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Technology- The Paintbrush Enabling the New Manufacturing Renaissance

Welcome to the New Manufacturing Renaissance driven by a collage of sensors, robots, servers, clouds, tablets, machines, people and …things. The Internet of Everything (IoE) is serving as the canvas that connects and integrates all those “things.”  Over the last few years we have been inundated by industry pundits and scholars predicting the efficiency gains, value opportunities and innovations that can be obtained from the IoE revolution.  In fact, Cisco estimates the manufacturing IoE value opportunity is $4.2 trillion over the next 8 years.

Forward thinking CTO’s  understand that technology plays a significant roll in enabling this renaissance.  In a recent Industry Week article, our CTO, Padmasree Warrior, made the following observation:

“At this point, we believe that every company, big and small, is essentially becoming a technology company,” Warrior says. “Technology has become implicit and embedded in every business process today — the supply chain, manufacturing floor, automation and IT: They are all driven by technology and data analytics, not just operational expertise.

This renaissance is accelerating now thanks to the convergence of a number of technology trends: the low cost and accessibility of Big Data associated with cloud computing; the plummeting cost of electronic sensors, microprocessors and other components that can be used to make machines more adept; and advances in software and communications technology that make it possible to manage manufacturing with a whole new level of precision and enable new forms of collaboration.

Convergence has to not only occur  between  Information (IT) and Operational (OT) Technologies , but also within the C-suite.  The CTO’s primary responsibilities are evolving to become more tightly integrated and aligned with the enterprise’s business and operational goals. The result is optimized business processes, enhanced information for better decisions, reduced costs, lower risks and shortened project timelines.

Sujeet Chand, chief technology officer at Rockwell Automation adds,

“The role of the CTO is no longer just to enable technology.  Our role is to use that technology to help move the business forward.  It’s all part of the convergence between IT and OT,”

Chand explains.

“To really get value from that convergence, you’ve got to highlight what value is going to be derived. You don’t want to connect manufacturing to IT for the sake of connecting manufacturing to IT or put all kinds of real-time data into the cloud for no reason.”

The New Manufacturing Renaissance is creating a wave of technologies and ideas.  The revolution threatens to shatter long-standing business models, upend global trade patterns and surpass the radical gains and innovations brought forth by the Industrial Revolution.

Has your organization evolved and embraced the opportunities afforded by the IoE revolution?  Is your CTO driving business relevance through the innovative use of technology?  Have you broken down organizational silos to foster a true innovation culture throughout the manufacturing value chain?

The technology is mightier than the paintbrush.

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Cisco expands the SAP Competency Center in Walldorf in a big way

The Cisco SAP Competency Center expanded its presence at the SAP Partner Port in Walldorf  Germany on November 11, 2013.

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Watch the video of Padmasree Warrior, Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer for Cisco and Vishal Sikka, CTO and Executive Board Member for SAP as they welcome those that attended the opening of the Competency Center and talk about the Cisco/SAP relationship as is matures and about the exciting solutions we have already established together and about the upcoming solutions that we are engineering.

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Competency CenterThe expanded Competency Center will house Cisco pre-sales, benchmark and performance testing and certification engineers. The performance and certification tests are all running on the Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) server platform using the Intel x86 Xeon chip set. These tests are integrated with the latest storage solution vendors such as EMC and NetApp.

Cisco specialists in the Center are connected with their SAP counterparts to provide the optimal service, support, and solutions to joint customers. In addition this Competency Center is equipped with hardware and software so that customers may bring their data into the Cisco Competency Center and test their data in a Proof of Concept setting.

Our Competency Center covers a very wide list of solutions including SAP HANA, HANA Enterprise Cloud, Suite on HANA, SAP on Vblock, SAP on FlexPod, Precision Marketing, and Sybase ASE.

The Cisco SAP Competency Center will also be used for specific customer briefings as required.

Cisco continues to find additional way to service SAP customers whether on premise or cloud. The expansion of this Competency Center is another way to show customers that Cisco is investing in providing quality solutions to those customers who have made the decision to select the Cisco UCS platform for SAP.

For more information on the Cisco SAP partnership and solutions visit our website
http://www.cisco.com/go/sap

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Limitations of a Software-Only Approach to Data Center Networking

To learn more about Application Centric Infrastructure,
join us for a special webcast with John Chambers and Soni Jiandani
on November 6th at 10:30 am EST/7:30 pm PST/15:30 GMT.
Register here

I want to address some questions about VMware’s NSX virtual networking announcement that have been asked of us by the media and social Web commentators in the past few days. Specifically, they have asked  why Cisco did not announce support for NSX and whether the announcement changes the long-standing strategic relationship between our two companies.

First, let me be clear: VMware is an important partner to Cisco, and we expect to continue our close collaboration around private cloud and desktop virtualization.  As we outlined yesterday in a joint news release about Cisco and VMware’s mutual customers, thousands of organizations rely on our combined innovation in their businesses each and every day and I look forward to continued success in this area.

