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With Cisco Cloud Management, FASTWEB Delivers New Value-Added Cloud Services

Imagine that you head the leading telecommunications provider in Italy and you are watching traditional service and revenue streams struggle under intense competitive pressure. Customer retention is a major issue because the types of services required by your residential and business clients are changing. Clearly, you need to retain customers and do so by offering new services. It is a generally known business fact that often it is more cost effective to invest in retaining customers than trying to get new ones in such competitive industries.

So, how would you do it?

FASTWEB, a Swisscom company, asked Cisco exactly that question. FASTWEB’s analysis indicated that offering cloud-based service delivery would be an excellent opportunity to retain existing business while capturing new revenue streams from Italian businesses looking for new IT solutions. But FASTWEB struggled with execution due to insufficient resources to develop and deliver these new services.

So, FASTWEB adopted Cisco’s Unified Data Center architecture which includes Cisco UCS Blade Servers and Intelligent Automation for Cloud (IAC). Cisco UCS servers were selected for performance, reliability, and the ability to integrate smoothly with other heterogeneous elements in their solution stack. They thoroughly analyzed cloud management solutions, and Cisco IAC scored the highest in their evaluation for:

• Openness and flexibility
• Ease of use by users and administrators
• Single management console access to the entire cloud service lifecycle
• Ability to build services without deep technical skills

FASTWEB

Teaming with Cisco Services, FASTWEB implemented cloud service delivery across six distinct use cases. Because of UCS they did so with minimum server hardware, gaining a complete cloud infrastructure that consumes only a few racks. With this Cisco Unified Data Center strategy and solution, FASTWEB estimates their customers can save around 50 percent over three years utilizing FASTWEB services compared to on-premises infrastructure.

FASTWEB2

What’s more FASTWEB relies on Cisco IAC to offer customers a portal that is intuitive with fast delivery thanks to strong automation and orchestration of all cloud elements, including network. None of their competitors in the Italian marketplace has an offering equal to this unified solution from Cisco.

Now FASTWEB’s cloud services are growing smoothly thanks to technology that scales as quickly as their business does. FASTWEB plans to expand its use of Cisco IAC to offer new services as such PaaS and SaaS for their customers.

Read more about FASTWEB’s implementation in this case study and this recent CiscoLive Milan presentation.

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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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