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Cloud: The Next Truly Transformative Innovation

From the IT Executive Symposium at Cisco Live 2012

We all dream of inventing the next breakthrough product, or creating the next company that no one can live without. The truth, however, is that innovation rarely occurs that way. Innovation isn’t just about invention—it’s about creating value. And it isn’t just important—it’s critical to a company’s growth and success.

Every few decades, something truly innovative occurs—a transformative development with global impact. The human species has pulled away from the rest of the animal kingdom predominantly because of our ability to communicate and collaborate. Every time we make a major improvement in the communication/collaboration arena, innovation accelerates at an exponential rate, and humankind moves forward dramatically. The printing press moved us from spoken transmission taking months, to printed materials that could reach the masses in weeks. The telephone gave us instant communication over any distance. The Internet moved us from paper to electronic processes. And today, we are on the cusp of the next truly transformative innovation: the cloud. Read More »

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Software Defined Networking for Service Providers: Data Center Fabric Analogies breakdown in the WAN

Lately I’ve been seeing some industry people trying to apply the principles of data center network fabric models to their Wide Area Networks (WANs), and implying that such can be extended through service provider WANs.  Data center fabrics and WANs are horses of very different colors with way too many differences for these perspectives to hold up.

Fundamentally they are different beasts with one more easily tamed than the other.   Data center networks generally have well known end points and well-ordered designs.

Multi-tenant Data Center Designs

Bandwidth within data centers is virtually unlimited relative to WAN bandwidth.  It is much more stable and constrained in its characteristics when it comes to things like latency, loss, jitter, capacity, restoration capabilities – all of which have significant influence on WAN services delivery.  The same data center network assumptions exist between each of the end points, which makes fabric modeling for data centers generally a good approximation and thus possible to use.

Some private WANs that interconnect data centers may align closely enough with a fabric model, making it a good enough approximation.  But this is a unique case and is essentially Read More »

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Cisco WebEx Telepresence: Cisco Extends WebEx Beyond Web Conferencing to Now Include Social and Telepresence

We all know that in-person communications matter. According to a recent study by The Economist Intelligence Unit, 75% of Global Business Leaders state it is critical for business success. Nothing compares to it when it comes to making a first impression, managing a crisis, brainstorming creative solutions to a problem, or kicking off a new project.

But in today’s global workplace, facilitating in-person meetings is more and more difficult with a workforce that’s increasingly shifted by time and location.  Even among video conferencing systems the only solution that provides a natural “in-person” meeting experience is telepresence . Telepresence creates the intimacy of an in-room meeting, keeps employee engagement high and increases effectiveness by bringing participants together virtually.

Read More »

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Extending the Cisco WebEx Cloud Platform to Social Collaboration

With advanced collaboration technologies like video conferencing and enterprise social software, companies are rethinking the way they traditionally have done business. Social collaboration adds a new layer to the communication experience, allowing companies to innovate, grow, expand into new markets and increase productivity. It can provide unmatched benefits to an organization including:

  • Easier access to resources and expertise
  • Contextual, real-time communications through integration with voice, IM, conferencing and video.
  • Time and resource savings that drive better utilization of existing systems
  • Social networking with less risk though rules-based policy management
  • Simplified content management
  • More effective information discovery

This week at Enterprise 2.0 in Boston, Cisco makes some announcements around our social collaboration strategy and the extension of our market leading Cisco WebEx cloud, which I describe in detail in this video blog. Read More »

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Cisco Live Update on Intelligent Automation for Cloud – The Journey and How Cisco Partners Help IT Shops Get to Cloud

Being at Cisco Live was a very different experience for me this year.  Previous years I spent most of my time in the Intelligent Automation booth discussing functionality in the areas of service catalogs, portals, and orchestration workflows.  It was mostly a technical conversation of how to build private cloud catalogs and how to provision infrastructure.  This year my Cisco Live experience started off in talking to about 80 partners at the Cisco Connected Architecture Forum Summit; a very interesting crowd.   It was here that I talked about what Cisco IT and our Intelligent Automation Solutions Business Unit experience was in deploying private clouds for end users.  I discussed Cisco’s private cloud CITEIS, and our new product release Intelligent Automation for Cloud Starter Edition.   I discussed Physical and Virtual Clouds and there was much interest in the concept of a services portal and automation construct for both Physical and Virtual clouds, something that is enabled very elegantly with the UCS Manager API.  Partners asked great questions:  How quickly can they deploy this starter cloud?  How do customers chart out their journey to the cloud?  Where do they start and what do they do first?  Great conversations ensued…

Service Delivery Partners are a key strategy for the deployment of Cisco Cloud software stack.   Watch the following interview with Sydney Morgan of Cisco IT and Dave Kinsman from World Wide Technologies, a partner of ours in this area as we talk about the Journey to Cloud and our experiences on the deployment side.

I  spent the rest of Cisco Live talking to some great IT organizations about their cloud plans and journey that they are on.  Some interesting examples are:

Financial Services:  This customer of ours was focused on the deployment of cloud and the changes to the organization as they were coming off of Mainframe centric workloads, deploying them to x86 architectures on UCS.  How the application developers would use the newly minted cloud was top of mind.

Service Provider:  Many Cloud Service Providers are right at the intersection of business and technology:  what service offers can I offer out of the chute to differentiate my company?  Discussions around how our IA for Cloud technology stack and pre-built services and automation can make that easier.  We also discussed the need and desire to train up their staff to become service designers and workflow authors.

Manufacturer:  This customer is focused on operational efficiency and how automation software can reduce the mundane and routine tasks in operations.   Replication of system configuration in a standardized way allows their deep application support teams to focus on differentiating their business.

We are now in the thick of that Journey.

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