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CIO or IT Services Broker?

In the heart of the overall shift from cloud computing as an isolated project to a central IT strategy, a particular tenet is reigning supreme: hybrid IT strategies. As cloud computing continues to evolve, new technologies are emerging to support the dynamic creation of cloud services. CIOs are increasingly feeling the need to deal with hybrid environments.  But how? Enter the rise of hybrid IT process models and the positioning of IT as a service broker.

Gartner recently identified hybrid cloud and IT as a Service broker (ITaaSB) in its Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends; they also highlighted how to move to an ITaaSB environment in their research titled: Top 10 Technology Trends, 2013: Cloud Computing and Hybrid IT Drive Future IT Models.

 
ITServiceBroker

But what exactly is an IT services broker? And how can we help make this shift?

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The Cisco IT Story: ITaaS with Cisco Prime Service Catalog

We had some exciting sessions featuring Cisco Prime Service Catalog at Cisco Live Milan a few weeks ago. In case you missed it, we featured two great customer case studies.

One of them was Steria, a multinational service provider headquartered in France who has deployed Cisco Prime Service Catalog and FlexPod for their cloud services and innovative Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) solution: “Workplace on Command.” You can click here to download their Cisco Live presentation, and check out their written case study here.

The other customer we featured was a Fortune 100 enterprise: none other than our very own Cisco IT.  The Cisco Live presentation about their internal IT service catalog deployment (dubbed “eStore”) is here – you can also read a detailed case study write-up here.

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[Screenshot of eStore: the Cisco IT deployment of Cisco Prime Service Catalog]

Adel du Toit, who heads the Cisco eStore project, wrote a blog post about Cisco IT’s initiative here last June.  Led by Adel and her colleageues, the internal Cisco IT eStore has been rapidly evolving, and has been deployed for a variety of use cases, including BYOD, mobile apps, collaboration, communications, desktop services, employee onboarding, networking, data center computing, and much more.  Powered by Cisco Prime Service Catalog together with Cisco Process Orchestrator for automated service provisioning, the eStore is the “one stop shop” for all IT services within Cisco.

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[Cisco IT’s eStore: a unified IT service catalog for all internal tools, apps, and services]

Recently, the eStore upgraded to the latest version of Cisco Prime Service Catalog, version 10.0. The eStore has also rolled out a mobile user interface that allows Cisco employees to download mobile apps to increase productivity and reduce unproductive approval cycles.

estore3

[The Cisco IT eStore mobile version]

 This has enabled Cisco IT to provide a consumer-oriented shopping experience for IT services to all our employees, not unlike their experience as consumers with Amazon.com and the Apple App Store.

Interested in learning more? Join us on February 26th at 11 am EST / 8 am PST to learn more about how Cisco IT is automating IT-as-a-Service via the eStore and Cisco Prime Service Catalog. You can register here: http://cs.co/6014eN9j.

And don’t forget to follow @CiscoUM and @CiscoIT for the latest updates.

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IT – The rapid pace of changes we can expect in 2014

We are almost at the end of January in 2014 and Cisco Live is underway in Europe.   The IT landscape is changing rapidly, and we all need to adapt to it.  In a previous blog I had listed some of the high priority issues for IT in 2014, and in this blog I will emphasize the rate of change needed to keep pace.

Cyber threats are growing in all forms and shapes.

From retail giants like Target to local school districts, all have been targets of attacks last year. This 2014 Cisco security report is an eye opener.  The use of cloud computing and mobile devices is only increasing the complexity of security. Vulnerabilities are increasing because data centers have thus far adopted “bolt on” security measures i.e disparate technologies with multiple control points that were never meant to work together. Malicious actors are working faster to exploit gaps. IT must adapt quickly to this new normal.

IT must now deliver services not technology

Business expects IT to deliver consistent high quality services.  Projects will not be one off, siloed, custom solutions.  This is akin to moving away from a job shop model to a highly industrialized continuous flow model in the world of manufacturing. Projects will get more complex due to the use of shared resources and the resulting interrelationships. All this calls for a high degree of automation and service assurance mechanisms, resulting in more changes to the IT department. At Cisco, we are working hard to provide IT the necessary tools to adapt to these changes. UCS Manager is still the gold standard in automating converged infrastructure setup and maintenance.  This is made possible with the service profile innovation shown in the video below.  To find out more about UCS Manager attend this meetup in Santa Clara on the 27th of Feb.

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Cloud-based ITaaS: Transforming IT from Support to Service Brokerage

Cloud computing is more mainstream today than ever before, but it’s important to note that there are still significant opportunities for IT leaders to innovate and leverage cloud delivery options to capture new business opportunities and implement new IT models.

The Evolution of ITaaS: The Convergence of Two Roads

On one hand, traditional private cloud services within customer IT services are driving different degrees of completeness depending on organizational needs. Virtualization, consolidation and on-premise shared services are some of the drivers within the private cloud space.

On the other hand, public cloud services are evolving to include Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Software as a Service (SaaS), and Platform as a Service (PaaS).

Today, these two tracks are intersecting to create demand for a hybrid cloud model. While the concept of the “Hybrid” cloud has developed mostly as a consequence of the availability of different cloud services, this same availability is also driving the evolution of IT as a Service.

What does this mean for business? It means that fundamentally, IT is adopting a supply chain management logic by deciding whether to make or buy a specific service based on a variety of organizational goals, market pressures, and available options.

The Ongoing IT Sourcing Strategy: Make vs. Buy 

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2013 – A year in review for UCS Management! What will 2014 bring?

As we come to the end of 2013, there is a lot to look back at, and still more to look forward to in 2014.  Last year I speculated whether 2012 was the year of converged infrastructure and all indications are that it was true.  I was at the Gartner Data Center conference in Las Vegas earlier this month, where they referred to converged infrastructure as Fabric-based infrastructure, and expect it to become mainstream within 2-5 years.

As I look back at 2013, some of the big events, from a UCS and management perspective were:

  1. Cisco entered the ranks of the top 5 server vendors with the UCS.
  2. The virtual UCS community started a monthly UCS Tech talk series.
  3. Cloupia was renamed Cisco UCS Director, and won the Storage, Virtualization and Cloud (SVC) 2013 product of the year award
  4. Cisco extended the innovative concept of the UCS Service profiles and introduced Application Centric Infrastructure.
  5. Updated version of the Cisco UCS Manager (2.2) was released this month

Interestingly at the Gartner conference, data center automation was a topic of great interest and many sessions were dedicated to it. The Cisco UCS Management portfolio products are designed specifically to automate data center operations, increase operating efficiencies and Read More »

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