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Cisco Connected World Report and DC Futures

December 7, 2010 at 9:34 am PST

So, what are customer trends in the next 3-5 years, how much are they really buying into virtualization and cloud, and what does all this change in the data center mean for their careers?

As part of our on-going series of Connected World Reports, we asked these and more questions to 2,600 folks from 13 counties across the globe and got some surprising responses back.  We are getting together some visionaries of our own to discuss the responses and add their own insights into where IT and the data center are going in the next few years:

  • John Manville, vice president of IT, Cisco
  • Jackie Ross, vice president, Server Access and Virtualization Group, Cisco
  • Brian Modoff, senior analyst, Deutsche Bank

Join our panel on December 8 at 8:00 a.m. PST, via a live Internet TV event to review the results and implications of the third and final Cisco Connected World Report, called  “Focus on the Data Center”.

  • To view the program, visit www.ustream.tv/ciscotv. Registration is not required, and the programs will also be available for re-play at the same link: www.ustream.tv/ciscotv.

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Cisco Data Center 2011-Texas: Cisco to Deploy IaaS in its New Texas Data Center

Of cloud computing’s three service models, software as a service (SaaS) is deployed most often. But that trend is shifting:  A recent Yankee Group survey revealed that 24 percent of U.S. enterprises with cloud experience are already using infrastructure as a service (IaaS), an additional 37 percent plan to adopt it, and planned deployments are accelerating.

Cisco, too, is seeking to benefit from dynamic cloud service models, using models that offer reduced provisioning times and usage-based chargeback systems. We’ve gotten started by deploying the same unified computing and virtualization solutions we recommend to Cisco customers in our own private IaaS cloud. We call our internal cloud Cisco IT Elastic Infrastructure Services, or CITEIS.

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Cisco Data Center 2011-Texas: Saving Power, Cooling, Space, and People

Most data centers are challenged with the same cost control problems of power, cooling, space, and people. Illustrating that one x86 server can cost more than US$400 a year in just energy consumption, a 2009 Gartner study concluded that IT managers can combat rising costs by reviewing their data center strategies and proactively looking to consolidation, use of energy saving solutions, and strategic deployment of IT labor.  Our online chronicle, Cisco Data Center 2011-Texas, provides an inside look at how Cisco IT is tackling these challenges with a strategy that is reflected in our new facility, Texas Data Center 2.

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The Automation Imperative

So what’s with the increased interest in automation lately?  No doubt you’ve noticed there have been more than a few blogs already written on this site and others espousing the importance and value of automation.  (“Meet the Newest Member of Your Data Center Operations Team,” Tere’ Bracco, November 8, 2010 and “Mad Scientist Alert,” Christopher Kennessey, October 27, 2010) What trends lie behind this demand?  Three come to mind:

1)     Disappearing cost-benefit of offshoring

2)     Increasing skills shortage

3)     Growing adoption of virtualization/cloud technologies

And each of these deserves a bit more exploration. Today, I will focus on offshoring and leave the other two for future blogs.

Moving IT operations to low-cost parts of the world has been a very lucrative exercise for the past two decades.  However, the financial benefits that were obvious 10 years ago are mostly gone thanks to increasing salaries in India, China, and other emerging countries combined with rising hassle costs (compliance, regulations, security, communications, language, and management) associated with off-shoring.  Here is a quote from Sramana Mitra who wrote a very well publicized and much debated article in 2008 titled “The death of Indian outsourcing” (http://www.sramanamitra.com/2008/01/22/death-of-indian-outsourcing/).  She writes “Rising wages in the most popular offshore centers (especially Bangalore), are eroding the cost advantage that drove this business to India in the first place. When the practice began, there was a 1:10 cost advantage. Today, this has dropped to 1:3. Over the next 5 years, perhaps, it won’t make sense to send work to India anymore.”  Further complicating the offshoring play is the 20-40% attrition rates seen in many of these low-cost countries.

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Cisco, Citrix, VMware and Wyse Make Desktop Virtualization Simpler, Better for Media Applications

Cisco announced a new system of technologies today designed to help enterprises introduce desktop virtualization to their organizations. Mark Boslet’s story for News@Cisco provides a good primer on the phenomenon if you need it, but in a  nutshell, virtual desktops shift computing applications and business information off PCs and into a data center. Users than access those applications and information through a secure Internet connection (via a private or public Cloud), in much the same way as we browse the Internet today.

Desktop virtualization isn’t a new phenomenon (if you’ve been in the workforce for a couple of decades, you might remember the green screen and mainframe varietal!) but it’s becoming more and more compelling as good broadband connectivity becomes pervasive and customers tap server virtualization technologies and wide area network acceleration to make applications perform better over WANs.

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