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Reflections on the Cloud Expo in Silicon Valley and How Do I Know My Apps are Working in the Cloud?

Cloud Expo was indeed a very interesting juxtaposition of people espousing the value of cloud and how their stuff is really cloudy.  You have a group of presenters and expo floor booths talking about their open API and how that is the future of cloud.  Then you have the other camp that tells us how their special mix of functions is so much better than that.   All of this is a very interesting dialog.  APIs are indeed very important.  If your technology is indeed a cloud operating model then you must have an API.   Solutions like Cisco’s Intelligent Automation for Cloud rely on those APIs to orchestrate cloud services.   But APIs are not the end all.   The reality is that while the cloud discussions tend to center on the API and the model behind that API, the real change enabling the move towards cloud is the operating model of the users who are leveraging the cloud for a completely fresh game plan for their businesses.

James Urquhart’s recent blog:   http://gigaom.com/cloud/what-cloud-boils-down-to-for-the-enterprise-2/ highlights that the real change for users of the cloud is modifying how they do development, test, capacity management, production operations and disaster recovery.  My last blog talked about the world before cloud management and automation and the move from the old world model to the new models of dev/test or dev/ops that force the application architects, developers, and QA folks to radically alter  their model.   Those that adopt the cloud without changing their “software factory” model from one that Henry Ford would recognize to the new models may not get the value they are looking for out of the cloud.

At Cloud Expo I saw a lot of very interesting software packages.   Some of them went really deep into a specific use case area, while others accomplished a lot of functional use cases that were only about a inch deep.   As product teams build out software packages for commercial use, they have a very interesting and critical decision point that will drive the value proposition of the software product.  It seems to me that within 2 years, just about all entrants in the cloud management and automation marathon will begin to converge on a simple focused yet broad set of use cases.   Each competitor will be either directly driving their product to that point, or they will be forced to that spot by the practical aspects of customers voting with the wallets.  Interestingly enough, this whole process it drives competition and will yield great value for the VP of Operations and VP of Applications of companies moving their applications to the cloud.

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Cisco Unveils New Ways to Collaborate in the Post-PC Era

At the Cisco Collaboration Summit 2011 in Miami today, Cisco unveiled new solutions to help people collaborate more effectively in the post-PC era. This era moves past the limitations of “PC centric” communication and instead evokes a “people centric” approach where people can collaborate anywhere, anytime and on any device or application. The advancements Cisco is introducing today --from Cisco WebEx to Cisco Jabber — can change how people meet utilizing expanded cloud-based services, and can give workers an easy way to collaborate directly from Web applications they use every day, driving new levels of business productivity and competitiveness.

I sat down with Murali Sitaram, Vice President and General Manager of the Cisco Collaboration Software Group, at Collaboration Summit to learn more about these new announcements and how they fit into Cisco strategy.

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Intelligent Automation for Cloud Value Calculator

The customers I talk to know that deploying a private or hybrid cloud will both save them money on IT operations and make them more agile to respond to the business.  There is a low grade euphoria over the cloud opportunity that gets the conversation going.  The conversation drives development of both our solution and our customers’ sophistication in thinking about how and why they will use Intelligent Automation for Cloud (CIAC).

However, finance guys and IT management don’t get that feel-good feeling over the opportunity or even the coolness of the technology in the absence of dollar numbers to motivate them.

Nor should they.

We are in a part of high-tech that does not do technology for technology’s sake.  We do it because it makes business sense.

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Bringing the Cloud to the Developing World

By Jason Kohn, Contributing Columnist

The evolution of the cloud is big news within mature tech markets in North America, Europe and Asia. But, what will cloud services mean for developing countries? More than you might think.

At its core, the cloud promises lower costs for information and communications technology (ICT) and ubiquitous access to information and applications. These benefits look attractive to any business, but for companies in developing economies — companies less likely to have the capital for large, modern ICT infrastructures — the cloud could provide an enormous benefit.

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Getting to Know your UCS Fabric Interconnect Neighbors

November 10, 2011 at 8:50 am PST

Early in my career I moved quite a bit, new job, growing family, whatever the reason it seemed like every two or three years we were packing up and going to a new place and meeting our new neighbors.

Each new place had its own protocol for getting to know the neighbors, sometimes they came to us other times we had to walk around the block with the kids in tow to make that connection. The benefits of knowing your neighbors are many, who’ll lend you tools, who will help move furniture, etc.

Knowing the device neighbors in you network is just as important and fortunately there is a protocol for that, Cisco Discovery Protocol Cisco Discovery Protocol.  This article is a guide to getting to know your UCS Fabric Interconnects’ neighbors in a manual and automated way.

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