Cisco Blogs


Cisco Blog > Collaboration

Building Relationships over Distance –Tips for Success

I recently read a great article that talks about how midsized companies can take advantage of slow periods to visit customers, partners, and others to better understand their needs.

The article comes from Erik Sherman from the National Center for the Middle Market. Part of Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business, the center provides knowledge, leadership, and innovative research on U.S. midsized businesses.

Sherman provides is great advice, but in a fast-moving, highly competitive economy that never seems to slow down, I would add the following points:

  • Getting to know your stakeholders shouldn’t be just a once-a- year activity
  • Engaging with them shouldn’t be limited by the ability to travel due to time or budget constraints

Let’s take the case of engaging with employees and co-workers.  As middle market companies continue to lead economic growth and job creation, Read More »

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Hybrid Cloud meets Cisco Intercloud Fabric

If you are like the many IT managers we talk to every day, you prefer to have options whenever you tackle a project or formulate your IT strategy. Perhaps, you do not like the idea of feeling limited, constrained or unable to leverage a viable contingency plan. Architecting your cloud strategy should be no exception …. And Cisco Intercloud Fabric can help!

So what does Cisco Intercloud Fabric do?

intercloud_fabric_video_poster

 

No time to read? This short video will provide you with an overview of the solution and perhaps entertain you for a couple of minutes. And if you are at VMworld this week, you can stop by at the Cisco booth to learn more about Cisco Intercloud Fabric.

In essence, Cisco Intercloud Fabric provides open and highly secure portability of workloads (aka applications) among heterogeneous cloud environments and with consistent network and security policies. You can move your workloads from your traditional IT environment or your private cloud to a public cloud provider of your choice. We have discussed in the past how hybrid cloud is becoming the ‘new normal’. Cisco Intercloud Fabric lets you deploy a hybrid cloud that operates as one unified environment—straddling your data center boundaries—with you in control.

 

And what are the benefits?

  • Choice -- Can you really put in place a sound strategy if you do not have options, if you do not have choice? Are you limited in your choice of hypervisors, public cloud providers, or IT infrastructure? How easy is it to change cloud providers if you wanted to do so in the future?   Cisco Intercloud Fabric will give you the freedom to place workloads across clouds. And across heterogeneous environments … ‘any’ network … ‘any’ hardware platform … with multi-hypervisor support … from VMware vSphere to Microsoft Azure … and …. back!
  • Consistency -- Can you seamlessly extend your private cloud environment to the public cloud? What about your network and security policies? How will they change? Cisco Intercloud Fabric will make your life easier in this regard. You will be able to get consistent network and security policies across your data and applications, wherever they reside. This will allow you can accelerate the time required to deploy your applications to the cloud.
  • Control -- Managing multiple cloud frameworks is challenging! More importantly, it is about selecting the best cloud for your specific application and data. Cisco Intercloud Fabric gives you unified workload management across clouds ….. You are back in control!

Cisco Intercloud Fabric

A powerful enabler ….

We continue to envision IT organizations transitioning to new roles as trusted ‘brokers of IT services’. As we discussed, this model enables IT to add value to one or more public or private cloud services on behalf of its users. The intent is to dynamically bring together, integrate, and manage the delivery of multiple cloud services to best meet the needs of the business.

Cisco Intercloud Fabric is a powerful enabler to facilitate that transition. You, like most IT decision makers want to retain control over your hybrid cloud environment and you may need the ability to repatriate your workloads back to your data centers.  Avoid a ‘one-way’ trip to the public cloud …. Retain choice, consistency and control without compromising your compliance requirements with Cisco Intercloud Fabric!

Do you want to see a demo?

Well … If you are going to be at VMworld in San Francisco this week, you can stop by at the Cisco booth (#1217.) You will be able to witness how you can unleash your hybrid cloud with Intercloud Fabric. You can also attend one of our sessions on Tuesday to learn more about this solution and associated use cases.

Additional Resources

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

So many workloads and so many clouds ….

 

Recently, I had the opportunity to join a discussion regarding the #FutureOfCloud in the #InnovateThink  Tweet Chat. One of the questions that came up revolved around the process typically used to associate a workload with a specific cloud deployment model. That is an important question and top of mind whenever we speak with customers.

One of the most appealing qualities of the cloud is the variety of ways in which it can be delivered and consumed. A successful cloud strategy will let you take advantage of a full range of consumption models for cloud services to meet your specific business needs. In reality, when we think about it, the process is very similar to what any company in virtually any industry goes through when shaping its business strategy. For each area of the business, inevitably the question arises: Build, Buy or Partner?

Build versus Buy

When formulating their sourcing strategies, IT organizations repeatedly face very similar service-by-service, “build-versus-buy” decisions. The predisposition of IT organizations is to create and build IT services on their own. That is what many IT professionals want to do … create new services, invent ‘new things’. And that may very well be the best option. However, many customers also realize that it is often beneficial to adopt best-in-class capabilities to remain competitive even if this requires outsourcing select portions of the IT value chain. Hence the emerging role of IT as a broker of IT services that we discussed in the past (for more information please visit our web site.) And this requires a paradigm shift for many IT organizations.

Solving the ‘Equation’

To solve the “build versus buy” equation when sourcing their IT services, IT needs to evaluate cost, risk, and agility requirements to determine the best strategy for their business. IT needs a plan and a set of governance principles to evaluate each service based on its strategic profile. A collaborative approach between business and IT is also required. For example: Is the service core to the business? What is the business value associated with it (e.g., strategic importance, sustainable differentiation it can provide, time to market requirements etc..)? What are the cost implications (CapEx vs OpEx), risk profile, security, SLAs, data privacy and regulatory compliance requirements?  And … do you have the expertise to plan, build and manage the new IT service while meeting the expectations of your business counterparts?