While we share a common vision for private cloud and desktop virtualization, there are significant differences in our visions over the future of networking.

Network virtualization is important. We both agree on that. In fact, over the past several years, we have delivered game-changing innovations in this area particularly with the Nexus 1000v and more recently with NFV solutions, both of which are key elements of the Cisco ONE portfolio. Today, more than 6,000 Nexus 1000v customers benefit from the flexibility delivered by our virtual networking technology.

However, a software-only approach to network virtualization places significant constraints on customers.  It doesn’t scale, and it fails to provide full real-time visibility of both physical and virtual infrastructure.  In addition this approach does not provide key capabilities such as multi-hypervisor support, integrated security, systems point-of-view or end-to-end telemetry for application placement and troubleshooting.  This loosely-coupled approach forces the user to tie multiple 3rd party components together adding cost and complexity in day-to-day operations as well as throughout the network lifecycle.  Users are forced to address multiple management points and maintain version control for each of the independent components.  Software network virtualization treats physical and virtual infrastructure as separate entities, and denies customers a common policy framework and common operational model for management, orchestration and monitoring.

Cisco has a different strategy and that is embodied in the Application Centric Infrastructure.  Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) is an innovative secure architecture that delivers centralized application-driven policy automation, management and visibility of physical and virtual networks.  It’s built upon a fabric foundation that delivers best-in-class infrastructure by combining hardware, software and ASIC innovations into an integrated system.

The architecture provides a common management framework for network, application, security and virtualization teams — making IT more agile while reducing application deployment time.  It’s built for multi-tenancy ensuring proper isolation and detailed telemetry of SLAs across different consumers of the infrastructure while also providing a consistent security policy across both physical and virtual applications.  ACI allows IT teams to offer a public cloud experience and economics to their customers while maintaining the associated SLAs and performance requirements for the most demanding business applications.  It’s an open programmable architecture with a comprehensive set of APIs that enables the broadest ecosystem of datacenter management and L4-7 services.  Finally, ACI enables comprehensive investment protection by leveraging existing IT teams’ skillset and infrastructure to lower overall TCO.

I recently wrote a blog post about how Network Virtualization is a Different to Server Virtualization as we think about the next chapter of networking.  It’s key to remember that underutilized compute resources created the opportunity for server virtualization. Underutilization is not a problem in the network. In fact, server virtualization is pushing the limits of today’s network utilization and driving demand for higher port counts, application and policy-driven automation, and unified management of physical, virtual and cloud infrastructures in a single system.  Businesses today are looking for more from their investments as they turn on new services and applications more quickly, in a way that is easier to manage and that can scale with applications needs.

We believe that delivering those benefits requires the flexibility of software coupled tightly with the performance and scalability of hardware and ASICs. That’s what we’re delivering with our Application-Centric Infrastructure vision and throughout the entire Unified Data Center portfolio.

Stay tuned for some exciting news from us in this area in the next few months.

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Partners: Your Cisco Live Summary and Takeaways

Cisco Live this week welcomed about 22,000 attendees to Orlando, with an additional 250,000 attendees participating virtually –record participation for this long-running and always-exciting event!

The following is a look at some of the major news announcements, executive presentations and on-the-scene details that made Cisco Live what it was and to which Cisco partners, in particular, should pay attention. Remember that you can continue to access important Cisco Live content through Cisco Live 365, and make sure you check out the index of Cisco Live-related social media content from across the various Cisco teams.

Read on to check out news and visuals from all the action in Orlando.  Read More »

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Application Centric Infrastructure: A New Era in the Data Center

Today, at Cisco Live! in Orlando, we shared a vision for a revolutionary networking architecture that will transform data centers and usher in a new era of Application-Centric Infrastructure.

The realization of this vision will optimize data center infrastructure for the new breed of mobile-cloud era applications that has evolved around the massive proliferation of connections between people, processes, information and devices that we call the Internet of Everything.

Big Data applications such as Hadoop, cloud applications such as Salesforce and Cisco WebEx, and massively scalable consumer video applications such as NetFlix and YouTube are typical of this new breed. 

The challenge with these applications in particular, is that they need to be able to run across multiple servers and data centers, be able to parallel process asynchronous tasks, and be continually available, globally.  These applications rely on both physical and virtual infrastructures and, as a result, place new demands on the data center to deliver applications at scale, with the level of availability, quality of service and flexibility that today’s businesses demand. 

Through our Application Centric Infrastructure vision, we will help IT departments dramatically simplify how they provision their data center resources (networking, servers, storage and services) that are critical to the performance of their applications.  It’s a key component in the evolution to the model for next generation IT that I detailed in my keynote at Cisco Live! Orlando.

