Is your service truly enterprise-class?

The good news is that, just like there are standards in the car industry, there are standards for cloud. Services that are Cisco Powered, for example, have to meet strict requirements to carry the Cisco Powered logo. These requirements include certification and a third-party audit of every service to verify they deliver as promised.

You can learn more about what it takes to have confidence in your cloud provider from our partner, OneNeck. In their recent blog, “How to Reliably Offload IT Management to the Cloud,” they share a comprehensive list of factors to consider when choosing a cloud provider.
Selecting the right cloud provider and services doesn’t have to be frustrating and arbitrary. By understanding what comprises a reliable cloud, you can ask the right questions to ensure your provider is the best partner for your business.

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Cisco Announces Intent to Acquire Metacloud

Today, Cisco takes another important step towards realizing our plans to create the world’s largest global Intercloud – a worldwide network of interconnected clouds and cloud service providers.

Our intent to acquire Metacloud, an OpenStack-based private cloud-as-a-service company, advances our strategy and delivers value to customers—right now. Metacloud provides IT teams with another way to accelerate their journey to the cloud and to gain an on-ramp to the Intercloud. By catalyzing the creation of the Intercloud, Cisco can fundamentally transform how IT and cloud services are bought, sold, aggregated and consumed.

Cisco’s vision is for an OpenStack-based Intercloud that allows organizations and users to combine and move high-value workloads – including data and applications – across different public or private clouds as needed. Doing so easily and securely, while maintaining essential network and security policies as well as full compliance with local data sovereignty laws, is critical.

Metacloud deploys, operates and manages OpenStack-based production-ready private clouds in any customer data center. Together, Cisco and Metacloud will enable the creation of hybrid cloud environments that combine service provider public cloud deployments with remotely-managed OpenStack private clouds. Bottom line for customers: More agility for less money.

Our customers and partners see the value proposition clearly and have rallied around Cisco’s Intercloud vision and strategy over the last year. Many leading companies are working with us in the adoption of the Intercloud. Among them, key service providers and cloud providers, as well as important technology partners, including Dimension Data, Johnson Controls, NetApp, Red Hat, Sungard, Telstra, and VCE.

Metacloud will become a critical part of our Cloud Services portfolio under the leadership of Faiyaz Shahpurwala.

Stay tuned for more details in the weeks to come!

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Three Steps to Secure Cloud Enablement

I’ve been pretty forthcoming in sharing my belief that the security industry in general continues to struggle to transition from old ways to new, and that in today’s day and age we have to adapt quickly. The rise of mobile computing and communications (users, data, services) combined with increasing volumes of cloud services data traffic (from, to, and via) intersecting with the hacking community’s ever-increasing capabilities, all have made me more than a bit on edge.

I recently participated in an on-line webinar, teaming up with a cloud services provider and a cloud security solutions vendor. It would be indiscreet for me to name the companies in this blog or signal any kind of Cisco “endorsement,” but speaking personally, they are on the right track in a number of ways.

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Cisco Global Intercloud : Open and Interoperable

Enterprises have taken on many cloud computing opportunities but for the most part the adoption of applications on the cloud is very early and mostly for new applications and for development and test use cases.  Many  enterprise applications have not been considered for cloud due to their legacy deployment models or application architecture.

Many companies have made the mistake of thinking that legacy enterprise virtualization technology, enterprise  software methodology, enterprise provisioning systems, and enterprise management systems will survive their company’s business transformation.  Unfortunately time and time again these systems are not able to scale, adapt quickly enough for the business, and frequently cost up to 10 times more than open source based  solutions.

The reason for this lies in the power of community and the scalability of software propose-built for scale and adaptability.  OpenStack definitely fits this requirement and has finally matured enough to be a force in the  transformation of your enterprise business.  Cisco announced the largest global Intercloud, which is based on OpenStack and other open source software to deliver a cloud that can scale to 100s of thousands of virtual  instances and 100s of instances provisioned in minutes.

Cloudservices

As important as that is for cloud scale, interoperability, and adaptability, the message in this announcement is   much bigger.  Cisco is committed to OpenStack and open source projects and is taking the lead in developing  and driving software defined network, network function virtualization, application policy control, cloud  optimized computing, security, orchestration, and service assurance innovations back to the open source  community . Cisco’s contribution focus is operationalizing Openstack for the enterprise scale, reliability, networking, and compute scheduling needs. In Havana, Cisco contributions included the Neutron Cisco plugin framework, feature additions to the Nexus plugin for physical Cisco Nexus switches, introduction of the new Cisco Nexus 1000v virtual switch plugin, and actively leading and participating in the design of the Neutron Modular Layer 2 plugin framework. Cisco’s contribution in these and other areas, such as Layer 3, Firewall and VPN network services including yesterday’s announcement highlighting additional IETF contributions Cisco  introduced with the OpFlex protocol for application centric infrastructure (ACI) .

Join us as we transform the cloud from legacy virtualization technology and custom code that does not scale to  an agile cloud platform that scales and adapts at the speed your business requires.  All supported by an international community of architects, engineers, and developers with your enterprise business interest in mind. Lastly, designed from the bottom up to interoperate with the most popular clouds on the market today while future-proofed via the abstractions in our software innovations.  Cisco is committed to this approach because we believe that a world of many clouds requires openness and interoperability to allow you maximize your  business benefit.  Let’s see what we can accomplish together.

You may want also read a previous blog
What makes Cisco Cloud Services Application centric ?

You can also follow me on Twitter @kenowens12

 

 

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Steria Group : 5 Years of Cloud Business Expansion with Cisco UCS

As we have been celebrating over the past weeks the Cisco UCS 5 year anniversary, here is another great example of an enthusiastic customer and partner .

Steria has been amongst the early adopters of Cisco UCS in 2009, as the IT organization was looking for innovative solutions.

5 years after the inception,  Eric Fradet , CTO on Infrastructure Management, reflected on the achievements and shared at Cisco Live Milan how transformative for his IT organization this “bold” move was .
Thanks to the UCS deployment, Steria has been able to develop quickly cloud services, starting with the IaaS and PaaS offers, and moving now into the desktop-as-a-service with an offer called Workplace on Command.
Amongst the qualities brought to the market by the UCS concept,  Eric Fradet was prompt to highlight the performances, the ease of deployment and the security .
And it was with great delight that a very satisfied customer  wished a warm “bon anniversaire” to UCS!

Actually the story of Steria is quite remarkable as the offer evolved recently to embrace the desktop with the deployement of Cisco Prime Service Catalog [ Spoiler alert : Stay tuned for more good news around Cisco Prime Service Catalog – Check Phillip Han’s blog on this topic in the following days ]

Already one of the largest providers of IT-enabled business services in Europe, Steria is also becoming a global player with a growing presence in India, North  Africa, and South East Asia. With proven consulting skills, and expertise in IT and business process outsourcing, the company decided that the time was right to extend its offer to the cloud with offers targeting enterprise users .
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