Cloud computing—delivering infrastructure, services, and software on demand via the network—offers attractive advantages to the public sector. For example, it has the potential to reduce information and communications technology (ICT) costs by virtualizing capital assets like disk storage and processing cycles into a readily available, affordable operating expense.
One of the most significant cloud computing opportunities for the public sector is the ability to share ICT resources among multiple agencies. While governments have tried hard to create frameworks geared toward shared services, these have not always been successful. Cloud computing offers an easier and less burdensome route to more efficient and effective public sector information management.
Of course, cloud computing is not without its challenges:
A service provider residing outside of a government’s legal or territorial jurisdiction may put access or security at risk.
Open standards and interoperability may not be guaranteed, leading to the risk of vendor lock-in.
Data privacy is a concern when using public clouds. This can be addressed by the development of private clouds.
Business continuity will continue to be a concern. Cloud computing, however, may also mitigate this risk, as cloud vendors are likely to use more robust and better-maintained computing platforms that provide more redundancy and are less likely to fail.
‘Twas the week before Christmas, when all through IT, not a creature was stirring, not even a sysadmin?
Well, not quite. To support the global operations for a Fortune 100 company, the IT staff are always stirring things up at Cisco. But they may be just a little less busy this holiday season. Why? Because Cisco IT deployed a private cloud earlier this year, with a self-service portal and automated provisioning for infrastructure-as-a-service.
This means that employees throughout Cisco can provision and manage the infrastructure resources they need on their own, anytime and anywhere – so our sysadmins can take a break this holiday season (or more likely, they can focus on other IT priorities).
I have had many customers and partners ask me about Cisco Cloudverse in the past 2 weeks. One of the top questions I get asked is whether we support other hypervisors besides VMware. Lew Tucker in his interview in Information week covered it well: http://www.informationweek.com/news/cloud-computing/infrastructure/232300123 . Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud works well with many hypervisors and we have seen many successful clouds built on vCenter, HyperV, and Linux KVM. We find many customers look at multiple hypervisors to prevent vendor lock-in and all the issues associated with that. The world of many clouds is indeed a complex place as organizations building a private cloud have to decide on:
Whether to use a converged infrastructure model or not
Cloud Automation software, (will the virtualization vendor’s software be enough for a pragmatic cloud?)
IaaS, PaaS or SaaS, or all of these models
Integrations into pre-existing IT operations management tools
What to expose in the Front Office (Service Catalog and Self Service Portal)
Details of the Back office (automation workflows, policies, models)
Whether to have any hybrid cloud models deployed.
I have seen Cisco Partners play a strategic role in helping their customers make sense of this complex playing field. They key item is to first understand what type of cloud an organization wants to deploy and what the Front Office should look like. Oftentimes I find organizations have a lot of opinions and pre-existing work on the technical provisioning, but have not thought much about what to present to end users / consumers of the cloud. Focusing on what the Cloud Portal would present to the ultimate consumers is really where the transformation to cloud needs to start. We tend to get wrapped around the axle with all the details of the infrastructure provisioning and leave little time to the end user experience. That is a really a career limiting move when it comes to your organization adopting cloud.
Our Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud solution, a key element of Cisco Unified Management, is a new paradigm for Cloud Automation and Management, derived from the leverage of newScale, Tidal, and Linesider acquisitions. It is both a policy and orchestration centric solution than can solve pragmatic cloud deployment needs, versus simply adopting one model (such as vCloud Director). The following figure details the considerations of policy and console based solutions versus catalog and orchestration centric solutions:
Virtually all of the customer conversations I have highlight the fact that customers want both Physical and Virtual provisioning and cloud automation. This is where Cisco Unified Management which includes the Cisco UCS Manager for Physical Server “virtualization” and Cisco Network Services Management for Physical and Virtual Network Services “virtualization”. These two technologies, alongside the Cisco Cloud Portal and the Cisco Process Orchestrator are key for creating both a physical and virtual cloud. This is what the most pragmatic of customers are looking for when transform to cloud. It is indeed a universe of clouds and Cisco can help.
Eric Schoch, Director of Product Management for the Cisco Hosted Collaboration Solution product teams, explains the new private cloud solution that empowers large enterprises to build their own collaboration cloud using Cisco’s validated and tested solution and full management capabilities.
Before and after our Cisco Hosted Collaboration (HCS) announcements on December 6, we are providing a series
Gartner Data Center 2011, London and Vegas, are over, what are the emerging trends to close out 2011 and lead into 2012?
Cisco was actively involved in both events. The booths and speaking sessions were great opportunities to listen to the IT decision makers, evaluate emerging industry trends, and introduce the Cisco Unified Data Center.
Thanks to all of you who stopped by in person. For those of you not in attendance, here are some highlights.
Giuliano Di Vitantonio, Cisco VP Data Center and Switching Marketing, Presenting Cisco Unified Data Center