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Are You Ready for Dev Ops and SDN Software Development with Cisco ONE?

April 5, 2014 at 3:10 pm PST

One of the great challenges of SDN – that many in my view underplay – is the change in paradigm from having a vendor deliver your network (hardware + software), to having (potentially) an ecosystem deliver your network – and this ecosystem may require you to develop software to perform network tasks or to integrate various SDN components together.  This was recognized quite astutely by consultant Jim Metzler, which I discussed in one of my earlier blogs“Applications can dynamically request services from the network” is what the SDN evangelists will tell you.  Jim astutely asked “How exactly do they do that?”.  Well ….. the true answer is that either (i) you need to buy [new] apps that do this off the shelf, as it were, or [more likely today] (ii) you need to modify your apps or develop new apps to do this. 

Coding - the New Networking?

Coding -- the New Networking?

So are you ready for procuring apps and/or developing software in your network design team now?  Don’t worry if you say “no”.  Let me first tell you a few customer reactions to this topic, and then let me update you on Cisco Services can help you develop new SDN apps that solve your specific network challenges.

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Enterprise Mobility and the Award-Winning Cisco Prime Service Catalog

We are proud to announce that the Cisco IT internal implementation of Cisco Prime Service Catalog, dubbed the Cisco IT “eStore”, was honored (and ranked #25) in the InformationWeek Elite 100 awards this week – as one of the most innovative uses of business technology in 2014. You can read more about the awards here.

IWelite100

(If you haven’t heard about Cisco IT’s eStore, be sure to check out my recent write-up about eStore. You can also read the case study here, and read more from Adel du Toit who blogged about Cisco IT’s initiative here last June.)

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The Cisco IT eStore was also nominated as a finalist for a Consumerization of IT in the Enterprise (CITE) award. Stay tuned as the award winners will be announced at the CITE conference at the end of this month.

We are thrilled to see Cisco IT being recognized for it’s internal Cisco Prime Service Catalog deployment.  It’s a great testament to the innovative partnership between our product engineering teams and our internal IT organization.

That’s not all … This week at Interop Las Vegas, adjacent to the InformationWeek Elite 100 awards ceremony, was the announcement of the new Cisco Mobile Workplace Solution – where Cisco Prime Service Catalog serves as the unified IT storefront for mobility services (you can read a great overview of the new solution from Jonathan’s blog post here). We showcased a live demo of the award-winning Cisco IT internal implementation of the Cisco Prime Service Catalog: the Cisco IT eStore.

As enterprise IT organizations adopt and implement their mobility strategies, they are learning just how much their end users expect and need in today’s increasingly mobile environment. For example, they need a simple, easy-to-use, and automated solution for ordering all of the mobility and other workplace services an IT organization may offer – rather than having separate portals for requesting smartphones, tablets, mobile apps, desktop software, laptops, or BYOD services. A unified service catalog and single access point for all IT services increases workforce productivity, with a better employee experience and improved satisfaction with IT.

As Jonathan describes in the blog post linked above, organizations typically begin from a device-focused approach. IT often focuses on corporate-liable devices or employee owned devices, providing an easy way to onboard these devices and access basic services. Then, organizations progress to the application-focused phase, where the enterprise leverages mobile applications to provide productivity and empower employees.

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The third and final step in the enterprise mobility journey is experience-focused. After having fulfilled the initial device-focused and app-focused stages, organizations are becoming experience-focused and prioritizing service automation to improve the employee experience and provide an easy-to-use, automated self-service experience.

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A Global Intercloud: Cisco Cloud Services, Cisco Powered, and You

In a previous blog post, I discussed some considerations organizations should keep in mind when selecting a cloud  provider. After all, in today’s world of many clouds, organizations must have confidence in their decision – both from a technology and business perspective.  This week Cisco announced plans to build a global Intercloud – a network of clouds – together with a set of partners.

Partners are an essential part of Cisco’s DNA. Only through the help of our partners can we provide customers with the world’s largest network of clouds. So far, over 200 Cisco cloud partners have already created 430 Cisco Powered services worldwide. With the addition of Cisco Cloud Services, together, we will have an unmatched portfolio of enterprise class offers.

Cisco Powered is the power behind the cloud: cisco.com/go/ciscopowered

Cisco Powered is the power behind the cloud: cisco.com/go/ciscopowered

Cisco is expanding the Cisco Powered program to include Cisco Cloud Services. Cisco will sell these new services through channel partners and directly to end customers. Partners who develop Cisco Powered services can extend their portfolio with unique Cisco technologies such as WebEx, Cisco Cloud Web Security and Meraki, as well as third party applications. This provides a significant opportunity to leverage the scale of a global Intercloud. In doing so, partners can tap into new revenue streams while improving profitability, and business relevance.

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Cisco UCS Five Years On: The Right Solution at the Right Time

March 25, 2014 at 12:06 pm PST

I knew we were on to something good when a customer told me “This is so easy, it’s CTO proof.”

