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A Healthy Potential

Virtacore, a leading cloud services provider, aims to help clients shift to the cloud. But the company was aware that in order to help others, it first needed to help itself—which meant updating its own infrastructure to provide the best IT-as-a-Service (ITaaS)  to customers.

By leveraging innovative technology from Cisco, like the Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS), based on Intel® Xeon® processors, Cisco Nexus Switches, and Cisco Catalyst Switches, Virtacore is now able to better leverage its internal IT to perform faster, more reliably, and on a larger scale. And, in turn, the company gained the ability to provide more cost effective, higher-standard services externally.

Reducing deployment from six weeks to just a few hours, providing a single-pane-of-glass management, and ensuring improved performance are a few of the benefits that have confirmed the worth of implementing new technology and rebuilding the IT environment.

Read the full article and learn just what Virtacore did to unleash their IT potential – and how they can continue to do so in the future.

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Case Study: Cisco’s Private Cloud and Lessons Learned

This is my talk I gave last week at Cloud Connect in Santa Clara. One slide that did not make the deck are the top reasons why people struggle with building private clouds

  1. Management and operations process.
  2. Culture
  3. Funding Model
  4. Service description and self-service interface

As my deck says, “I got 99 problems, but the tech ain’t one”

Building a “real” cloud involves the following success factors

  1. Well articulated corporate strategy with phases (crawl, walk, run)
  2. Engage existing automation teams for skills
  3. Well-defined, achievable service definitions that are automatable, volume
  4. Platform that does not lock into a specific hypervisor or cloud API
  5. A team that is trained (with specific roles) on the solution so that they can extend it in combination with the vendor’s services organization
  6. Get into production ASAP to drive value and organizational learning
  7. Union of OOB features and specific configurations for your environment.
  8. Articulated strategy for integrating with certain existing/deployed IT assets, and using the new “Cloud” as a way to shed IT baggage
  9. Recognition that your Cloud Management Platform is extensible to other areas in the IT strategy and that partner products may be necessary as well
  10. Have a suite / framework so you can maintain in the long term. And use external resources
  11. Need clear articulation of career paths once you start removing “button pushers.” design, operations, not implementation
  12. Focus on process outcomes, not process activities. Or end up with innefficient processes

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Cisco at the Cloud Connect Show

LoeselMark-186258By Mark Loesel, Cloud Solutions Marketing, Cisco

I hope that you are able to join us at Cloud Connect this week in Santa Clara as we have much to share with you. Cloud Connect is a great show that attracts more than 4,000 industry decision makers, offering an ideal venue for Cisco to share the value of our cloud solutions. Cloud Connect is an opportunity to showcase how we at Cisco are at the forefront of cloud computing, enabling our customers and partners in a world of many clouds. Whether you are building your own private cloud, using services from a public cloud, offering cloud services, or enlisting a hybrid approach, we’re here to have a conversation on how we can help.

In our booth, you’ll find demos on:

  • Managing Cloud Network Services: This demo shows how a server/virtualization administrator can create a security policy once for a virtual machine and then make sure of enforcement across the network. Cisco Virtual Network Management Center will be used to show how service chaining can take place with the Cisco Nexus 1000V and virtual Cisco Adaptive Security Appliance and Cisco Virtual Security Gateway as virtual machines are turned up and move throughout the data center.
  • Cloud Automation and Orchestration: Learn how to access a service portal to create a request for virtual machine(s) and provision a bare-metal server. The demo will also show how an administrator can create a service catalogue for users to leverage.
  • Cloud Computing with Cisco UCS: This solution overview highlights the centralized management with high scalability of Cisco UCS to facilitate building-block entities (policies, resource pools, and templates) for rapid server provisioning.
  • OpenStack API for the Cisco Nexus 1000V: Exhibit on how we integrate our Cisco Nexus 1000V with open-source hypervisors to allow for the continued evolution of advanced virtual machine networking and cloud management to provide more control, visibility, and programmability for customers.

In addition to the demos, Read More »

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What Does a Successful Private Cloud Look Like 18 months After Turn On?

In this great article on Cisco’s Private Cloud: Pain and Profit we learn some of the real life lessons of one of the most successful private cloud deployments in the industry.  The detail of how Cisco IT increased agility, lowered costs, and enhanced security with the use of Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud for this deployment is located here.  I like using Cisco IT’s experience in their journey to cloud to give us insight into what a private cloud looks like 18 months after first deployment.  Morphing as planned from the first use case of Infrastructure as a Service to being an “Enterprise Store” across multiple service delivery towers is a key theme I predicted and continue to see,  across many customer deployments.  In the image below, we see a typical Service Taxonomy, where Cloud is just one of the icons in the total service catalog.

Cisco eStoreV3

IT-as-a-Service (ITaaS) with underlying automation is bubbling up as critical for corporate IT strategies.  As IT shops increase their level of comfort with  a service catalog, self service and orchestration for compute, virtualization, network, and storage; the attention shifts to other areas such as applications, virtual desktops, and other technology domains such as collaboration technologies.  Let’s take a detailed look at where the Cisco IT eStore and Intelligent Automation for Cloud have gone in those 18 plus months since ignition.  The home page of the eStore shows the current catalog of some key services being offered and other services being migrated over as we speak.  We immediately see Virtual Desktops, and Home & Remote Access in addition the beachhead of IT Infrastructure and Platform Services

estore home page

Read More »

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How Cisco IT Manages UC and Video Services

Cisco IT is transforming itself to deliver IT As A Service (ITAAS), and this is changing the way we deliver all IT services internally, including our unified communications (UC) and video services. For the business, we offer transparent IT cost information and (over time) cost reduction, as well as the ability to re-use service components for faster delivery of new services. For our employees, we are making the processes for ordering and provisioning IT services fast, automated, simple, and consistent. This goal is particularly important for our UC and video services, which provide essential voice and video communications tools for our employees.  Read More »

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