Guest Blog Post by Stephen Nola, Group Executive, IT-as-a-Service, Dimension Data
At Dimension Data we are all about accelerating ambition and this includes enabling Cisco’s ambition to build the world’s largest global Intercloud, a network of clouds to address customer requirements for a globally distributed, highly secure cloud platform. Dimension Data is partnering with Cisco to provide our cloud technology in Cisco-branded managed service offerings and the public cloud – a core component of the enterprise hybrid IT solution.
As cloud adoption is maturing, companies are taking a more holistic approach to incorporating cloud into the modern IT landscape. This transformation is increasingly application centric which means that organisations will be sourcing multiple delivery models that are best aligned to applications that are fit for cloud, born for the cloud, and not for the cloud, ever.
The formula for hybrid IT will include public and private cloud, managed hosting and managed services on and off premises. Cisco realizes that Dimension Data’s highly connected and integrated solutions leverage new and flexible consumption models for enterprises all over the world. In fact, Dimension Data offers our Managed Cloud Platform on five continents with datacenters strategically located to address regulatory compliance and data sovereignty for multi-national companies.
Dimension Data has been accelerating adoption of Cisco technology for over 23 years. Inclusion in the Intercloud ecosystem is good for our clients and will enable greater reach for Dimension Data’s Cloud. As Cisco Intercloud subscribers, enterprises around the world will leverage Dimension Data’s global network of inter-connected cloud datacenters as a core component of their hybrid cloud strategy. Dimension Data is proud of our Cisco heritage and our strategic partnership that will take our companies and our clients into the future.
Stephen Nola, Group Executive – ITaaS Steve was appointed Group Executive – ItaaS in 2013. Since he joined Dimension Data in 1989, Steve has held a number of key roles in the Group. In 2011, he was appointed Chief Executive Officer, Cloud Business Unit. Prior to this, Steve was Chief Executive Officer of Dimension Data Australia from 2001. Before being appointed Chief Executive Officer for the Australia region, Steve was Chief Executive Officer for Dimension Data Integration, and Joint Managing Director of Dimension Data Australia. Before joining Dimension Data Australia (formerly known as Com Tech Communications) Steve worked for Telstra from 1987 to 1989. Steve is a member of the advisory board at RMIT for the Bachelor of Information Technology course and a member of the Starlight Foundation Victoria Board. He holds a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering (Honours) from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT), majoring in robotics.
Just a few years ago, I’d go out for an occasional weekend drive to take in the splendor of Northern California, and leave my mobile phone and various gadgets behind.
Those days are long gone.
Over time, smart devices and connectivity have transformed my life – as I’m sure they have yours – and become essential to function in today’s modern world.
By 2020, there will be an estimated 50 billion objects connected to the Internet. Organizations and even individuals that effectively use these connections will achieve significant advantages, including more efficient and enjoyable experiences.
And service providers are in an enviable position, sitting at the center of the Internet of Everything (IoE), bringing together people, processes, data, and things to make networked connections more relevant and valuable than ever before. IoE is turning information into actions that create new capabilities, richer experiences, and unprecedented economic opportunity for businesses, individuals, and countries.
The stakes are high.
From smart grid and smart buildings to environmental sensors and mobile consumer experiences, Cisco predicts that between now and 2022, $19 trillion in value is at stake for organizations willing to take advantage of the immense IoE opportunity.
Today’s announcement expands the reach of the Intercloud by 250 additional data centers in 50 countries, and advances Cisco’s OpenStack based cloud strategy to address customer requirements for a globally distributed, highly secure cloud platform capable of meeting the robust demands of the Internet of Everything. Cisco’s open approach to the Intercloud is designed for high-value application workloads, with real-time analytics and “near infinite” scalability and allows local hosting and local provider options that enable data sovereignty around the world.
Essentially, there are three components to this Intercloud strategy that set us apart from other companies. It starts with Cisco’s cloud architectural solutions including UCS, our Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI), and a networks functions virtualization (NFV) driven policy. The second component is network connectivity and providing the user with the right quality of service (QoS) experience for their application workloads. And the third component is our partners, who play a critical role in building out this network of clouds from a data center, network, application acceleration and compliance/data sovereignty perspective. In this blog I’d like to delve further into network connectivity and the role that our newest hosting partner, Equinix, plays in powering our Intercloud vision.
Importance of Network Connectivity in Hybrid Cloud
The role of the CIO has to move from a builder of services for the enterprise to an orchestrator of services across private clouds and various public clouds. This hybrid cloud orchestration has to be secure, hypervisor independent, manageable and compliant with all the enterprise’s IT policies across the full IT stack and across all the clouds. Cisco’s Intercloud capabilities are designed to do exactly this and will be enhanced by enabling the orchestration to be carried out in a private hosted environment where these cloud providers will be virtually located within the same exchange. This will facilitate workload interconnections between cloud providers in true hybrid cloud fashion with the lowest application latency and secure workload management for customers.
Where better to do this than in Equinix’s data centers and through the Equinix Cloud Exchange (ECX)? As the world’s largest IBX data center and colocation provider, the company offers fast application performance and low latency routes across all continents. The company provides a global interconnection platform called Equinix Cloud Exchange that hosts private clouds for enterprise customers and facilitates over 135,000 connections among more than 4,500 customers. Cisco will enable the Equinix Cloud Exchange to deliver secure private cloud access to the rich ecosystem of cloud service providers in Equinix data centers globally and to deploy Cisco Intercloud capabilities in 16 Equinix markets across Europe, Asia and the Americas. Equinix also plans to deploy key Cisco technologies and services across its Cloud Exchange, including the Cisco Nexus 9000 Series switch, Cisco APIC, and the Cisco Evolved Services Platform.