Hybrid Cloud Rapidly Emerging as the New ‘Normal’

Not surprisingly, my experience when talking to customers that operate in regulated industries or that are concerned about security -- and the privacy of their data more specifically – is that they tend to favor private cloud deployments. For example, I was talking to a compliance manager part of a global financial institution and as soon as I uttered ‘public cloud’ his reaction was quite predictable …. He shook his head, got serious and quipped “Public cloud … I do not think so …” Real or perceived, security concerns remain top of mind and a major barrier to cloud adoption, and this is validated by market research data.

Hybrid Cloud

The predictability of the application with respect to resource consumption is also a factor. Applications that have high elasticity requirements are well positioned to benefit from the economics, agility and scale that public clouds can offer. Infrastructure capacity planning and optimization is a big task for most IT organizations. Having the ability to burst into the public cloud represents an appealing option. This is also why ultimately hybrid cloud is becoming the new normal, and results of the 2014 North Bridge Future of Cloud Computing Survey supports that view.

2014 Future of Cloud Annual Survey Results - Source Gigaom

2014 Future of Cloud Computing - Annual Survey Results

The Power of Choice

Arguably the most important thing your IT organization can do is to diversify its choice of cloud providers ….. Simply because without choice you really do not have a strategy …. And no contingency plans to go along with it ….

What do you think?

Additional Resources:

 

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

#InnovateThink Tweet Chat on Friday, July 11 at 10 a.m. PST: Exploring the Next Phase in Cloud

The World of Many Clouds™ is evolving. With greater access to cloud-based services and applications and the wherewithal to adopt them, CIOs are facing increased IT purchases coming from outside their department. In order for IT leaders to maintain relevance and control they must act as cloud brokers to the lines of business (LOBs). And as private or public clouds are becoming more connected through hybrid clouds, IT must determine not only how to secure these new workloads and connections, but also determine which workload to deploy in which cloud. True hybrid clouds will allow for ultimate workload portability. In doing this, IT will achieve global reach and reliability, consolidation and control, and cost and scale across private, public, and hybrid clouds.

As with any technology, the future of cloud is constantly changing. In the world of many clouds, users experience cloud services anywhere, at any time, and on any device, and in which businesses consume IT as a service. How can IT leaders prepare for the next phase in cloud? Focus on workload allocation, agility and management. Results of the 2014 North Bridge Future of Cloud Computing Survey show 45 percent already, or plan to, run their company in the cloud and 60-85 percent of IT will move some or significant processing to the cloud in the next 1-2 years. As this transition occurs, IT leaders need to consider the following:

Cisco Cloud Tweet Chat 7.10.14

  • What’s your process for determining which workload gets which cloud model?
  • How has that played out? % public, private and hybrid/community?
  • How are you planning now for your next cloud initiative?
  • Security, access, management: What are your priorities for cloud going forward?

Join me on Twitter this Friday, July 11 at 10 a. m. PST/1 p.m. EST for an exciting and insightful hour about the #FutureOfCloud in the #InnovateThink  Tweet Chat.

Follow  @EFuiano and @CiscoCloud alongside @jeffcutler to learn more about how cloud has transformed the business landscape and why companies must continue to keep pace with the possibilities it creates.
Simply use the hashtags #InnovateThink and #FutureOfCloud on Twitter to join the conversation.

 

Learn more about Cloud:

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Governing the World of Many Clouds with Cisco Cloud Consumption Optimization Service

CIOs face a scary reality. They only know about 5-10% of the cloud applications that are being used within their organization. This shadow IT is ripping holes in their security strategies. In fact, a recent Forrester study cited that 43% of respondents said they believed shadow IT practices were major threats to their respective organizations. And, as the fallout from recent high-profile attacks have shown, both IT and business leaders will face the consequences if a security breach occurs. CiscoCloudConsumptionOptimization

To help leaders uncover shadow IT, we launched Cloud Consumption Assessment Service in January. But discovering shadow IT is only the first step that organizations need to take to manage cost and risks. Moving to cloud compels customers to build in-house clouds and learn to broker services from public cloud providers.

In my last blog, I outlined the need for customers to implement a new lifecycle approach for managing cloud—one that implements the processes and tools to govern cloud services from end-to-end across public, private, and hybrid clouds. Many organizations are beginning to set up dedicated organizations to manage and govern cloud adoption. Recently, the BBC set up a group composed of IT delivery team, security architects, lawyers, infrastructure experts and user communities to manage the purchase and use of cloud computing in their organization.

Establishing a new approach to managing clouds requires a big change. In my conversations with CIOs and IT leaders, many share that they lack the know-how, processes, and tools to effectively manage public, private, and hybrid cloud services.

To help customers deal with these challenges, we are introducing Cisco Cloud Consumption Optimization Service. This annual subscription service helps customers govern their cloud adoption from end-to-end and continually monitor cloud use.

Our cloud experts will help customers establish policies, processes, and tools to govern cloud services based on Cisco IT’s experience of managing more than 1,000 cloud providers. Throughout the year, we will help organizations implement policies to manage cloud providers and enforce security and compliance, develop their hybrid cloud service strategy including a technology and budgetary roadmap, set up a cloud program office, establish a approved vendor list, and more.

With this service, IT can rapidly evolve into a broker of cloud services internally. By doing so, organizations can launch cloud service faster and meet the needs of business groups. Additionally, the service can help organizations reduce cloud costs more than 10-15 percent, manage business risks and ensure regulatory compliance, and continually monitor cloud services and spot trends over time.

You can learn more about Cloud Consumption Optimization Service at: www.cisco.com/go/cloudconsumption

Tags: , , , , ,