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How Are Large Enterprises Utilizing Collaboration in the Cloud?

Today, we ‘re featuring a guest post from Brian Blatnik, a senior manager within Cisco’s Collaboration Technology Group:

In the month since our CloudVerse announcement the notion of a world of many clouds – public, private, and hybrid – has resonated with our customers, partners, and industry analysts. I’d like to share some perspective on how those types of clouds address different customers in the collaboration cloud services market. Since last month’s announcement highlighted our private cloud model in that market, Hosted Collaboration Solution for Large Enterprises, I’ll focus on that model. As a reminder, the Cisco Hosted Collaboration Solution gives partners, including service providers and integrators, the ability to deploy multiple collaboration applications on one server in a virtualized environment and then host those applications for multiple client organizations. The solution is designed to be run from partner data centers.

I’m often asked, “Haven’t enterprise voice and other UC services always been delivered from what we now call a private cloud?” It’s true that IP PBXs and other UC servers, like their PBX predecessors, provide services to users from a remote room or facility via a network. But there are two ways in which today’s cloud service delivery differs. First, there is the efficiency of pooling computing, network, and storage resources across multiple locations and services. Second, the services can be delivered in an on-demand fashion with elastic scaling.

The financial and strategic benefits deriving from these two factors are leading many businesses to consider consuming collaboration services in a utility model from Cisco’s partners in the Hosted Collaboration Solution (HCS). But the same drivers can result in substantial benefits to businesses that aren’t looking for services from a third party’s public cloud. Read More »

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A Public Manager’s Guide to Cloud Computing

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.

Read More »

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For your IT Wish List this Holiday Season: a Virtual Data Center

December 21, 2011 at 6:12 am PST

‘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).

You may have already heard about Cisco IT’s internal private cloud solution, called CITEIS: Cisco IT Elastic Infrastructure Services. It’s what we call a “Cisco on Cisco” example, using Cisco’s own Unified Data Center solutions – including Unified Computing, Unified Fabric, and Unified Management with our Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud software.

For a quick overview, here’s a short video about the Cisco IT private cloud:

And if you want more detail, watch this on-demand webinar here.

Read More »

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Cisco Cloudverse, Hypervisors, Partners and Real Cloud Deployments

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:

  • Hypervisor(s)
  • Server Vendor(s)
  • Network Vendor(s)
  • Storage Vendor(s)
  • 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.

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Build Your Own Private Collaboration Cloud Offers New Flexibility for Large Enterprises

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

Read More »

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