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#EngineersUnplugged S5|Ep1: Role and Policy Based Control

March 5, 2014 at 10:46 am PST

We’re back with an all-new season of Engineers Unplugged--more unicorns, more technology, and more selfies than even the Oscars have to offer.

Season 5 kicks off with a bang--role-based access control and policy management discussion brought to you by Nick Howell (@that1guynick) and Joe Onisick (@jonisick). What are the implications for hybrid cloud? What are the predictions for network and storage? How is this related to ACI?

Watch and learn:

Those are some well-maned unicorns, more hair than substance.

Unicorns with lovely manes courtesy of Nick Howell and Joe Onisick

Unicorns with lovely manes courtesy of Nick Howell and Joe Onisick

**The next shoot is at Varrow Madness, Charlotte, NC, March 20, 2014! Contact me now to become internet famous.**

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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Move Past Survival and Thrive

Every area of your business has a stake in the way IT delivers services. Each one needs speed, agility, efficiency, and a clear definition of its relationship with all of the other areas and the business as a whole. In order to get there and create an agile and efficient organization that flows, you need to unify IT with all areas of the business. There is no way around it.

If your company is one of the four out of ten companies moving to a private cloud by the end of 2014, then you know you need a solution that does more than dispense virtual machines in minutes. You need a solution to deliver diverse services across an entire solution stack. You need a cloud partner that can align with the demands of your business today, tomorrow, and well into the future. Always keep in mind that your cloud technology choices are major decisions with business-critical impact.

Selecting a cloud management solution is a strategic decision for your organization. In a previous blog, I wrote about Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud (IAC) receiving the highest score in the Forrester Private Cloud Wave Report for cloud vision and strategy. What we presented to Forrester, and even more, is now available for your organization through the latest release of Cisco IAC.

How does vision and strategy translate into IT better aligning with your business? Sit back and watch this informative, short video to find out.

Every day customers tell me what keeps them up at night is not how to reduce costs but how to survive. Just as in nature, survival for business depends on intelligence and fast and agile execution of processes. To make these capabilities part of your organization’s genetic composition, so that they are intrinsic, almost intuitive, you need a cloud management solution that sees, understands, and manages your whole environment: physical and virtual, networks, applications, and more – whatever comprises your stacks.

Plus, you need cloud efficiencies to extend beyond your data center securely and encompass business functions such as delivery of development environments within minutes, the ordering of a new laptop or virtual desktop, onboarding of a new employee, or even the ordering of office supplies. And you want to be able to do all of these things from a unified user interface.

That’s exactly what the latest release of Cisco IAC brings to the table:

• The integration of Cisco IAC and Cisco UCS Director delivers a comprehensive private cloud, which frees you to focus on creating differentiated services instead of building your cloud.
• A unified self-service portal and catalog covers your enterprise, providing a modern online shopping experience across all data center and workplace functions.
• Advanced cloud governance offers the ability to manage demand, suppliers, and service consumption tracked to specific budgetary or resource thresholds.

But wait, there’s more. There’s the network. Any NOC expert will tell you that delivering network services in the cloud is a manual, trouble-ticket-based grind. At a time when your business needs speed and agility, manual network service delivery slows down IT and your business.

Unchain your business with Cisco IAC’s out-of-box templates that automate the delivery of VPNs, firewalls, and load balancers. We’re not talking about a single configuration applied to every organization, but the ability for each tenant to define its own unique network service configuration.

Cisco understands that cloud management is more than dispensing virtual machines. The latest release of Cisco IAC allows IT to align with your business, so that you’re free to not just survive, but to thrive.

Take the next step and watch this technical video overview of Cisco IAC.

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Cisco Champions Talk about Hybrid Cloud and Intercloud : A Podcast

February 25, 2014 at 8:59 am PST

On  January 28th , Cisco launched the Intercloud solutions . On the tail of this announcement, we invited a couple of Cisco Champions to share their perspectives on hybrid cloud and Intercloud with one of our subject matter experts . This was our first Champion podcast.

