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Straight Talk About Cloud: 20 Providers and What They Think You Want

There’s a lot of talk about cloud, and for good reason.  According to a new white paper from IDC, 68% of companies with more than 1,000 employees are using some form of cloud or plan to implement cloud within the next 12 months.  In addition, these companies adopting cloud expect to spend 54% of their IT budgets on cloud in two years.

For the white paper, IDC contacted 20 providers from among the more than 200 cloud providers offering Cisco Powered services.  What makes the white paper unique is that these providers were asked to share their perspective on how their customers perceive value.  These are the companies who are investing substantial resources into building out their infrastructure to be able to offer your organization cloud services as you need them.  They make their investments based on what they believe are your primary needs and key concerns.

Specifically, the white paper explores which perceived factors are the most important to cloud providers in reaching you, their customer.  It also reveals how these providers seek to differentiate themselves and where they see the best value in their cloud infrastructure investments.

You can watch the video and read the full IDC white paper for yourself.  The white paper was also reported on by Computerworld.

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Customers choose innovation : Cisco UCS is the # 1 blade server in the Americas

 Cisco’s First Trifecta

This week IDC released the calendar 1Q14 server market share tracker report, which is starting to generate press given the news that Cisco UCS has achieved the #1 x86 blade server revenue market share position in the US, in North America and in the Americas  - a “triple crown” right before the Belmont Stakes :-) Globe

We are understandably very proud of this achievement, and we’re taking time to celebrate. It was fun calling John Chambers to share the news, and to remind him that the team delivered on our commitment – to become #1 in blades in the US in 2014, and use that as the launchpad for our #1 world-wide campaign.

At the same time, it’s a humbling experience. We can argue about the meaning of market share numbers. They can be viewed as an indicator of momentum, they can be viewed as ephemeral, so what really is the meaning of being #1?

My interpretation is simple: Customers have a vote, and the market share numbers are an indication of the huge trust customers are placing on Cisco, not just on UCS. In 5 short years we’ve accumulated over 33,000 customers world-wide, including over 75% of Fortune 500 companies.  Contrary to competitors’ predictons, UCS is not a flash in the pan. It’s a reflection of Cisco’s ability to innovate in a way that drives tangible business outcomes for our customers. We struck a resonant cord when you consider innovations such as:

  • Architectural: Cisco delivered the first new innovation in x86 servers in over 10 years by inventing a new category, Fabric Computing, that proved ideal for server virtualization and private clouds.
  • Business Model: In addition to significant organic R&D investments, Cisco leveraged industry R&D much better than any of our peers. Whether they be infrastructure, operating system, applications, middleware or selling partners, we created an ecosystem that is fair, flexible and scalable. We created a business platform, not a technology platform.
  • Customer experience: Beyond UCS technology advantages, customers choose Cisco because of our commitment to customer relationships: our sales team’s demonstrated capability to understand our customers’ business and proactively propose transformational opportunites, and our support teams’ utter commitment to protecting business operations when issues inevitably occur.

As we set our sights on being #1 WW, I’d like to surprise readers by actually congratulating HP on being #1 WW; they’ve had the longest run at this coveted spot in the industry. We aim to capture this spot, and to hold it for longer, which we believe is eminently achievable given  we’ve achieved #2 WW by focusing on a subset of all available use cases and market segments. We have many opportunities, all of them well-funded and in execution, to drive expansion – new products, new business capabilities, more market coveraged, enhanced manufacturing, delivery and support.

So in essence, rather than admiring our recent #1 win in the Americas, we choose to view this as a call to arms, a rallying cry to accelerate our drive to #1 WW. Velociraptors unbound!

Lastly, a big THANK YOU to our customers, our partners and our entire value chain teams to demonstrate Cisco is serious about setting the state of the art in   computing. And I say this deliberately, because we are not in the server business. We are in the computing business, which is the business of optimizing application environments for performance and total cost of ownership – what our customers want.

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IDC Quantifies Massive Business Value for Data Centers Using ACI

At the recent CiscoLive event in San Francisco, Soni Jiandani, Senior Vice President of Cisco INSBU, expanded on the industry momentum for Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI).  She highlighted wide ranging customers and ecosystem partners that are discovering ACI’s architectural potential to drive enormous simplification of cloud and application delivery.

