Change is accelerating at a speed and scale never seen before, and disruption is constant.
The explosion of network connections among people, process, data, and things, now called the Internet of Everything (IoE), is the driver behind much of this change. It is making innovation more accessible and affordable, while presenting enormous opportunities.
At the same time, IT organizations are contending with significant challenges. Operational costs are rising as budgets fall. Pervasive mobility and an explosion in connected devices are intensifying complexity. Business users are bypassing IT to access cloud-based services while new security threats arise daily. These conditions can stand in the way of greater innovation and agility, and prevent companies from capturing the opportunities in the IoE economy.
The foundational technologies behind IoE — cloud, mobility, collaboration, and analytics — may be disruptive, but they also usher in an era of significant IT improvements. Fully leveraging these opportunities requires an entirely new IT operating model, with new outcomes. IT organizations must become the source of disruptive innovation — and at long last assume the role of transformational business partner. Cisco is calling this new model Fast IT.
Fast IT addresses the following core areas across IT:
Simplifying the infrastructure across silos and driving automation to reduce operational costs
Using strategically automated policy to build agility and intelligence to fuel growth and respond to changing conditions
Connecting the right people to the right information and process at the right time
Evolving security to defend against attacks before and while they happen, and to run analysis after they end
Essentially, Fast IT is an adaptive, policy-driven approach that accommodates today’s and tomorrow’s pace of change. A well-executed strategy will bring together the right resources — which ultimately include infrastructure, applications, data, and people —- at the right time to take advantage of the IoE economy.
One of the key areas in which to create Fast IT is the data center.
In keeping with this approach, Cisco announced today new Unified Computing System (UCS) products and capabilities. UCS is a perfect example of the kind of integrated infrastructure that is eliminating complexity and enabling agility. Its blending of network, compute, and storage provides the foundation for automation and orchestration for physical and virtual systems as one, significantly reducing the management burden on IT.
Greater Automation: UCS Director Express for Big Data enables simplified operations and lower costs
More intelligence at the Edge: the UCS Mini enables computing at the edge, which is essential for leveraging Big Data and data in motion
Improved Agility: UCS is a foundational element of cloud via the Cisco UCS M-Series Modular server. UCS also dovetails seamlessly with Cisco solutions such as ACI and Intercloud, underpinning an overall hybrid-cloud strategy.
In Creating Fast IT, a 20-25 Percent Cost Dividend
Because the pace of change is so dynamic, it is important to examine just where IT stands today. To that end, Cisco Consulting Services (CCS) recently conducted in-depth research.
Cisco surveyed more than 1,400 senior IT leaders in Brazil, Germany, India, the United Kingdom, and the United States. We interviewed leading industry analysts, authors, academics, IT executives, and IT practitioners. We compared this data with conclusions from numerous customer engagements.
A key finding was that implementing the key elements of a Fast IT model could potentially result in a 20 to 25 percent reduction in costs, which can then be reinvested in new capabilities to drive innovation and business outcomes.
Here are key insights from the research. In creating a Fast IT model, organizations will:
simplify operations at a time when complexity is mounting — and IT budgets are flat.
move seamlessly through a “fabric of clouds.” Workloads and infrastructure tasks shift as business (application) conditions warrant.
drive much faster provisioning of enterprise applications. Time to provision and scale can decrease from months to minutes.
build processing capabilities at the edge of the network, capturing “data in motion” for real-time decision-making and contextual insight.
evolve to a more platform-driven security approach in which visibility is improved across all infrastructure domains, devices, applications, and services — enabling protection before, during, and after attacks.
I have no doubt that implementing the elements of a Fast IT model — including Cisco UCS — will help organizations to be more agile and innovative. By moving to a policy-based IT approach, IT can free resources and people to realize the longtime goal of becoming a true partner in driving business outcomes.
In the IoE economy, Fast IT is the way forward.
Join us in the social conversation on Twitter at #FutureOfIT.
Cisco IT has already started reaping the benefits of Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) from our early internal deployments. Cost savings rank high, in decreased operating expenditures through automation enabled by ACI and the sharp reduction of manual processes that introduce human errors and operational risk. Read More »
When was the last time you won the lottery? If you are like me, it’s a pretty rare occasion indeed. The same probability can be applied to increasing the budget allocation for any business and especially for service providers. What can service providers do to save money now, enabling them to invest in new services and boost revenues? Network functions virtualization (NFV) comes to the rescue, with help of course, from software defined networking (SDN), and open source innovations.