For Equinix this announcement significantly enhances their value proposition to the CIO. Their Equinix Cloud Exchange solution will now be able to guarantee full bi-directional workload portability across any hypervisor and full extensible application policy compliance across all services and clouds. This will enhance their already unique interconnect capabilities, lowest latency capabilities and extensive global footprint.
Beginning and Ending with Network Connectivity
So it is all about the connectivity, but this is not a new proposition. It’s one that has been proven consistently over the last 30 years. When networks first emerged they were proprietary, did not interoperate and as a result customers had to choose which one to use. Cisco and our partners played a major role in seamlessly connecting them together to create the Internet. As a result, business processes were transformed, billions of dollars of value was created and a large successful partner ecosystem emerged. As we look at the cloud landscape today we see several similarities – many independent closed and proprietary clouds which were designed to maximize vendor revenue rather than enable interoperability, security and compliance. The combined value of Cisco and Equinix will provide fast, open, secure connectivity and will unleash the value of hybrid cloud for enterprises globally.
Together with our partners we will connect the clouds to create the Intercloud.
Thirty years ago, two engineers – Cisco’s founders – solved a connectivity problem between two network islands on the Stanford University campus, and paved the way for three dramatic decades of Internet-driven innovation.
Today, there’s hardly an aspect of our lives that isn’t touched by the Internet. For large and mid-size enterprises, government and education, the Internet has forced major transitions and none has been more transformative than cloud.
Organizations are adopting cloud in all its forms – infrastructure-as-a-service to solve their workload requirements, software-as-a-service for new application needs – and they are leveraging the cloud to create new product and service innovations with mobile, collaboration and analytics solutions. According to industry analysts, the cloud market will top $144 billion in 2016 and has more than doubled since 2012. (Source: Cisco Market Estimates, July 2014)
The impact of cloud is unquestionable. Our customers and partners know they can leverage the cloud to fuel top-line growth by improving their business agility and reach, and by enabling new product service innovation for their customers and citizens. They also recognize that cloud can improve their bottom-line economics, foster innovation and drive economic growth and productivity.
Today, the lack of ability to connect public clouds, and to move workloads and associated policies between clouds, coupled with an inability to manage public and private clouds together as a single capability, prevents IT organizations from buying cloud services from any vendor they choose and managing these services as if they were part of their extended private cloud.
IT departments also need to enable business globally while operating within the constraints of national and regional regulations governing data privacy, security and data sovereignty. Today’s largely global (but not local) cloud solutions don’t provide this either.
Finding a molecule with the potential to become a new drug is complicated. It’s time-consuming. Fewer than 10 percent of molecules or compounds discovered are promising enough to enter the development pipeline. And fewer of those ever come to market. At Pfizer, if it were not for data virtualization, it would be even more challenging.
Years of Data, Thousands of Decisions
The pipeline from discovery to licensing occurs in phases over 15-20 years, and few compounds complete the journey. The initial study phase represents a multimillion-dollar investment decision. Each succeeding phase – proof-of-concept study, dose range study, and large-scale population study – represents a magnitude-larger investment and risk than the one before.
Senior management and portfolio managers need to know:
Which projects the company should fund?
Which compounds are meeting Pfizer’s high standards for efficacy and safety?
What are scientists discovering in clinical trials?
Portfolio and project managers routinely make complex tactical decisions such as:
How to allocate scarce R&D resources across different projects?
How to prioritize multiple development scenarios?
What is impact of a clinical trial result on downstream manufacturing?
Before Pfizer adopted Cisco Data Virtualization, getting useful data to answer these questions took weeks or months. Why so long? The problem has several dimensions. First, each phase of development generates massive amounts of data and requires extensive analysis to provide an accurate picture. Second, data comes from Pfizer research scientists all over the world; from physicians; clinical trials; product owners and managers; marketing teams; and hundreds of different back-end systems. Third, the scientific method is based on trial and error, with unpredictable results. Thus no two decisions are alike and therefore the specific data required for each decision is unique.
Data Virtualization Provides the Solution
To support their decision-making needs, Pfizer needed a solution that would allow them to pull all this diverse information together in an agile, ad hoc way. Cisco Data Virtualization – agile data integration software that makes it easy to access and gather relevant data, no matter where data sources reside – provided the solution.
With Cisco Data Virtualization, Pfizer’s research and portfolio data resides in one virtual place and provides “one version of the truth” that is available for everyone to use to address the myriad decisions that arise. Further, by applying virtualization instead of consolidation, infrastructure costs are also reduced.
According to Pfizer, “data virtualization is far less expensive than building specialized data marts to answer questions. With Cisco Data Virtualization, our portfolio teams get answers in hours or days for about one-tenth the cost.”
This data virtualization progress has not gone unnoticed. At Data Virtualization Day 2012, Pfizer was awarded the “Data Virtualization Champion” award for consistently achieving and promoting data virtualization value within the organization and across the industry.
Learn from other leaders in the industry and see who wins this year’s Data Virtualization Leadership Awards at Data Virtualization Day 2014 on October 1. Register now!
To read more about this Pfizer case study click here.
To learn more about Cisco Data Virtualization, check out our page.