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Ready, Set, Optimize! The Emergence of a Diverse Set of Clouds

All eyes were on TIA this week as leaders from across the telecommunications industry gathered at Inside the Network to discuss the hottest and most challenging issues facing telcos today. I participated Wednesday morning in a cloud panel discussion at TIA with lively interplay on telcos’ role in cloud, differentiation, and key success factors on which to focus. The takeaway was this: there’s no easy answer, but plenty of opportunity for those who can figure out a formula that works for their firm.

What we do know is that the rush to cloud is on, but this is no five lane superhighway with everyone barreling ahead in the same direction. It’s a journey with many possible paths, and once you set off in one direction it can be difficult to reverse course. Two themes that were common throughout the Read More »

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Cisco Live DCV Social Media Activities: Connect to Your Community

June 6, 2012 at 9:48 pm PST

Cisco Live 2012 is almost here. Hello San Diego! Time to make the difficult decision regarding partitioning luggage space between  tech and clothes. The informal Twitter poll indicates tech is winning. Don’t forget the chargers, because there’s a lot going on.

Bacon and Waffles Tweetup on Tuesday!
Bacon and Waffles Tweetup on Tuesday!

Now that I’ve got your full attention, here’s a rundown of some of the social media activities happening at Cisco Live this year.

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Partner Differentiation in a Cloud Services Era

As Chief Strategist of the Worldwide Partner Organization, I often speak with partners about their value-add, differentiation, and profitability. Here are some thoughts on how the traditional partner differentiation model needs to evolve in the cloud market place.

Partner profitability has always been driven by the unique value that partners add to surround the offerings from their suppliers. This can be in the form of integration with other third-party products, their own pre- and post-sales services, or even custom service level agreements. The more unique this differentiation, the higher is the partner margin on the transaction; and the more relevant their proposed solution is for the customer, the higher is their probability of winning the order. It is not surprising to see two Cisco partners – one making 12% gross margin and the other making over 25% on similar transactions due to their differing value propositions. Both business models are valid as long as the partner is managing the overhead against the subject margin they are receiving.

Over the past decade, channel partners have typically created unique value propositions around the Customer Premise Equipment (CPE) they have been reselling to end customers. This proposition may include having the lowest price, providing fast delivery, conducting pre-delivery testing or configuration, on-site installation or integration, and many others. These CPE related on-premise value propositions are still relevant in the cloud builder role, but are often not applicable to a cloud services reselling role.

It is clear that the market is moving rapidly to cloud adoption based on new consumption models. According to UBM (United Business Media), 37% of all IT spend will be off-premise in 2013 and there will also be an 11% decline in CPE sales next year. Channel partners need to create new value propositions to differentiate themselves when they resell new cloud services instead of CPE to their customers. In some ways, this requires a return to basics: Read More »

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Part 2: 10 Things Vmware Server Admins Should Know About Self-Service Catalogs and Lifecycle Management

This is part 2 of the series “10 Things Vmware Server Admins Should Know About Self-Service Catalogs and Lifecycle Management” that I’ll be publishing over the next couple of weeks.

Number 2. The service catalog is the place where your user can document (communicate) their request

Let me show you an example.

If you go to an e-commerce storefront and choose to look at Cisco UCS servers, they are broken down their servers into classes (Rack, Blade, etc), which then provides different models, which can then be customized within the parameters allowed for that model.  I’m not saying this makes sense for your environment, but the break down between classes, models, and then self-service configuration is a useful construct for thinking about your templates.

What are your standard classes of environment you provide?  Could it be production, development, QA?  What about models? Could those be on-line transaction processing, extranet, intranet HR, basic web server, basic database?

We would want to ask entirely different set of questions and configuration options for an extranet, high transaction database than for a personal development environment, wouldn’t we?

It’d also make our job much simpler and faster if we know what parameters were involved for that particular request.

The service catalog is key to enable your customers to:

  1. Discover what’s available me
  2. Guide me based on my high level needs,
  3. Help me compare models, then
  4. Assist me in customizing my configuration.

And of course all the tracking, workflow and life-cycle management that the service catalog enables.  This is what makes a service catalog different from a “web form front-end” to a help desk — automation is the big difference.

 

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Cisco’s Data Center and Cloud Team at Gartner IT Summit this Week

June 4, 2012 at 9:22 am PST

Will you be at the Gartner IT Infrastructure Operations and Management Summit in Orlando this week?  The Cisco data center and cloud team is.

We’ll be featuring our Unified Data Center and Unified Management solutions, including UCS and Intelligent Automation for Cloud.  And our experts will be on hand to discuss key topics including data center virtualization, desktop virtualization, and private cloud.

Even if you won’t be at the event, you can get a preview by watching this 20 minute video webcast on how to get started with a private cloud. Register and view the webcast here.

And if you are going to the Gartner summit this week, here are some Cisco activities that you won’t want to miss:

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