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Workplace Services. A Brief Personal History of the Service Catalog and Its Evolution

When Cisco acquired netwScale (my company), in addition to our cloud portal, it also brought in the Cisco Workplace Portal (formerly RequestCenter).

There was a lot of curiosity as to what Cisco would do with an ITIL style service catalog and what the future of such product would be within Cisco.   Well, it’s 18 months later and it is doing quite well, with an exciting roadmap and some new things already shipped and some in the wing.

In this post, I want to discuss what are workplace services, how they have evolved, how they are evolving and what it means to the service catalog.

Workplace services are those services that employees need in order to do their jobs. They include computers, phones, offices, new employee set up, terminations, access to applications and anything else you can imagine.  I have seen tens of thousands of service definitions both common and unusual.

Common ones are the desktop computer variety, but even these sometimes have an unusual bent. For example, banks have different workstations for tellers than admin staff.  Other have engineering workstations that are  different salespeople. Role definition becomes a pretty important aspect of a service catalog implementation.

Unusual ones were “Report chemical fire”, “Order Executive Sedan”, “Inter-factory mail”, and “File patent idea”. Patent as a service, if you will

If it was something that could be requested, it went in the catalog. Today some customers have 1,500+ service definitions in their catalogs with user bases in the 350,000 employees.

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Are You at Oracle OpenWorld or Interop this Week?

October 1, 2012 at 6:52 am PST

The Intelligent Automation / Unified Management team is going to be at Interop in New York and Oracle OpenWorld in San Francisco. We’re looking forward to speaking with you!

Here’s a run-through of both events so you know where to find us:

Oracle OpenWorld, San Francisco

Did you know that Oracle NoSQL Big Data Solutions are Offered on Cisco UCS?  Join us at the Cisco booth theater to learn more about “How Cisco Tidal Enterprise Scheduler Lowers TCO for Oracle Big Data by Automating NoSQL Workloads on Cisco UCS”.

Attend one of the three sessions this week in the Cisco booth (1221):
Monday at 3:30 PST
Tuesday at 11:30 PST
Wednesday at noon PST

We’ll be showing an exciting demo of the real-time big data analytics for the social media at the event. This demo is powered by the Tidal Enterprise Scheduler.

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Top Five Differences between an Infrastructure Manager and a Cloud Management Solution

I get asked this question a lot.  Cisco has multiple exciting Converged Infrastructure solutions with partners.   There are actually two different software product “categories” covering the Infrastructure (or POD) Manager and the Cloud Management Solution.  Let dig a bit deeper in what the differences are.

OR

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Your Cloud, Your Way, Delivered by CSC

September 25, 2012 at 7:17 am PST

CSC’s portfolio of cloud solutions has quadrupled along with the global customer base. It’s unique offering, BizCloud, saves months and millions of dollars over the other “do it yourself” private clouds.

What’s the secret behind this success?

A unique cloud-business model

Take the best elements of a public cloud – scalability and convenience, combine with the security of a private cloud. Add a best-in-class infrastructure-as-a-service layer. Top it off with a menu of cloud services options. Then bill as a service from a standard rate card and include a pay-as-you-go plan.

What do you get? A unique solution that CSC calls BizCloud.

BizCloud delivers the security and exclusivity of a private cloud with elasticity and a pay-as-you-go rate structure.

Differentiation through automation

You might wonder, how did CSC circumvent the time consuming and costly business of managing a  cloud environment? The answer is: better automation.

Automation simplifies management, reduces costs, increases business agility, and leads to a competitive advantage which is why CSC chose the Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud solution.

“The Cisco Intelligent Automation solution is also used by Cisco IT, and when we saw how Cisco uses its own cloud automation product, we were encouraged. It will be an essential component of our long-term reference architecture for the enterprise cloud,” says Eli Almog, CTO for Cloud, CSC

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So you want a real private cloud?

I had a customer ask me last week what differentiated our Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud solution.  He had reviewed many of the vendors in the space of private cloud software stacks including some of the virtualization vendors and was somewhat impressed to see that overall the industry was making progress in building out these solutions.  He did have a nagging thought in the back of his head that going with many vendors meant he was getting a “prefabricated” cloud experience much in the way prefab homes are offered.

His management wanted a private cloud, wanted it fast, but was not sure exact what a private cloud would look like or how it would operate.  His enterprise had specific needs, whether they be naming conventions for VMs or physical servers, or any number of integration points into 3rd partner products.  What his company really wanted was a home built to their specific needs for their private cloud.  This did not mean a fully custom house, but something that could use standard components  (think of all the standard construction components we use now a days) to build a designed to spec home.

This did not mean they needed high end digs right away but the ability to start in a pragmatic way and to enhance, extend, and build upon that first home.  This requires an underlying framework that can be used to build a company’s first pragmatic cloud and to grow up, much like my 63 year old house in its fourth remodel over the years.  The basic platform is present, we are just making much needed changes to support the needs of 2012.

After we got on the same page about clouds and why he would want to build his companies 5-10 year strategy of cloud on an extensible framework, we moved on to the composition of the solution:  product license, Cisco TAC support, and Cisco Advanced Services.  Given a clear business driver for the private cloud (such as in-sourcing of rogue VMs in the cloud, or driving infrastructure support of elastic business needs, or leverage Cisco network functionality for multi-tenancy) the financial conversation resulted in a positive outcome for both sides.  Of note was that building this individual’s Enterprise Private Cloud means that he was going to consume a good amount of Cisco Advanced Services.  To him this was a good thing as he was leveraging the knowledge and experience of the Cisco team to build and configure his cloud to start out and to scale out.  Just like when I am building a new great room in my house, I want the best people figuring out structural loads, making construction recommendations for extensions and to build out those special design features.

That is the thing about REAL private clouds, they need effort to configure it the way your company wants to operate it.

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