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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 One: Differentiate Your Company through a Proactive Philosophy

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 first 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.

Traditional IT organizations have silos.  I know we are tired about hearing about these silos and the problems it creates, but human nature is one that abhors that change.   This superhero has a philosophy based upon the value of converged infrastructure, namely VCE, Inc. vBlock.  The transformation from legacy infrastructure to vBlocks causes the IT organization to get over the “this is not the way we do it in the network team” philosophy.   Moving to converged infrastructure because of the organizational and human factors issues is quite a statement.   It is a difficult uphill task, but the spoils are indeed great.

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How Agile is your Cloud? (Part 2 of a 4 part series “Who moved the IT cheese while I was getting production back up?”)

Is your organization moving to a cloud model through a well thought out RFP with at least 40 requirements?  May I suggest that you rethink this model.   The RFP approach with a committee generated wish list may work in some situations, or even be required, but in general the IT shops that really differentiate themselves go Agile for the cloud.  What does that mean?

In our business unit we have turned the development of our Cloud Automation platform:  Intelligent Automation for Cloud to an Agile development methodology and process.   This means when I ask if we will have a certain feature in our 3.1 version, I get an unexpected answer:  we won’t know until close to the ship date.  Going agile means we work off a backlog of user stories versus a hard and fast set of features that MUST be in the release.  We can ship at anytime with the right methodologies in place.

This approach also works for our customers in building their clouds with our software stack.  Agile cloud builders have a set of cloud user stories that they are implementing and may release the updated version of the cloud functionality every quarter, or even every 2-3 weeks.   When relaying this approach that one of our customers is taking to another customer considering our solution, I could see a twinkle in his eye as he said:  I bet that could really help differentiate the value the IT organization provides.  He got that right.

We sell to customers who have RFPs and those who look for capabilities, roadmaps, and more importantly an alignment of vision and approach to cloud automation.   Many cloud builders look for vendors who will grow with their agile cloud and one that has an open and extensible model to build new use cases with.   Why is that of paramount importance?  If you think you know what your cloud needs six months from now, good luck.  If you bet on the fact that your business and technology requirements will change before you get to your next release of your cloud you will need an agile cloud builder methodology.

Back to responding to, SIGH, another RFP.

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Cisco and EMC VSPEX …accelerating the journey to the cloud

It seems convergence is accelerating in our daily lives with new apps on our mobile devices, cars with Siri voice control, not to mention the way we consume video.  Converged infrastructure is all the rage in IT as well.  VCE, the joint venture between Cisco, VMware, and EMC, has a very successful converged infrastructure offering in Vblock.  Now customers have another choice, VSPEX, a set of solutions offered through our mutual Cisco and EMC channel partners.

Check out this brief video from Cisco Live in San Diego.  Cisco Josh Atwell (@Josh_Atwell) speaks with EMC Fred Nix (@Nixfred) and Nexus IS Colin McNamara (@colinmcnamara) about VSPEX.

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Cisco Live Update on Intelligent Automation for Cloud – The Journey and How Cisco Partners Help IT Shops Get to Cloud

Being at Cisco Live was a very different experience for me this year.  Previous years I spent most of my time in the Intelligent Automation booth discussing functionality in the areas of service catalogs, portals, and orchestration workflows.  It was mostly a technical conversation of how to build private cloud catalogs and how to provision infrastructure.  This year my Cisco Live experience started off in talking to about 80 partners at the Cisco Connected Architecture Forum Summit; a very interesting crowd.   It was here that I talked about what Cisco IT and our Intelligent Automation Solutions Business Unit experience was in deploying private clouds for end users.  I discussed Cisco’s private cloud CITEIS, and our new product release Intelligent Automation for Cloud Starter Edition.   I discussed Physical and Virtual Clouds and there was much interest in the concept of a services portal and automation construct for both Physical and Virtual clouds, something that is enabled very elegantly with the UCS Manager API.  Partners asked great questions:  How quickly can they deploy this starter cloud?  How do customers chart out their journey to the cloud?  Where do they start and what do they do first?  Great conversations ensued…

Service Delivery Partners are a key strategy for the deployment of Cisco Cloud software stack.   Watch the following interview with Sydney Morgan of Cisco IT and Dave Kinsman from World Wide Technologies, a partner of ours in this area as we talk about the Journey to Cloud and our experiences on the deployment side.

I  spent the rest of Cisco Live talking to some great IT organizations about their cloud plans and journey that they are on.  Some interesting examples are:

Financial Services:  This customer of ours was focused on the deployment of cloud and the changes to the organization as they were coming off of Mainframe centric workloads, deploying them to x86 architectures on UCS.  How the application developers would use the newly minted cloud was top of mind.

Service Provider:  Many Cloud Service Providers are right at the intersection of business and technology:  what service offers can I offer out of the chute to differentiate my company?  Discussions around how our IA for Cloud technology stack and pre-built services and automation can make that easier.  We also discussed the need and desire to train up their staff to become service designers and workflow authors.

Manufacturer:  This customer is focused on operational efficiency and how automation software can reduce the mundane and routine tasks in operations.   Replication of system configuration in a standardized way allows their deep application support teams to focus on differentiating their business.

We are now in the thick of that Journey.

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