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Cisco Partner Weekly Rewind – December 12, 2014

Partner-Weekly-Rewind-v2Each week, we’ll highlight the most important Cisco Partner Ecosystem news and stories, as well as point you to important, Cisco-related partner content you may have missed along the way. Here’s what you might have missed this week:

Off the Top

We had the opportunity this week to hear from Edison Peres on how Cloud Builders Monetize Intercloud by Helping Customers Create Hybrid IT. If you’re interested in how building data centers and private clouds have become such a big part of the partner business, be sure to check out Edison’s blog.

If you are already a private cloud builder it’s great reinforcement for what you’re already doing and we would love to hear from all of you. Let us know what you think of Edison’s latest blog post.

New growth opportunities with the introduction of Cisco Connected Analytics

Cisco’s Connected Analytics portfolio brings analytics to the data center; anywhere; in near-real time. This helps capture insights that create opportunities, simplify business operations, and enhance the customer experience. Cisco’s Connected Analytics portfolio provides partner growth opportunities, allowing you to add business intelligence, analytics, and data management services that differentiate your practice. Read More »

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Cloud Builders Monetize Intercloud by Helping Customers Create Hybrid IT

If you had a chance to check out the Cisco Global Cloud Index, it’s no real surprise that data center traffic will nearly triple over the next five years and cloud traffic will nearly quadruple. Customers want cloud solutions to lower cost, speed up IT services delivery, and create business agility—but they don’t necessarily want to do it all themselves.

For our channel partners, building data centers and private clouds has become a significant part of their business. In fact, we’ve seen exponential growth from partners who are building private clouds to help customers create a hybrid cloud environment, where using private and public clouds helps lower IT cost and increase capacity.

Cisco is committed to providing our partners with the tools they need to meet the needs of their customers, including integrated infrastructure stacks for private cloud builders. I’m excited about our most recent announcement of VersaStack with IBM. This new offering as well as our integrated offerings with NetApp, VCE/EMC, and Red Hat enables our partners to build and operate secure and policy-driven hybrid cloud environments for their customers.

In this new hybrid world, customers will need their partners to help manage workloads and migrate applications on and off public clouds. So, cloud builders who offer professional services to build and operate hybrid IT environments have substantial new revenue opportunities. Read More »

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The Journey to Becoming an Enterprise Cloud Service Brokerage: From Shadow IT to Hybrid IT

As enterprise cloud use extends to public, private, and hybrid clouds, CIOs and IT leaders are realizing the need to evolve their IT business model to become enterprise cloud service brokerage (CSBs).

Cisco’s Scott Clark recently discussed the value of this new business approach for IT and highlighted that by adopting this approach IT can “provide the right private, hybrid or public cloud service, at the right time, and at the right cost.”

Most organizations are lagging behind in overhaul their business model and evolve into a CSB. Ovum came out with a report citing that only 50% of organizations participating had a cloud strategy in place and “only one-third or less of respondents said they have [cloud] governance, integration, or compliance strategies.” Read More »

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Pros and Cons: Do-It-Yourself Approaches to Monitoring Shadow IT & Cloud Services

Shadow IT is estimated to be 20-40 percent beyond the traditional IT budget. The ease by which organizations can purchase apps and services from cloud service providers (CSP) contributes significantly to this spending. This is an eye-catching number worthy of investigation—not only to identify and reduce costs, but to discover business risks. So, it is no surprise that CIOs and CFOs have started projects to identify and monitor unknown CSPs.

I often get questions from customers asking if it is possible for IT to monitor cloud service usage and discover shadow IT using existing technologies, and what the pros and cons would be.

The first CSP monitoring approach I am asked about is the use of secure web gateways. A gateway captures and categorizes incoming web traffic and blocks malicious malware. The benefit of this approach is that the gateways are typically already in place. However, there are several limitations in relying exclusively on this approach. Gateways cannot differentiate between a traditional website and a CSP which might be housing business data. They also have no way of discerning whether a given CSP poses a compliance or business risk. Most importantly, to use gateways to track CSPs, IT would need to create and maintain a database of thousands of CSPs, and create a risk profile for each CSP in order to truly understand the specific service being consumed.

The second approach I get asked about is whether organizations can use NetFlow traffic to monitor CSPs. Many customers feel that they can build scripts in a short amount of time to capture usage. Simply answered, yes this can be done. But organizations would face a similar challenge as if they were using web gateways. To capture CSP traffic using NetFlow, IT would need to develop scripts to capture every CSP (numbering in the tens of thousands). Then identify how each CSP is being used, the risk profile of the CSP to an organization, and how much the CSP costs to project overall spend. This is just the beginning. An IT department would then need to build reporting capabilities to access the information as well as continually maintain the database; and apply resources to this undertaking on a monthly basis to ensure the database was current.

The good news, Cisco has done this work for our customers! We have developed Cloud Consumption Services to help organizations identify and reduce shadow IT. Using collection tools in the network, we can discover what cloud services are being used by employees across an entire organization. Cloud Consumption includes a rich database of CSPs and can help customers identify the risk profile of each CSP being accessed, and identify an organization’s overall cloud spend.

Cisco has helped many IT organizations discover their shadow IT. For example, we worked with a large public sector customer in North America who was struggling to embrace the cloud, but were concerned about business risks. Employees were pushing for cloud services to improve productivity when 90% of Internet traffic was blocked by the organization’s policy. Despite these restrictions, 220 cloud providers were being used already and less than 1% were authorized by IT. Leveraging Cloud Consumption Services, the customer was not only able to manage risk, but also authorize future cloud services based on employee needs in a controlled manner.

It is a good practice for every IT organization to understand how employees are using cloud services and monitor usage on an on-going basis. I encourage our customers to determine which approach would work best for their organization; otherwise they may face unknown business risks and costs.

To learn more about avoiding the pitfalls of shadow IT and how you manage cloud services, please register to attend an upcoming webinar on Dec 11, 2014 at 9:00 a.m. PT.

 

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Is IT Automation the Key to Operational Excellence? Industry Analysts Think So

Businesses move quickly until they have to cross rough roads paved with technical challenges. That’s because even though data centers are sophisticated, the components that support most businesses still include far too many 20th century manual processes, silo based resources and administrators pressured to keep up.

Although automation can speed up IT, and your business,  many companies are wrestling with it. Please watch this video from Cisco and Forrester to understand why organizations are struggling with automation – see if it sounds familiar (I bet it will).

After you watch it, if you want send me a brief email about your experience with these issues. Read More »

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