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Is as-a-Service in it’s ascendancy or decline?

The classic work of English historical literature “The Decline and Fall of Roman Empire” is a book written by the English historian Edward Gibbon, which traces the trajectory of Western civilization from the height of the Roman Empire to the fall of Byzantium.   I’m using this comparison to bring to light discussions that my team and I have conducted over the past few years on the topic of as- a-Service (IaaS, PaaS, SaaS, etc.) in the Public and Private Clouds.

Shifting your workloads to the cloud, whether public or private, looks attractive in a number of ways.  You conceptually see the gains from quick and readily available infrastructure by just clicking a button or two, your service from a new virtual machine in the cloud appears ready as you need it.   The initial gains materialize as on-demand capacity, high availability, and disaster tolerance to name a few.   What about the costs of building all of this and has anyone ever seen a positive gain?  Has anyone really seen a gain from IaaS alone?

Public and Private cloud services models are still maturing but the overall question that we are hearing, is it worth it?   We’ve come across several articles that look at the features, and functions of as-a-Service offerings (to include PaaS, IaaS, SaaS, etc) along with theoretical return on investment (ROI) of each.   What we have seen is the shift in focus that sole IaaS eventually plays into higher delivery models like BPaaS (Business Process as-a-Service),  or SaaS (Software as-a-Service) etc.   Of course the message is different between Enterprises and Service Providers where this could help focus more reliable revenue flows for Service Provider’s and a more deliberate approach for Enterprises.

In the months spent researching this, we never found a definitive paper or published research outside of system integrators or service providers that had actual projected financials for SP or Enterprise.   Also, given the financial calculations were heavily weighted on the ROI models from specific vendor equipment vs any diversity in mixed infrastructure environments.  In further calculation of the costs for IaaS, requirements from Service Providers or Enterprise do not involve simple scenarios where the predictable medium based Virtual Machine would suffice as a definitive control point for those calculations.   We’ve seen the requirements need to align in the form of complex workloads such as database and transaction processing that require more robust, and more expensive IaaS-class VMs within diverse infrastructure, distributed about multiple tiers.  Regardless of the requirements category, multiple small scale and diverse control projects are needed to gather precise cost, performance, and availability metrics to validate the real cost and ROI IaaS models.  IaaS,  for the most part, has to increase it’s service offerings to go further into areas like Virtualized Desktops (VDI),  offer enhanced security for data,  and potentially pay-per-use capacity on demand services just to name a few.  At that point, IaaS is moved from it’s rudimentary form to more of a superset like PaaS, BPaaS, SaaS, etc.  One thing to keep in mind, PaaS is very closely associated to the lower end services similar to IaaS where it’s monetization and revenue generation is almost identical.

In summary, we see the Cloud is here to stay but there is a decline in the need for just a simplistic offering of services beyond what is IaaS.  The enhanced subset of services must move away from IaaS to be more like BPaaS, SaaS and other models to cost effective.  Businesses, whether SP or Enterprise, are going to leverage those services in their market and effect significant changes in the way they operate.  The budgets that once filled groups of individual business units (speaking in the context of the Enterprise) to accommodate for their own IT presence, are now consolidated to larger capital and revenue budgets for enhanced IT subscription services that go far beyond what used to be just cloud infrastructure.

Authors:

Marc Buraczynski, Solutions Architect, Cisco Systems, Inc, Cisco Advanced Services (Boston, MA)

Chris Shockey, Solutions Architect, Cisco Systems, Inc, Cisco Advanced Services. (Seattle, WA)

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Changes in #ITConsumption Spark Public Sector Innovation

Information technology advances have changed the way we do everything, from listening to music and reading books to connecting with clients and making the world our mobile office. And as these changes have been introduced, they have also influenced the management style of Chief Information Officers (CIOs), shifting their priorities to focus on consumption, data center optimization, cloud computing, information security, mobility, analytics and big data.

In the public sector, the prevalence of cloud and mobile technologies has completely transformed the way CIOs are achieving their goals. One key takeaway from government experiences in IT Consumption (how organizations and individuals purchase and use information technology assets) is that an organization needs to have the flexibility to adapt in order to meet challenges and maximize opportunities presented by this new environment. Add in the challenge of “Shadow IT” practices, and agencies are left asking themselves what is the correct response to IT consumption in our agency?

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The Things that Make Everything in the #InternetOfEverything

The Internet of Things continues to add new things daily to a growing list of already connected things; and these “things” have the opportunity to completely change our world. Capabilities like context awareness, increased processing power and energy independence have all been made possible as more people and new types of information are connected. And each day, society gains and learns from these innovations, all a part of the Internet of Everything – a network of networks where billions of connections create unprecedented opportunities as well as new risks.

