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Do Your Own Self-Audit to Get the Most from the Hybrid Cloud

The hybrid cloud offers a key opportunity to businesses and other organizations.  Specifically, a hybrid cloud merges public cloud and private cloud resources.  Private clouds can either be premises-based or managed by a service provider.  By taking a hybrid approach, a company can dynamically extend the capabilities of its private cloud using public cloud resources.

Hybrid clouds offer many advantages over using just public or private cloud resources.  One of the most important is the ability to expand day-to-day operations in a cost-effective manner.  One method for using hybrid cloud in this way is described in the blog, “Do Your Homework Before Shopping for Hybrid Cloud Services” from our partner SungardAS.

Businesses begin by performing a self-audit of applications.  This includes identifying mission-critical applications.  Mission-critical applications are those that, if not available, could prevent an organization from functioning.  These applications are kept within the private cloud.

Less critical applications are those such as infrastructure services, messaging, collaboration, and database applications.  These may be candidates for moving to the public cloud.  In many cases, they can be maintained at a lower operating cost than an on-premises deployment.  In addition, applications in the public cloud can be easily and quickly scaled.  This gives organizations much needed flexibility and agility.  In turn, this enables organizations to act on market opportunities more quickly, giving them a powerful competitive edge.

Cloud applications can also be tightly integrated with network resources under a common management framework, such as those offered by SungardAS in partnership with Sigma Solutions.  This provides even greater flexibility as users move between virtual and physical environments.

With the right service provider, applications in the public cloud can be as or even more reliable than if they were in a private cloud.  For example, the public cloud uses resource pools to assure greater business continuity.  Consider if the server hosting your applications goes down.  In a private cloud, you may experience an interruption in service as your IT team addresses the problem.  With a public cloud, your service provider can move your applications and data to another server.  In many cases, users won’t even notice anything has out of the ordinary has happened.

Downtime is never convenient.  Which is why enterprise-class service is the standard for our partners who provide Cisco Powered services.  Even when an application itself isn’t mission-critical, the people using it may be performing mission-critical tasks.  Such tasks could include team collaboration to meet a crucial deadline or closing a sale with an important customer.

Hybrid cloud is already transforming the way we do business.  Want to learn more about how your business can take full advantage of the hybrid cloud from market leaders like Cisco, SungardAS, and Sigma Solutions?  Then click here for access to tools to help you, including the white paper, “The Compelling Business Case for Hybrid Cloud Services.”  You can also learn more about why Cisco Powered is the industry standard for cloud and managed services.

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A New Partnership for OpenStack

What happens when the market leader in cloud infrastructure partners with an open source expert? We witness a very unique opportunity for disruption.

Recently, Cisco and Red Hat announced an integrated infrastructure for OpenStack-based cloud deployments. OpenStack is a collaborationf developers and cloud computing technologists aimed at creating new, scalable solutions. This partnership will target enterprise and mid-market customers by streamlining deployment and operation of OpenStack-based private clouds while providing access to the InterCloud. The integrated infrastructure will combine Cisco Unified Computing (UCS), Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI), and Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform.

Together, Cisco and Red Hat will deliver a set of InterCloud-ready solutions designed to bring OpenStack to enterprise and service provider customers. By combining complementary strengths, Cisco and Red Hat are in the position to capitalize on this disruption and strengthen their positions as market leaders. Read More »

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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 »

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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.

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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?

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