Eric Wright (@discoposse) and Jonathan Davis (@subnetwork) joined Cisco Mark Loesel to talk about cloud trends, opportunities and challenges companies have to face to deploy a cloud model, and the benefits of intercloud solutions.

Podcast1

Listen to this podcast, hosted by @commsninja.

Amongst the topic covered in this first edition, you will find conversations about

  • The evolution of the cloud market
  • Embracing hybrid cloud
  • When  public cloud can’t work for an organization
  • The impact of shadow IT
  • The importance of security
  • The Cisco Intercloud solution and the policy model
  • How open do you want your solution to be
  • The challenges to the deployment of hybrid cloud
  • How cloud will mature

To go further, I encourage you to check the following blogs on  Cisco Intercloud- You will find also excellent pointers for additional information.

If you are not familiar with the Cisco Champions, I encourage you to read the blog from Colin Lynch (@UCSGuru) posted last month : What does it mean to be a Cisco Champion? 

 

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Summary : Beyond Data Security…Five Biggest Risks of Shadow Cloud IT Services

February 11, 2014 at 3:19 pm PST

In his recent blog (Unleash the Promise of Cloud), Enrico Fuiano reports  how a Cisco Intel study  clearly indicates that Line of Business (LoB) leaders have been playing a more important role in driving requirements for IT solutions and services. Amongst the reasons driving this shift, Enrico pointed to the “shadow IT” initiatives.

BobDimiccoRobert  Dimicco, Cisco Senior Director , Global leader and founder of Cisco’s Cloud Consumption and Broker Services Practice  tells  a similar story , as he recalls  a recent  conversation with a CIO “My CFO and CEO just asked me if I knew how many of our users were accessing cloud services. They asked me if I knew how much we were spending or if there were any risks.” He said, “Bob I don’t know the answers, and I don’t have a plan.”

In his blog, “Beyond Data Security ..Five Biggest Risks of Shadow Cloud IT Services “ Bob shares that “In working with our customers, we have found that there are typically 5-10 times more cloud services being used than are known by IT.”  This challenging trend, called Shadow-IT is not without any risk . In fact , Bob describes  the 5 major risks of Shadow IT which are

  • Data Security Risks
  • Brand Risks
  • Compliance Risks
  • Business Continuity Risks
  • Financial Risks

So how to identify these risks and deal with them ? Bob explores the benefits and  services offered by the Cisco Data Center Assessment for Cloud Consumption.

  • Identify unauthorized cloud services and gain greater visibility into your cloud usage in order to reduce
    security and financial exposure
  • Mitigate risks by proactively identifying risk and compliance issues associated with cloud usage
  • Reduce costs through recommendations to consolidate and/or eliminate cloud services
    ◦ Obtain early warning of overage and related charges
    ◦ Identify duplicate services and identify potential candidate cloud services for consolidation
    ◦ Highlight over- and underutilized services
    ◦ Estimate potential cost savings through a customized financial model
  •  Enable greater business agility through cloud governance, which can help IT and LOBs
    efficiently select and deploy cloud services to rapidly meet organizational needs
  • Enable greater business agility through cloud governance, which can help IT and LOBs
    efficiently select and deploy cloud services to rapidly meet organizational needs

To learn more, and start now to build a plan,  check Bob’s blog here 

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Unleash the Promise of Cloud: A Strategic Perspective – The Landscape

If you are reading this blog hoping to get a universal recipe for your cloud strategy, I believe you will be disappointed. But then, you already know…. there are no ‘universal’ cloud strategies. You have to formulate a cloud strategy that best fits your business objectives and IT priorities (among a number of other factors.)  Our Cisco services team for Cloud Strategy, Management and Operations has various tools including our Cisco DomainTen™ framework that will help you formulate the right cloud strategy for your organization. Parag’s blog is a great source of information in this regard.