SDN and NFV represent a significant change in networking as we currently know it. Together and separately, both target cost savings, operational complexity, and network optimization – and both hold much promise for the operator. As with all things offering great potential rewards, one must balance these benefits and address the associated risks accordingly when deploying them.
For service providers, the data center is leading target for SDN and NFV deployments. Given all the activity focused on cloud computing, content delivery, and anything-as-a-service (XaaS) offerings, the service provider data centers must advance across many fronts (security, automation, mobility, reliability analytics, and provisioning) to be successful.
If you aren’t familiar with the Cisco IT eStore and Cisco Prime Service Catalog, this intro video provides a great overview:
Now we are very proud to announce that Cisco IT has won not just one more, but four new honors: the 2014 “Stevie” Awards from International Business Awards.
The Stevie Awards, which honor and generate public recognition of achievements and positive contributions of organizations and working professionals, feature some of the most exciting work in business and information technology.
This year, the team behind the Cisco IT eStore was recognized with a Gold Stevie Award for Information Technology Team of the Year. As this internal implementation of Cisco Prime Service Catalog grows in scale, this team has been working to rapidly deploy new services (whether desktop applications or data center infrastructure) and new capabilities (e.g. a new mobile interface) to provide a single, one-stop shop for all IT services at Cisco. It’s effectively the internal “IT app store” within Cisco for all employees.
For more information on the Cisco IT eStore initiative, you can check out the case study here, my write-up on the eStore here, Adel du Toit’s blog post on the Cisco IT initiative here, and a great overview session from our recent Cisco Live conference here.
Cisco IT also took home a Silver Stevie Award for their innovative work on our internal Lightweight Application Environment (LAE) – an innovative platform-as-a-service deployment that’s also powered by Cisco Prime Service Catalog as well as other tools including Jenkins and OpenShift.
Within Cisco, we have a private cloud – dubbed the Cisco IT Elastic Infrastructure Services (CITEIS) – that offers infrastructure-as-a-service with ready-to-go server, storage, and network resources for development teams. Together, CITEIS and the Lightweight Application Environment allow Cisco application developers to focus on application coding and testing, not on the underlying infrastructure or platform. The LAE is called “lightweight” because the ordering and provisioning processes places very light demands on developers.
For both and CITEIS and LAE, the eStore (Cisco Prime Service Catalog) gives developers an easy-to-use, self-service portal for ordering and provisioning their application environment – providing on-demand access to the infrastructure as well as the required operating system, middleware, and system functions without manual provisioning by Cisco IT. All the resources they need are delivered just a few minutes after the developer orders them. Here’s an example screenshot:
You can read more about how Cisco IT enabled this Lightweight Application Environment in this blog post here.
The final two Stevie Awards for Cisco IT this year were a Silver & Bronze medal for the Information Technology Executive of the year – awarded to our very own V C Gopalratnam (Cisco IT Vice President) and Michael Myers (Cisco’s Senior Director of Information Systems for Cloud Orchestration and Platform Service) respectively.
V C and Michael have played key roles in both the aforementioned CITEIS and LAE initiatives, enabling IaaS and PaaS via the Cisco IT eStore and Cisco Prime Service Catalog. We’re excited that these executives are being recognized for their leadership, and we look forward to what lies ahead for the Cisco IT and eStore team going forward.
As the breadth and depth of the ACI solution continues to grow, so does customer interest. Many customers who have invested in, and continue to invest in, the Nexus 2000-7000 switches find the ACI vision very compelling. So, this leads to a logical question regarding how an existing Nexus 2000-7000 fabric will integrate with an ACI fabric.
In short, customers can leverage current Nexus products and add ACI capabilities to their data centers in an incremental manner. Integrating ACI into an existing Nexus environment will not require replacement of existing Nexus switches. The benefits of ACI policy can be extended to apps on both physical and virtual servers within the existing Nexus fabric. This can be achieved as follows (double click on the graphic below to launch the 3+ minute presentation):
In this scenario, the existing Nexus fabric is serving as an optimized transport for an ACI overlay solution. However, this solution is very different from other industry overlay solutions. It’s different in that the ACI overlay provides integrated/embedded support for both physical and virtual servers, it allows use of existing L4-7 infrastructure, while providing the automation functionality of the ACI policy model.