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The Road to PaaS. What’s Post-IaaS – Network thoughts

Recently, I wrote an article on PaaS for IT BusinessEdge entitled the road PaaS, understanding your post IaaS options.  Here’s an excerpt.

The Road to PaaS

PaaS is an enticing proposition that has generated a lot of market buzz.

But PaaS forces tradeoffs and it shouldn’t be seen as a one-size-fits-all proposition.

To understand, I like to draw the distinction between what I call “Silicon Valley PaaS” and “Enterprise PaaS.” The majority of the discussion in the market today revolves around the Silicon Valley PaaS pattern, which is a truly abstracted “black box” approach to software platforms.

This form of PaaS exposes a set of standardized services to which you write your applications, completely sheltering developers from the underlying complexity below the PaaS abstraction.

It makes a lot of sense for brand-apps built with modern frameworks like Python and Ruby in greenfield development environments that are highly standardized.

The basic premise of the post is that PaaS for an enterprise is VERY different from PaaS for a Silicon Valley start up. And nowhere is it more  different than in the network requirements.

The PaaS customer is a developer who will code an application, use the underlying services offered by the PaaS stack, such a database, storage, queueing, etc.  The developer deploys the code, selects a few options and code is live.

So what’s going on with the network? Well, the PaaS layer will need to auto-scale, fail-over and deliver performance at some level. It may need it’s own domain as well. That PaaS layer will need to talk to underlying network services such as firewalls, switches, etc.  That PaaS really needs access to infrastructure models that deliver network containers to whatever PaaS abstraction the PaaS layer has.

Hard enough to do when all the containers are the same, as it would be in a Silicon Valley PaaS offering.

It doesn’t work with the existing enterprise platforms.  This is a big opportunity for innovation

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Cloud Operating Model – How Does Your Cloud Run?

Wow, lots of excitement this week with all the news in the cloud space.  All very interesting and very much validating of the work that our Intelligent Automation Solutions Business Unit is doing around automation of the cloud.   Now on to actually showing ROI right now for your CIO.

We in the Cisco Intelligent Automation Solutions Business Unit define the cloud operating model as a set of behaviors that define the operational characteristics of your private or public cloud.  Our Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud  models a private cloud operation through a set of behaviors around the following areas:

  • Catalog of Services
  • Tenant / Organization Model
  • Site / POD model
  • Lease/Capacity management
  • Network Segregation
  • Roles
  • Lifecycle management
  • Administrative capabilities
  • Installation
  • Image Management
  • Storage and Network Automation

Let’s take a look at each of these items and show how this work in our Intelligent Automation for Cloud  Starter Edition:

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A Cloudy Day in Hollywood

I was recently vising a few customers south of our corporate offices in the Los Angeles area and I was jolted into realizing that I need to add one more significant benefit of deploying our Intelligent Automation for Cloud software.

When I talk about benefits of Private (and Public ) Cloud I usually focus on these four business drivers:

  • Drive towards shorter provisioning times (for both Physical and Virtual Infrastructure) and self service
  • Desire to reduce infrastructure costs by moving from a provision for peak loads on each application to one of pooling of resources and “averaging” out the workload peaks and to enable the pay for usage
  • Users (and management) was a predictable SLA for provisioning achieved through orchestration and automation
  • Need to reduce VM sprawl and increase governance and compliance over the provisioning process.

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Superheroes of the Cloud Part Three: The Original Cloud Builders

In my journeys of talking to IT organizations I come across individuals who really stand out in their drive and passion to transform their organization and achieve a pragmatic cloud for their stakeholders.  This is the third in a series of Blogs on the Superheroes of the Cloud.  What makes these individuals and their organizations special is that they distinguish their organizations by having a unique angle to their Journey to the Cloud.   I won’t spell out the exact formula but I will offer some tidbits on why I am impressed by these superheroes.

Who said that building a cloud operating model is easy?  It is not.  It takes complete focus on the end goal and a systematic approach to defining the many levels and subsystems of the cloud management and automation framework.  It takes lots of time learning from missteps and successes.  You are pressured to hasten the timeline and deliver under budget.  You have to be a visionary and yet be the most pragmatic individual on the block.

When Cisco Intelligent Automation added Cloud Automation to our core DNA, we looked for individuals in our services organization who would stand up and be the original builders and architects of the pragmatic clouds for our customers.  They would train an entire group of people within Cisco and at our partners to build those clouds.  Their students became teachers in their own right.

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Superheroes of the Cloud Part Two: Be in Touch with your Customers

In my journeys of talking to IT organizations I come across individuals who really stand out in their drive and passion to transform their organization and achieve a pragmatic cloud for their stakeholders.  This is the second in a series of Blogs on the Superheroes of the Cloud.  What makes these individuals and their organizations special is that they distinguish their organizations by having a unique angle to their Journey to the Cloud.   I won’t spell out the exact formula but I will offer some tidbits on why I am impressed by these superheroes.

The move to the cloud and the force of that current has surprised analyst, vendor, and customer alike.  We at Cisco believe in a strong Partner Ecosystem to support our customers in their journey.  Four years ago we had probably a dozen experts in Intelligent Automation Software on the planet.  Today that number probably exceeds 200 and will be soon be above 1000.    We are actively training and enhancing expertise at our IA for Cloud partners so that they can help their clients leverage the value of our cloud stack.

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