Early in the business, I was talking to a front-line server admin who had found that Cisco UCS made server deployment so reliable, automated and simple that he was convinced even his CTO could pull it off without breaking anything.  The enthusiasm was real, and infectious, and it changed the face of the data center market.

Thinking back five years to March of 2009, when Cisco introduced UCS, the economy was still spiraling into the worst recession of our lifetime.  IT budgets were being slashed.   Many wondered if it was the right time for Cisco to enter a new market with deeply entrenched competitors.

As it turns out, it was the perfect time.  Because change occurs fastest when times are hard.

looking for change

In the decade leading up to 2009, computing innovation had stalled.  The incumbents still had tunnel vision on the power and cooling challenges that arose out of multi-core processing in the mid-2000’s.  Innovation was essentially focused on mechanical packaging:  blade servers for mainstream IT and  “skinless” boxes for the hyperscale crowd.   Overlooked was the real problem for the vast majority of customers:  operational complexity. Remember that server virtualization was rapidly spreading in nearly every data center.  Again, this was originally a response to a hardware problem: processor utilization; but as everyone recognized the operational benefits, virtualization was taking hold very fast.  As was cloud.  Combine all this with the disaggregation of data storage from the server, which had already moved out onto the network as NAS and SAN many years before, and you had a perfect storm of complexity threatening to outpace the capacity of many IT organizations.  The individual technologies in the data center were not overwhelmingly complex but tying them all together, into a system where you could land and scale an application in a very secure and available way, became the all-consuming job of the customer.   Collectively, the industry had failed.   In 2009, more than ever, customers needed something to help them slash OPEX in the data center and free people up to face the challenges of the day.  This was the innovation vacuum that UCS had been designed to fill.

Think of UCS as the Turducken of the data center:  the sum is much, much greater (and tastier) than the parts.   A lot of true innovation has gone into UCS in the areas of server I/O and in fundamental advancements to server management technology.   The latter is especially critical, because what is often overlooked in virtualization and cloud discussions is the underlying issue of deploying, managing and scaling the physical infrastructure itself (details, details…)   The advent of UCS completed the total abstraction and automation of hardware in crucial ways that hypervisor and cloud technology still can’t acheive on their own.   API-controlled data center hardware is a foundational element of modern IT innovation, and UCS started it all.  This may be Cisco’s greatest contribution to the industry and charted the course for Cisco ACI in the broader data center.

Cisco Unified Computing System Five Years of Data Center Innovation from Cisco Data Center

 

Cisco’s not stopping.   In the intervening five years, new innovation opportunities have appeared.   Most recently, the addition of flash systems to Unified Computing in the form of UCS Invicta, which opens up a whole new chapter for what customers will be able to achieve with the System.  UCS Director is taking on a pivotal role for automation across Cisco solutions and the integrated infrastructures that we construct with our storage partners.  The future is so bright, our partners need sunglasses.

UCS timeline

The team has put together this interactive timeline that commemorates many of the milestones in the first five years of UCS.   Looking back over it, I can only feel proud and humbled to be associated with the team here at Cisco, our technology and channel partners, and most importantly with our customers, who have clearly proven that UCS was (and is) the right solution at the right time.

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Market Dynamics and Cisco’s Unified Computing System

Innovation.  Change.  Market transitions.  This is the natural order when it comes to IT.

Today’s accelerated rate of technological change is disrupting all areas of IT, while at the same time creating new possibilities for our data center customers.  As a CIO, you’re tasked with capitalizing on the benefits of new technologies to enhance operations, but with minimal disruption to your business.  That’s not easy do to when the world is moving so quickly.

Innovation brings new players to the marketplace, and sometimes compels existing vendors to adjust their strategies.  Earlier this year, in a move that will have a significant impact across the IT landscape for technology providers and customers alike, IBM announced an agreement with Lenovo for the acquisition of IBM’s x86 server and associated networking business including Flex System.

Five years ago, Cisco made a strategic move by announcing a data center innovation and putting into motion a market transition.  Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) led the converged data center transformation by integrating high-performance networking, compute, and storage into a single, unified platform. Cisco UCS created a new value proposition for the data center in virtualization and cloud computing, achieving measurable cost savings and technology gains.

Now the number two worldwide vendor of blade servers, our vision and ability to execute delivers value that clearly resonates with our customers.  Cisco UCS changes the economics of the data center by increasing operational simplicity and improving business agility.  This is a great time for you to take a closer look to learn why over 30,000 customers have made the move to Cisco UCS.

As the inevitable change takes place across the IT landscape, Cisco remains committed to the data center.  We are also committed to our long-time collaboration with IBM, one of Cisco’s most successful partnering relationships.  Our plan is to move forward, build on this relationship and continue to deliver solutions of high value for your data centers across technology, service, and support.

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