Now it’s possible to quantify ACI benefits in economic terms.  IDC has just completed an in-depth analysis projecting ACI’s three year return in one of the largest data center environments in the world, Cisco’s own IT Elastic Infrastructure Services (CITEIS).

IDCPicNarrowBorder

Cisco IT runs over 4000 applications, on both virtualized and bare-metal machines, stores  40 PB of data and inspects over 27 TB of traffic daily. CITEIS is a private cloud environment integrating ACI for policy driven network provisioning and operations for a variety of dynamic workloads.

IDC points out that Cisco IT’s decision to use its Cisco ACI technology “was not a foregone conclusion — Cisco’s IT team uses many technologies and solutions from other vendors” to meet its primary responsibilities of improving company-wide productivity, security and asset utilization while reducing the risk of business transitions over time.  Now that “ACI testing and trial runs have been completed, the results yield detailed calculations of ACI’s impact on IT operations, including IT infrastructure spending, the efficiency of IT operations including application deployments, and the incidence of downtime.”

Specifically, IDC found “Automated provisioning in areas such as datacenter access (62.1% projected time savings), access control lists (53.0%), local server load balancing (55.5%), global server load balancing (72.4%), and fleet provisioning (58.0%) will be achieved through the creation and maintenance of provisioning templates.”  Cumulatively, this results in a 41% savings on both Opex and Capex, using a conservative bottom-up approach. IDC also quantified (20%) downtime reduction and (45%) power and space savings.  “IDC believes that the projections are well founded and that these benefits are of the type and scope that organizations can reasonably expect to attain by deploying a policy-based infrastructure solution.  IDC conducted several interviews with IT managers and analyzed “Before” and “After” metrics for common provisioning tasks as well as Capex reductions due to ACI’s dynamic isolation capabilities within a shared production environment.

According to Rebecca Jacoby, SVP and CIO, Cisco, “ACI’s policy based architecture will bring the promise of infrastructure programmability to the masses. It makes every datacenter operator able to effectively create policies that can be used, reused, and deployed in a much simpler and more efficient manner — and use the staff that is currently spending all their time in running the network and the security protocols, to do much more strategic things.”

Download the IDC analysis here.  And for a background of ACI’s architectural approach take a look at the white paper from Enterprise Strategy group.

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How the Shift to Mobility & Location-Based Services is Changing Hospitality & Guest Services.

Mobility trend in Hospitality

A recent TripAdvisor survey found that over 40% of travelers use their smart phones to plan a trip and over 46% use their smart phones to enhance their trip while traveling.

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No longer is it just an idea or an aspiration for the hospitality industry to use innovative methods to engage with their guests, for example Marriott Hotels, just this year, announced the addition of mobile checkout to its industry-leading Marriott Mobile app for smartphones. Clearly mobile check-out is just the latest innovation from the brand as a new service designed for today’s connected travelers. Read More »

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Mobile Retail Evolution and Location Based Services

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This is part of a series of how location services is a core part of the mobile evolution in various industries. In a previous post I looked at the growth of mobile  location, data and context based advertising, and there is no doubt from the evidence that this market space is already big, and predicted to grow exponentially over the next 4 or 5 years.

While this is very interesting at a macro level, for most of us what does that really mean, what can it be used for, how can we get some value or benefits from it….

Let’s look at this from the point of view of various industries, both looking at the uses of the consumer and of the business in a practical manner.

Today we look at the Retail Industry, and ask a few questions to understand the landscape.

  • How are consumers habits changing
  • What are retailers doing about this
  • What can we expect to see in the coming year(s)?

How are consumer habits changing?

We already know that today over two-thirds of all U.S. consumers have a smartphone (expected to be >90% in about 3 years) and the capabilities that this brings is changing the face of retail business as we know it. Specifically looking at mobile retail and advertising the patterns are undeniable, we as mobile retail consumers are doing things differently and happy to engage and be engaged in new ways.

◦    Remember the coupon cutting days…well mobile coupons are starting to become the norm…recent research among mobile users shows significant numbers redeemed mobile coupons… 41% at grocery stores, 41% at department stores, and 39% @ clothing stores (source: Business Insider 2014) Read More »

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