In order to meet these demands, the infrastructure must evolve. It must become application-centric.  Network, compute, and storage need to be able to operate as one high-performance resource pool that can be provisioned instantly and automatically according to the needs of the application and related IT policies with security pervasive throughout. This type of dynamic, automated infrastructure provisioning requires a single point of management for the integrated needs of application, network and security administrators that replaces the fragmented, siloed views they have today.

And it’s this vision for the next generation data center that we will deliver, to the market, while helping customers evolve their existing investments for the future.  The Application Centric Infrastructure will give our customers the agility to deliver applications to end-users where they want, when they want, and to any device they want  - securely, rapidly, and at a lower cost. 

Why Isn’t the Traditional Model of Networking Sufficient for the Cloud, Mobile and Big Data Era?

We’ve made huge strides and delivered phenomenal innovations with our Cisco Unified Fabric that brings together LAN, SAN, and converged networks.  And I’m excited that we can continue to bring operational simplicity and scale across physical and virtual environments with Dynamic Fabric Automation (DFA) and the new switching platforms we also announced today. 

But we’ll only meet future demands when we can bridge the gap between applications and infrastructure, in addition to unifying the siloes of infrastructure.  The fabric is extremely valuable in bringing together disparate systems, and the logical next step would be convergence for applications deployment and performance.  Let me use an analogy to explain.

In the consumer world, if you buy an approved Android App, you know it’s going to run well on your mobile device because the developer used an Android development toolkit to optimize the app for the O/S. Once bought, the App doesn’t need to know the details of your device, the O/S simply ‘tells’ the device which resources it needs to run really well.

No such abstraction layer exists in the data center today.  To make applications run really well, apps need to be programmed to the individual networked elements at the command line level.  Imagine if every time you bought a new smart phone app, you had to manually configure your device’s screen resolution, graphics card, keyboard, broadband connection etc. In the data center, the process is this manual, complicated, slow, and thereby expensive.

And why SDN is not the answer…

While it might seem that SDN is supposed to solve this exact challenge, I want to share my thoughts on where it falls short.

SDN promised to meet the needs of new apps by delivering greater scale, programmability, centralized management and automation.  But SDN, to date, can’t meet the needs of applications because it mimics the old model of networking. It doesn’t unify physical and virtual. It is flow-based (focused on individual networking elements), and not object-oriented (creating a configurable system of all IT resources). It can’t offer dynamic centralized policy management, programmability because it is constrained by old proprietary-standards model.

And with the changing applications world, we need more.  We need an approach broader than what’s been defined as the separation of the control and data planes.  Beyond SDN, the next generation data center must:

  •  Be created with an object-oriented design
  • Provide a single point for dynamic policy management across physical and virtual resource pools
  •  Be a system that is deeply programmable for rapid application provisioning and placement
  • Incorporate an open source approach to ensure total integration with RESTful interfaces into system-level management software
  • Enable multi-tenancy and virtualization, without performance penalties
  •  And have deep ecosystem support from application, management, and services vendors.

That is precisely the type of Application Centric Infrastructure Cisco will deliver with our new networking architecture.

A Complete Solution: Application Centric Infrastructure

In the second half of 2013, Cisco will begin to introduce the elements of this new secure architecture, starting with best-in-class infrastructure components, and followed by software that enables centralized, application and policy-driven automation, and unified management of physical, virtual and cloud infrastructures.

Accelerated to market by Cisco’s investment in the data center start-up Insieme Networks, we think the benefits to customers will be huge, and include:

  • Application Velocity (Any workload, anywhere): Reducing application deployment time through a fully automated and programmatic infrastructure for provisioning and placement. Customers will be able to define the infrastructure requirements of the application, and then have those requirements applied automatically throughout the infrastructure.
  • A common platform for managing physical, virtual and cloud infrastructure: The complete integration across physical and virtual, normalizing endpoint access while delivering the flexibility of software and the performance, scale and visibility of hardware across multi-vendor, virtualized, bare metal, distributed scale out and cloud applications
  • Systems Architecture: A holistic approach with the integration of infrastructure, services and security along with the ability to deliver simplification of the infrastructure, integration of existing and future services with real time telemetry system wide.
  • Common Policy, Management and Operations for Network, Security, Applications: A common policy management framework and operational model driving automation across Network, Security and Application IT teams that is extensible to compute and storage in the future.
  • Open APIs, Open Source and Multivendor: A broad ecosystem of partners who will be empowered by a comprehensive published set of APIs and innovations contributed to open source.
  • The best of Custom and Merchant Silicon: To provide highly scalable, programmatic performance, low-power platforms and optics innovations that protect investments in existing cabling plants, and optimize capital and operational expenditures.

 As we prepare to write the next chapter in the evolution of the data center, I couldn’t be more proud of our team.  It is the true realization of Cisco’s innovation principles -- build, buy, partner and integrate. We’re delivering a fundamentally new vision with disruptive, breakthrough innovation.

I look forward to telling you more in the fall!

 

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