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Begin your Journey to the Cloud with Cisco’s Cloud Starter Edition

Please be aware that this product is no longer sold.

As Jason Schroedl  announced, http://blogs.cisco.com/datacenter/announcing-the-new-cisco-intelligent-automation-for-cloud-starter-edition Cisco’s Intelligent Automation Solutions Business Unit, in conjunction with the Unified Computing System has just announced a solution for customers of UCS and vCenter that want a Cloud Automation system that can perform both Physical and Virtual server provisioning.  It is called the starter edition for a reason.  We find that many customers are not sure what they want from their cloud and are looking for a great place to start.   This is not what I call the “starship enterprise” of clouds.  It is the first step that a company will take on their cloud journey.

See my previous blog for some key concepts of success cloud deployments:  http://blogs.cisco.com/datacenter/five-things-that-successful-cloud-deployments-have-in-common/ and on my cloud owner manifesto for successful cloud builders: http://blogs.cisco.com/datacenter/cloud-owner-manifesto-12-habits-of-successful-cloud-builders/ .

Let’s look at typical cloud deployments.

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My First Cloud: Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud – Starter Edition

Please be aware that this product is no longer sold.

Introducing Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud -- Starter Edition. Or as I like to call it, My First Cloud.

I’ve written in the past of cloud being journey to a new operational model and thus makes demand on the technology, process and organizational model.  It changes the relationship between the provider and the consumer of a service.

This operational model is one with resource pools available on demand, metered, pay as you use.  The reality for many enterprises is this is aspirational and not a realistic first step.

Today, he resource pools are funded by department, there’s no automation or self-service to meet the on-demand self-service aspect of cloud.

And there’s lots of fears beyond security; like the fear of rampant waste and capacity outages.

There’s also the issue of complexity and where will the skills to do service design and automation will come from? Global 2000 companies can easily afford big ticket consulting engagements, but smaller ones can’t.

The channel is key to serve the rest of the market but where are the channel partners for cloud?

So complexity and lack of expertise, in our view, were seriously hindering the adoption of cloud operations.

Our response is the first in a series of products to bring cloud operations capabilities to different market segments.  For example, the needs of a mid-size organization are very different than the needs of global enterprise and different again from a service provider.

Even in service provider, there are huge differences in operations and scale between traditional managed hosting provider, an outsourcer, a webscale company and a national telco or network provider.

So the way to simplify delivery for midsize business,  enterprise departments or smaller managed hosting provider is to embed an operational model, pre-packaged automation and a set of competent channel partners that can quickly and inexpensively turn on your first cloud at a reasonable price.

This is what Intelligent Automation Starter Edition represents: a simple, inexpensive way to get to a customer’s first cloud.

Customer’s can use it to learn how to operate the first basic offering; also, it’s upgradeable to Cisco’s Intelligent Automation -- Standard Edition when the customer  needs additional, more sophisticated service offering

I recommend start with a video demo.  Information page is here.

Jason wrote about it, so head there as well

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Riding the Cloud To Improve Your Top- and Bottom-Line Economics

A cloud revolution is brewing, and it promises to radically transform the way we compete, collaborate, and consume business services.

Join the live webcast with Sprint, CSC and ETS on the impact of cloud computing on business models and bottom lines.

Wed. April 25, 11 a.m. – 12 p.m. PDT – No registration required: www.ustream.tv/ciscotv2

What are the factors motivating businesses to rise up to the cloud opportunity? One key advantage is business agility: Cloud offers the ability to address unpredictable application events weighing on a company’s data center, meeting the challenge from sharp, sudden usage spikes. At the same time, cloud promises more efficient ways to address new products, customers, and selling situations.

In other words, cloud drives top-line growth and improves the bottom line.

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After Two Years in the Cloud, New Paradigms Prevail

Co-written by Bryan Mobley, Director, IBSG Service Provider

The business world’s rise to the cloud has been dramatic and increasingly rapid. From an initial attitude of vague interest mixed with trepidation, organizations have begun to embrace the transition in a big way. Some are already realizing the expansive benefits in costs, efficiency, and innovation that come with this game-changing technology.

To keep with the pulse of cloud migration, Cisco initiated a series of roundtable discussions two years ago. The philosophy of each meeting was to bring together 10 to 20 decision makers from a variety of enterprises, midsized businesses, and government agencies. So far, we’ve held 15 of these discussions across North America. In addition to providing a unique opportunity to share our thought leadership, these sessions provide an ideal forum for hearing our customers’ thoughts on cloud: the benefits, the inhibitors, and even a few war stories. In the end, however, it is the advantages of cloud that spark the most contagious conversations.

Here are some of the key trends that have emerged from two years of discussions:

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Is it Just Software Defined Networks (SDN)?

This is the question I continue to ask myself as I look back at my career at various companies in multiple industries. As I look back, I  remind myself of the industry changing trends that we’ve gone through in past few decades: the rise (and fall) of the mainframe, the PC, numerous different networking protocols and technologies, and various standards that come and go. On top of all this I recall, dozens of system architectures and hundreds of programming languages. And these days … Open Source Software, Si-photonics, mega/giga/tera-bit interfaces, smart phones and tablets, big data and real time analytics, cloud computing, everything fully virtualized.

Let’s pause here to think about the game changers. The architectures, processes and ideas that once pushed industries forward seemed to eventually disappear into the next big thing. Distributed Object Technology (RFC), Loosely Coupled Technology and Architectures (SOA). Agile, or is it Dev/Ops? As you can see, there are major differences here. Each technology trend brings tremendous value and is of critical importance but, like so many of these examples there is that fundamental difference, that many of these trends evolve and merge into much bigger vision. It’s also present in how we view SDN and how we are including it in what we’re building at Cisco.

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