This blog series instead will offer a set of perspectives on how I view the evolution of the World of Many Clouds ™ and what steps we are taking to align our cloud strategy to capitalize on it. This first blog will put our strategy in ‘context’ outlining our point of view in light of some important market dynamics.

The primary market research study that we conducted in collaboration with INTEL, along with additional secondary market research studies, clearly indicate that Line of Business (LoB) leaders have been playing a more important role in driving requirements for IT solutions and services. The reasons behind this trend are many, including and not limited to increasing market and competitive pressures, an uncertain business climate, variability of macroeconomic factors and a relentless need to innovate at a faster pace to stay ahead of the competition.  What’s more, LOBs now have greater ability to access IT solutions – such as Software as a Service -- outside the traditional enterprise IT value chain, creating “shadow IT” initiatives. In response, IT organizations are looking for new ways to retain their leadership, control, and at times, even relevancy. Furthermore, IT organizations are now expected to support strategic business objectives and enable business growth while also harnessing new technology trends, leading to innovation and new customer experiences. To remain relevant to the business, IT must become a “change agent” and be perceived as a true strategic enabler. The question is how?

We envision IT organizations transitioning to new roles as trusted ‘brokers of IT services’. This model enables IT to add value to one or more public or private cloud services on behalf of its users. IT does this by dynamically bringing together, integrating, and tailoring the delivery of cloud services to best meet the needs of the business.

In a wide-ranging study, Cisco, in partnership with Intel®, sought to pinpoint just how these powerful trends are impacting IT. The “Impact of Cloud on IT Consumption Models” study surveyed 4,226 IT leaders in 18 industries across nine key economies, developed as well as emerging: Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, India, Mexico, Russia, United Kingdom, and the United States. The study supports our point of view. Up to 76% of the survey respondents signaled that IT will act as a “broker” of cloud services across internal and external clouds for LoBs.

In other words, when formulating their sourcing strategies, IT organizations repeatedly face service-by-service, “build-versus-buy” decisions. Therefore, IT needs a plan and a set of governance criteria that support the consistent evaluation of their IT services sourcing options (e.g., time to market, value, sustainable differentiation that the service can provide, SLAs, cost, risk profile and the experience the IT department intrinsically has with that particular service etc..)

This “IT services sourcing flexibility” enables greater levels of business agility, transparency, and speed of deployment to help LoB leaders unlock innovation and achieve core business objectives.

However, let’s step back and see how this is all fitting together. If we rewind, we introduced the concept of the World of Many Clouds ™ a couple of years ago. You can view the evolution of this world as the outcome of the intersection and progressive integration between traditional IT environments and IT services offered by public cloud providers. The roads (in our metaphor) are converging. Lines are blurring. In theory, nothing is preventing a company that consumes IT services from becoming a cloud provider itself (public or private.)

I also believe that the debate regarding private versus public cloud is over. It is about having both at the same time. And to be able to bridge and take advantage of both; hybrid cloud is the new ‘normal.’

In turn, the ability to combine and dynamically aggregate cloud services from private and public clouds can truly occur if IT organizations can rely on an open and secure hybrid cloud environment. And for that to take place you should have the ability to move your cloud workloads (and more broadly your IT services) around. Both data and applications.

You can easily envision a scenario in which a workload -- based on a set of specifications -- ‘automatically discovers’ the best infrastructure to run on.  An exchange could facilitate the allocation process. An XML based standard could emerge along with a set of processes used by exchanges to match demand and supply of IT services based on SLAs, costs, data locality requirements etc… On the supply side you can also envision a scenario in which federation or capacity aggregation among suppliers of cloud services would enable increased economies of scale, consistency and a broader set of choices.

Ok … coming back to earth … our Cloud strategy intends to capitalize on some of these market dynamics and enable IT to retain control, relevance and increase its strategic profile by leveraging the evolution of the World of Many Clouds. In my next blog I will provide an overview of the actual strategy and begin focusing on it in more detail. But first I wanted to share the context.

And as always, to learn more you can begin here.

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