When it comes to the actual physical devices that are moving the Internet of Everything forward, most think of traditional conduits such as laptops, phones and “wearables.” But, the connections that are creating the Internet of Everything come in forms many may not even consider, from toothbrushes, trashcans, power tools – even entire cities. And while all of these connections amaze with their technology, the value that they create is the real story, for what it means now and for the future of our society.

The Things that Make Everything in the #InternetofEverything - blog image

Much is at stake when discussing the value that the Internet of Things holds. At this year’s CES Conference, it was estimated that the Internet of Things would become a $19 trillion market over the next several years. The number of mobile-connected devices will exceed the world’s population by the end of this year and by 2018, 96 percent of mobile data traffic will originate from these smart devices. The amount of these connections, coupled with reduced technology costs, has created possibilities for the future of the Internet of Things that are seemingly limitless:

  • Sensors all along the food supply chain, together with Big Data analytics and the intelligence of the cloud, will help us optimize the delivery of food from “farm to fork.” Sensors in the field will be combined with weather forecasts and other data to trigger irrigation and harvest times for each crop. And sensors on the food itself will alert merchants and consumers about when the “sell by” and “use by” dates are approaching to prevent spoilage. All of this will significantly reduce food waste—which today amounts to about one-third of total world food production.
  • A blue-tooth connected toothbrush that connects to a smartphone app is just one of the many devices on the market that promote a better quality of life through improved healthcare. Wearable technology like fitness trackers, health monitors, insulin pumps and even “smart” clothing can measure consumed calories, heart rates, the amount of medicine in a person’s body and transmit that data to patients and medical professionals in real-time. And 71% of Americans claim these types of devices have improved their overall health.
  • The city of the future will be “smarter” as sensors turn street lights, waste receptacles and cameras into tools that will help municipalities operate on more efficient levels. Wim Elfrink outlined how Barcelona has used a network of sensors that transmit real-time data on temperature, noise and other conditions in one of the city’s most popular areas. Kansas City, Missouri has used the network of street lighting and interactive digital kiosks in conjunction with a $114 million streetcar project to promote the city to both residents, and companies potentially looking to relocate their operations.

Serving as a link to the Internet of Everything, all of the connected things that make up the fabric of the Internet of Things are leading to new economic opportunities, increased personalized connections and more importantly, positive intersections of technology and the human experience. Far beyond the monetary values that it can present to society, the Internet of Things is powerfully changing and improving quality of life for people across the globe, with billions of opportunities awaiting us all.

What impact has the Internet of Everything had on your life, professionally or personally? Thinking futuristically, in what ways can you dream of that use the Internet of Things and the Internet of Everything to change our world?

We want to know what examples of the Internet of Everything you see in your own City of Tomorrow – your neighborhood! Join the conversation online by tagging your photo and video examples with #InternetofEverything and #CityofTomorrowHow is the Internet of Everything changing your city? 

Additional resources:

Review the Cisco Visual Networking Index: Global Data Traffic Forecast Update, 2013

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Engineers Unplugged S6|Ep4: onePK

August 13, 2014 at 10:36 pm PST

In this week’s episode of Engineers Unplugged, we welcome for the first time (and not the last) guest host Janel Kratky (follow her @jlkratky)! She’s hosting Jason Pfeifer and Glue Network’s Gregg Wyant as they discuss onePK and how to apply it to the real world. You don’t want to miss this one, it ends with a Glunicorn.

If you would like to become Internet Famous, and strut your unicorn talents, join us for our next filming session at VMworld 2014. Tweet me for details!

This is Engineers Unplugged, where technologists talk to each other the way they know best, with a whiteboard. The rules are simple:

  1. Episodes will publish weekly (or as close to it as we can manage)
  2. Subscribe to the podcast here: engineersunplugged.com
  3. Follow the #engineersunplugged conversation on Twitter
  4. Submit ideas for episodes or volunteer to appear by Tweeting to @CommsNinja
  5. Practice drawing unicorns

Join the behind the scenes by liking Engineers Unplugged on Facebook.

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Straight Talk About Cloud: 20 Providers and What They Think You Want

There’s a lot of talk about cloud, and for good reason.  According to a new white paper from IDC, 68% of companies with more than 1,000 employees are using some form of cloud or plan to implement cloud within the next 12 months.  In addition, these companies adopting cloud expect to spend 54% of their IT budgets on cloud in two years.

For the white paper, IDC contacted 20 providers from among the more than 200 cloud providers offering Cisco Powered services.  What makes the white paper unique is that these providers were asked to share their perspective on how their customers perceive value.  These are the companies who are investing substantial resources into building out their infrastructure to be able to offer your organization cloud services as you need them.  They make their investments based on what they believe are your primary needs and key concerns.

Specifically, the white paper explores which perceived factors are the most important to cloud providers in reaching you, their customer.  It also reveals how these providers seek to differentiate themselves and where they see the best value in their cloud infrastructure investments.

You can watch the video and read the full IDC white paper for yourself.  The white paper was also reported on by Computerworld.

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