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Balancing Innovation and Evolution: Cutting Through the Noise

Thinking back to how much the data center has transformed in the past ten, five, or even two years is enough to make your head spin. Keeping pace with these changes has been nearly impossible for IT departments, and it’s not getting any easier. When looking ahead, consider what changes the Internet of Everything (IoE), application-centric architectures, software-defined networking (SDN), and everything-as-a-service (XaaS) will bring. Confused? It’s no wonder.

My recent blog post described what every IT leader already knows: Running a data center is hard. Making matters worse are high-tech vendors who aren’t focused on addressing near-term customer needs. I feel that our industry, including Cisco on occasion, confuses customers with too much hyperbole around vision and strategy.

I spend a lot of time with customers all over the world, and there’s been a reoccurring theme: What customers tell me they need are solutions that will work for them today. Balancing innovation and evolution is important, but that burden needs to be carried by us—the tech vendors—not by our customers. It’s rare that customers have the time to slow down to sort it all out. Even as their IT operations are evolving, they need to “keep the planes in the air.”

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Summary – Fast IT: Sourcing Disruptive Innovation

The explosion of network connections among people, process, data, and things, now called the Internet of Everything (IoE), is the driver behind much of the disruption and change we see in all industries. 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.

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

Read the full article Fast IT: Sourcing Disruptive Innovation to learn more. Full study findings can be found here.

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#EngineersUnplugged S6|Ep8: #UCSGrandSlam Edition!

September 10, 2014 at 9:34 am PST

In this week’s episode of Engineers Unplugged, Cisco’s CTO, Padmasree Warrior (@padmasree) and Satinder Sethi (VP, UCS Product Management and Data Center Solutions) whiteboard the UCS Grand Slam announcement, and what it means for customers and for the modern data center. Don’t miss this one!

It wouldn’t be Engineers Unplugged without a unicorn challenge, and Padma and Satinder delivered!

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This is Engineers Unplugged, where technologists talk to each other the way they know best, with a whiteboard. The rules are simple:

  1. Episodes will publish weekly (or as close to it as we can manage)
  2. Subscribe to the podcast here: engineersunplugged.com
  3. Follow the #engineersunplugged conversation on Twitter
  4. Submit ideas for episodes or volunteer to appear by Tweeting to @CommsNinja
  5. Practice drawing unicorns

Join the behind the scenes by liking Engineers Unplugged on Facebook.

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Summary: Fast IT: Sourcing Disruptive Innovation

The explosion of network connections among people, process, data, and things, now called the Internet of Everything (IoE), is the driver behind much of the disruption and change we see in all industries. 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.

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

Read the full article Fast IT: Sourcing Disruptive Innovation to learn more. Full study findings can be found here.

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Fast IT: Sourcing Disruptive Innovation

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.

UCS offers:

  • 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.

Fast Innovation Requires Fast IT

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What Our Research Found

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.

Full study findings can be found here.

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.

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