No matter which hemisphere you’re in, the season is beginning to change and the new season reminds me of a few changes and constants. Here in the San Francisco Bay area, the weather will soon be getting colder, the trees on the local hills will turn their leaves a different color, and traffic congestion picks up as local workers return from their vacations. But these changes are not out of the ordinary and we’re used to dealing with them. A little preparation, knowledge, and flexibility–whether dressing appropriately, admiring the beautiful seasonal transitions, and shifting a commute schedule–keep us going and happy.
Likewise, major changes in the cloud and data center are upon us, but we’ve seen transitions like this before in IT. Proper training, strong partnering, and accepting that progress is inevitable will position you for success on the pathway to Cloud delivery.
An example of one of our customers moving to the Cloud is Entel. Based in Chile, Entel has worked to integrate the power of data center computing with the intelligence of the network in a Unified Service Delivery approach. Here is a short video our global team put together with Entel.
It’s exciting to see customers using Cisco UCS servers and Nexus data center switching to deliver cloud services flexibly, at scale, and with a pay-per-use model and meeting with good success. In its portfolio of services, Entel can offer virtualization as well as Cloud services to their customers based upon specific needs. By combining the network and compute, Entel has what could be considered the most advanced data center in Chile. Their ability to offer any service with high availability quickly to the market puts them in a spot of opportunity and if that sounds good to you, please leave a comment on this blog.
This week is a big step forward for the OpenStack community as we come together at the Design Summit to share our ideas about building the Essex release, the current development release from OpenStack scheduled for final release in the spring of 2012. I’m at the OpenStack Summit, and the excitement and feeling of participation in the creation of this important new platform is everywhere.
So what am I doing there and what is Cisco doing with OpenStack? First off, OpenStack represents Cisco’s strategy in action, helping customers build and use clouds. Our partnering effort in OpenStack represents a big part of our progress this year. By our efforts, we are ensuring that OpenStack performs well with Cisco technologies, and hopefully will contribute to the advancement of the cloud computing through abstractions and APIs that enable rich use of networking technologies and services.
Here are a few highlights of Cisco’s involvement to date, all of which will play into the activity in Boston this week:
John Deere, working with integration and technology partners Prime Technologies (now Kubica) and AeroScout, used the existing Cisco Wi-Fi networking nodes that it had already installed throughout the facility to avoid the expense of installing RFID readers for a new manufacturing solution.
John Deere MaxEmergeXP
Here’s the story: John Deere’s Seeding Group factory in Moline, Ill. was seeking an automated solution to improve on its manual work in process manufacturing system. It wanted to increase efficiency in the way it replenished welding material as well as improve the way it carried out processes at its assembly stations at the plant. The factory in question assembles John Deere’s row-crop planter machines -- the MaxEmerge XP range - that are used by farmers to deposit a variety of seed in soils and seedbeds.
The new system uses a wireless back-haul to a Cisco infrastructure that enables the SAP, reporting and programmable logic controller (PLC) systems to communicate live. It’s intended to improve material replenishment and reduce delays caused by waiting for materials in its welding areas. It allows the equipment manufacturer’s kitting staff to boost material replenishment speed, and allows assembly workers to prepare for specific equipment as it approaches their assembly stations. The RFID Journal Story goes into excellent detail on the wip process and the process improvement, but I did want to reiterate some of the key business metrics:
“Our goal was to improve Takt time *,” says Shay O’Neal, John Deere Seeding Group’s project manager, who expects the reduction to increase from what he estimates may be about 5 percent improvement in Takt time thus far. He reckons there has been a 40 percent reduction in cycle time because of the improvement in replenishment. He has also seen a decrease in overtime work undertaken by kitting staff at the welding station. “I was pleasantly surprised to see how well the system met our needs,” O’Neal said in the RFID Journal article.
John Deere has seen a 40 percent increase in efficiency in welding due to improvements in material replenishment and fewer delays caused by waiting for materials in its welding areas.
On the assembly line, the system provides a view into the work in process (WIP), which thus far has reduced the cycle time (Takt) it takes to assemble a single product by about 5 percent.
Since existing Cisco Wi-Fi nodes read the RFID tag of each seeder as it passes from one assembly station to another, indicating where it has been and what its next assembly location will be, John Deere avoided the expense of installing RFID readers.
Organizations planning a move to the cloud should consider which cloud model is right for their business and objectives. This consideration extends beyond just public and private cloud models. The journey to cloud is focused on building or evolving the network platform to enable automation and unleash IT. Regardless of cloud approach or business goals—cost reduction, growth, agility—it’s the first and most important step.
At Cisco we’ve learned from our own cloud journey. We learned that the network is the lynchpin and enabler of adaptable IT service delivery. This guiding principle has enabled us to provide dynamic and reliable products and solutions to help our customers seize innovation, accelerate business and drive outcomes; all through the cloud.
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This is the second section of our two part interview with Brent Cobb, Cbeyond’s Chief Revenue and Customer Officer. The first part is located here.
How will IPv6 Transition affect your customers?
Cbeyond has been watching IPv6 unfold since the late 90s. Today the company is in the implementation phase of its transition to support IPv6, and we’ve chosen Cisco’s Carrier Grade v6 (CGv6) implementation as its solution. To us IPv6 will impact how the plumbing of the Internet works – but we try to take the really sophisticated technology of operating a network and applications out of the discussion and service delivery to the small business into the discussion. The majority won’t be impacted directly by IPv6 because Cbeyond will make changes within our network, within our data centers, and within our application environment so our customers don’t have to understand the difference between v4 and v6. It will be transparent to our customers because we’ll handle the complexity.