Look around in your IT shop. Do you have a single large printout page denoting the graphic of the IT Enterprise Architecture in your company? Does Zachman ring a bell? Do you have Data, Process and Deployment views documented? Do you have an Enterprise Architect?
If you answered YES to most if not all of these then you better take a seat and then throw this all out. Get the biggest shredder you can or just light a match to those artifacts. Big IT architecture is dead. Some would say we the practitioners never really got there. I agree with that. Management turnover and turnover again, ITIL deployments, imploding financial systems and reductions in funding, virtualization that sneaked in the back door, cloud that entered through the front door; this all worked against us in building the perfect system model to live out the decade, let along the most recent fiscal quarter.
If you answered MAYBE or NO to most of those questions, good for you, but be careful. I will explain about that later. Monolithic IT architectures are gone. Do we really have a single version of the truth in that relational database? Probably not. Why is this important? The pace of innovation in the deployment of IT systems to solve real life problems at speed and scale has increased. In some ways we are willing to compromise on those desires for five nines of reliability to get the business results quickly.
Do you still need a well thought out architecture for your deployed systems? Of course! Do you need to design those deployment views for new models of application resiliency, ecosystems of federated data models, and the conclusion that even the CIO’s office can’t really control what the end users do with technology? Absolutely.
Why is this important to you? No matter what part of IT or the business you are in, make a small subtle shift in your psyche. Stop trying to control what you cannot. Focus on the end outcomes, and strive to make your piece of IT process or technology listen to your customers. If you are an architect, go broad, real broad, but focus on the micro-architectures. If you are a technologist, don’t just dwell on the speeds and feeds. Live a few days in the life of your users. Manage the change that occurs through small impactful steps.
Back to building flexible automation for fast moving architectures.
In about 2 weeks there will be a great webinar panel discussion on the business and technology architecture concerns in automating your cloud and how to measure the value. Unleashing automation solutions to do what they do best may make or break a company’s IT strategy over the next few quarters as those cloud journeys begin.
The webinar,IT Automation Unplugged, a panel discussion moderated by Glenn O’Donnell of Forrester will indeed be a cool event to listen in to. Not only has Glenn followed this space for many years but he also has some really insightful perspectives on the Journey to Cloud. This webinar has the potential to highlight some really pointed dialog between myself and Brad Adams of rPath, Nand Mulchandani of ScaleXtreme, and Luke Kanies of Puppetlabs. I bet the sparks might fly as we trade our perspectives on the huge demand for private and public clouds and need for enterprises to show value quickly.
This brings me to a great phrase I heard this week from one of our customers. It was used in the context of their employees using their company’s private cloud. It was “High Governance”. It was seriously lacking in their current solution which highly leveraged their virtualization vendor’s software. I probed them on what they meant by “High Governance”. It was mostly around ensuring that individuals that provision services would get access to only the services, cloud data center locations, and specific providers that they are entitled to. While this is not a new concept, the element that grabbed my attention was that IT shops have a strong need for different sourcing strategies based upon end user role, organization, location, and any number of policy settings in their Active Directory or LDAP.
“High Governance” means ensuring that your cloud users get ONLY what they are entitled to in your IT policy. No more generic UIs for generic users or uber UIs for unknown hypothetical users. The cloud is now a strongly governed personal experience, what a novel concept.
I wonder what the panel will think about this. Please attend if you get a chance.
If you missed Cisco Live earlier this month or if you didn’t get a chance to see our Intelligent Automation demos and attend our sessions, you will want to read this blog!
It was the busiest event of the year for Cisco’s Unified Data Center and Unified Management team, with over a dozen breakout sessions and several theater presentations featuring our management software, as well as a call-out in the CTO keynote. Our experts, customers, and partners were actively talking about and demoing our software throughout Cisco Live.
One of our popular demos at the show used Hadoop and Cisco Tidal Enterprise Scheduler to extract data from Twitter with social media activity at the event. This app runs a Hadoop MapReduce job every 5 minutes to track Cisco Live tweets, showcasing workload automation and big data. Check it out here.
The Intelligent Automation for Cloud Starter Edition was another hot demo at the event, with lots of interest from IT departments that want to get started quickly with a private cloud running on Cisco UCS. Check out the recorded demo here and the theater presentation here.
For more Cisco Live highlights, here are some videos featuring some of the Intelligent Automation team, our partners, and customers:
Cisco’s Intelligent Automation software helps our customers to achieve benefits such as lower TCO, greater efficiency, and greater business agility—without compromising stability, manageability, and security. Our automation software can be used for a broad range of IT processes, but we have a very unique and differentiated solution for the automation of SAP-related tasks. Last week, we announced a global reseller agreement that allows SAP to sell our Cisco Intelligent Automation for SAP software solution.
SAP views Cisco’s software as the preferred data center automation tool for SAP customers, and they are branding and selling our solution as SAP IT Process Automation by Cisco . With nearly 42,000 SAP customers worldwide, this is a great new channel opportunity for our automation software—and a great complement to SAP Solution Manager and Run SAP methodology. It’s also a powerful example of the strong partnership between Cisco and SAP to meet our customers’ needs.
This video with my colleague Flint Brenton (senior vice president, Cisco Intelligent Automation Solutions) and Stephen Spears (senior vice president, SAP Application Lifecycle Management Software) provides an overview of the importance of this agreement and the value to SAP customers:
Great news for SAP users! Cisco’s industry leading IT process automation software based upon the Cisco Process Orchestrator and our knowledge based automation solution will be sold by SAP.
This solution addresses market demand for IT process automation, helping IT staff standardize and unify operational processes across the enterprise to support maximum up-time and optimal resource usage. What a big deal for SAP customers who will now get the advantages of this automation to achieve their business goals. We have well over 300 out of the box automation workflows that drive operational excellence. Imagine being the person who used to do all of this manually. Sign me up for:
automated health checks
unified incident response
predefined corrective actions
the ability to create reusable workflows with your best practices through a drag and drop editor
In fact, the core software that drives this is the same software that orchestrates our Intelligent Automation for Cloud Solution. Very cool that we can solve such different problems (SAP IT Process Automation) and Cloud Orchestration (provisioning of resources for physical and virtual servers) with the same software product.
This automation product will be co-marketed and sold with SAP Landscape Visualization Management (LVM) solution as part of SAP’s virtualization and cloud solution offering.
I want to extend a shout out to Eric Robertson,
our Product Manager for our SAP solutions and stay tuned for even more exciting solutions based upon Cisco Intelligent Automation.