So, I wrapped up CiscoLive Day 1 with a chance to catch up at the end of the day with Fred Nix of EMC (@NixFred) and Vaughn Stewart of NetApp (@vStewed). While the conversation covered a number of topics, not all them appropriate for a corporate blog, we did commit this part of the conversation to tape. I think this segment highlights a couple of things. First, how our ecosystem of data center partners is second to none--these guys are rock stars and they represent equally cool companies. Second, I think this really shows how much IT has evolved and the lines have blurred so that folks like EMC and NetApp are able move beyond their storage roots and deliver comprehensive infrastructure solutions to our customers through their vBlock and FlexPod offerings, respectively.
The recent release of the new Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud Starter Edition is good news for Cisco’s Partners.
Customers will have another way to purchase and implement a Cisco cloud solution. Most customers already know that they can buy this solution from Cisco and have Cisco Advanced Services perform the installation, configuration and customization — now qualified Partners will be able to both sell and stand up cloud solutions as well. Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud is a sophisticated yet easy-to-use cloud solution. Customers buy a software license, but typically need a Professional Services engagement to stand up the cloud.
The Cisco IAC Partner Enablement program is what makes this possible for a Partner to perform. Qualified Partners will be able to get pre-sales and post-sales training. By pre-sales training, I mean gaining competencies around how to identify and qualify a deal, how to present the value proposition around Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud, how to strategically sell it and then an understanding about how it’s deployed.
Post-sales training is a combination of learning foundational issues around cloud dynamics, and seven days of hands-on labs with the technology — becoming competent in the installation, configuration, enhancement, and customization of a Cisco IAC environment.
In order to insure quality and high customer satisfaction as Cisco IAC Starter Edition is rolled out, two dozen Authorized Technology Partners (ATP) Partners have been selected worldwide who have already built a cloud practice in their Professional Services organization. They’ve made investments and commitments to joint sales planning sessions, training classes and mentoring engagements. They have cloud business design and implementation service competencies matched by technical implementation qualifications that enable them to do multi-system integration with advanced enterprise software systems using standard web services and custom APIs. They are familiar with Cisco UCS and VMware certified and have done advanced data storage integrations. These consultants, architects and implementation engineers will receive the conceptual as well as hands-on experience with standing up a Cisco IAC solution.
A Phased Approach:
Starting later this month and next month, the first phase of training will begin for these ATP Partners with pre-sales and post-sales service delivery training classes. As these ATP Partners complete their training, a second phase of Partners, who are motivated to obtain the training, will be able to sign up for this enablement.
Visit the Cisco IAC Partner Community. Cisco Partners are participating in the online community around Cisco IAC. With your Cisco Partner credentials, drop by cisco.com/go/iacloudpartner and join in the discussion, read the Q&A, and find other information designed specifically for Partners. The website will grow and develop based on your input.
See it live. Cisco is doing live demos at InterOp in Las Vegas the week of May 6, at EMC World in Las Vegas the week of May 21, and Cisco Live in San Diego the week of June 11. Stop by the Cisco booth and say hello.
See a demo of Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud Starter Edition online. Visit the website cisco.com/go/starteredition and click on the Video Demonstration. You can also find Data Sheets and Presentations there and learn more about the Cisco Cloud Portal and Cisco Process Orchestrator technologies that make up Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud.
Join the live Cisco webcast here on May 15, 2012 at 8 am Pacific Time to ask questions about Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud Starter Edition.
Let’s face it, we live in an on-demand economy. As consumers, we expect instant gratification – whether booking a plane ticket online or downloading an app. And now that need for speed applies to IT infrastructure.
It’s what makes public cloud computing so compelling: users want self-service and IT resources delivered within minutes. But the legacy infrastructure and management systems in most internal IT departments weren’t designed for this new on-demand operating model.
If you’ve ever played Jenga, you know what happens when you remove the wrong block too quickly; it falls apart. That same complexity and fragility slows down most IT teams and their existing infrastructure: they have dozens of systems that don’t necessarily work all that well together. And when users request IT infrastructure resources, the end-to-end cycle time often takes several weeks.
Some people say that in the next few years that Infrastructure as a Service cloud deployments will be focused mostly on private clouds. And then they say that enterprises will migrate to public clouds after they have become “experienced” in running a cloud. About a year ago I could really see this story played out. Now, fifteen months after we introduced Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud, I have some different points of view. I would have thought that by now that private cloud architectures would have begun to converge to a few standard patterns. This has not happened. The world is still diverging when it comes to both Private and Public cloud architectures.
I do see patterns arising in successful cloud deployments and here are some of the key ones:
#5: Pragmatic Approach: IT shops that come with a long list of RFP requirements and questions take a long time to source a technology provider and to achieve production success. Others that are pragmatic (can I say Agile in their approach) get to cloud quicker and learn from their successes and missteps alike.
#4: They Have a Cloud Instance Roadmap: After a cloud deployment, some IT organizations think that is it, they are done, next project, my move to cloud is complete. Hold it right there, did you know that cloud is not a single step where you through a switch, but a succession of deployments of great scope from one step to the next? A roadmap is needed that covers: hardware, network, storage infrastructure, virtualization technology and release version, management and orchestration software instance version and finally the services that you are offering to the end users and how the service catalog is changing over time. Those that have a roadmap roughed out are generally more successful than those that have a big bang perspective.
#3: Appreciation for Challenge of Management of Change:Moving to cloud is a big change in an operating model; careers are created and new roles are defined. How does an organization move to the new model with different technology, processes and people? When a team proactively manages the change in the non-technical they ensure long term success. It is not just about self service, cloud catalogs, orchestration, domain management and virtualization. It is more about service designers and automation authors and changes in operational processes.
#2: Rise of the Cloud Architect: Since cloud is about a new operating model a new position and role is needed. If you have a cloud project and do not have a cloud architect tying it all together from cost models, to hypervisors, to orchestration and orderable service definitions, you need a organization role tune up ASAP.
#1: A Service Centric Approach: Most people get this one right away. Service centric projects are the key focus for ITaaS. However, I can’t tell you how many times when I am talking to an IT team, the opening bell results in a speeds and feeds conversation around provisioning that piece of infrastructure and that virtualization API. If you ask the question about what services they want to offer their end users for self service ordering you will get a request for more time to answer that question. Service Centric IT shops will take the time to start first with the business requirements and the perspective from the end user point of view. Transform your cloud project approach to a service centric agile project and you will go far.
IT shops deploying clouds over the past year have been focused on Infrastructure as a Service ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infrastructure_as_a_service#Infrastructure ) as a way to drive speed in virtual and physical server provisioning, cost savings in operations, proactive service level agreements, and increased control and governance. In one of my blogs I introduced our Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud http://blogs.cisco.com/datacenter/the-secret-is-now-out-you-can-simplify-cloud-deployments-with-cisco-unified-management/ and how that addresses both private, hybrid and public clouds IaaS. Key to this is the service catalog and self service portal. Moving to cloud is NOT about taking hundreds of server configuration templates and moving to them immediate self service. All you are doing in that model is automating VM sprawl. They key is defining a limited set of services and options that your end users such as application owners and technical folks can order through a self service portal and manage their life-cycle.