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Cloud Architecture Considerations and The Open Group

Last week I presented and participated at the The Open Group Forum in Austin, TX. It was a great event, with insights into Enterprise Architecture, Business Architecture and Emerging Architectures. There were several breakout tracks in the Forum, including, the most popular -- Cloud Architectures Track. The sessions ranged from connecting architecture frameworks (TOGAF) to Cloud Architectures, to Cloud Architectures development. My session was on “Architecture & Considerations for IaaS Clouds”.  This session was more focused on technology aspects of the Cloud Architecture. Also, it could be applied to either an enterprise private cloud or a service provider cloud settings. Just to level set everyone in the audience, I started out with a taxonomy and reference architecture (RA) review. I utilized both NIST’s published and a simplified version of Cisco Cloud RA. The Cisco RA review was the case in point for this session, where Infrastructure, Service orchestration, Delivery/Management and consumer layers were discussed.

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Building “Business Ready” Cloud Computing Networks

Over the last few months, the big trend in Cloud Computing has been a dramatic shift from “talking” to “building”. Companies in every industry are taking the next steps to deploy their strategies to deliver more efficient IT services for their business, with the goal of delivering the services in the best possible manner regardless of the source (Private Cloud, Public Cloud service, Hybrid capabilities).

But companies looking to deploy Cloud Computing or expand their existing footprint face several challenges:

  • How to deal with on-going support for legacy applications (such as this or this) while beginning to deploy new virtualized or cloud-based applications?
  • How to ensure consistent levels of Security, Auditing, Compliance, and Quality of Service across the range of applications (old and new)?
  • How to build out Cloud Computing infrastructure in a way that is consistent and able to easily grow as demand grows?
  • How to deal with potential migration from one source of services (internal or external) to another without having to completely re-architecture the underlying infrastructure?
  • How to deal with concerns about stability of external Cloud Computing services that are outside of their control?

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Cloud – Technology Nirvana or Buzz Word?

Cloud computing is ubiquitous – directly or indirectly, enterprise organizations, governments and consumers have been actively using or engaging with hosted application platforms for some time and will continue to do so for many years to come.  Lately we have been bombarded by cloud conversations, market analysis on whether cloud is greener, more secure, more cost effective or if it’s here to stay. The din of these conversations sometimes dulls out the reality that cloud is simply a necessary and expected evolution of the way we consume, access, and deliver information over the network. Click here to learn how some private sector organizations are already realizing the benefits of cloud.

With the proliferation of mobile devices, applications and social networks, consumers’ behaviors are changing and access to information anytime, anywhere and over any platform has become a norm. As devices become more relevant, more intelligent and more embedded into our day-to-day lives, we begin to expect that same seamless connected experience across the services we receive from our cities, governments, schools, etc.  Cloud enables these connected devices to go beyond the limitations of our 1:1 interactions and extends our access to services and information. With cloud computing, governments and industries can deploy more dynamic services to grow cities, deliver faster, more reliable services to citizens, and ensure greater access to a global market of opportunities and experiences.

Cloud is really about economies of scale.  Tangible upfront cost savings are difficult to measure, but if you look at cloud as a means to achieving organizational agility through efficient virtualization processes, then the savings are more quantifiable. Cloud computing won’t solve all our IT problems, but it gives us an opportunity to look beyond a siloed approach to IT and information sharing and experience the next generation of collaboration that is dynamic and reliable enough to evolve the way we currently deliver services and operate.

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Cloud Management Confusion? Not Here…

Just the other day, one of our competitors crowed that Cisco customers must be confused about how to manage Cisco equipment when attempting to build a Cloud Computing environment. From their perspective, customers should embrace the mainframe days when a single company delivered all the hardware and software, along with an army of ever-present consultant to make it all work. Don’t worry about complexity Mr.Customer, there isn’t any because you don’t ever see it. And don’t worry about the $bill$ either, because the contract will rollover from one IT administration to the next IT administration.

Based on Cisco’s presence at EMC World last week, I can understand why they would be confused. Not only did live, managed Cisco and VCE Vblock equipment show up in several keynotes (Pat Gelsinger, Paul Maritz, Sanjay Mirchandani), it was also discussed in packed breakout sessions, and in the booths of Cisco, EMC, EMC IT, VCE, newScale, BMC, CA and VMware.

Within the Cisco booth, we highlighted just one of our Cloud Management solutions, Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud, in the context of our broader “Cisco Cloud Solutions” strategy.

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See you at Microsoft TechEd – Atlanta next week

I am happy to share that Cisco is a key sponsor for the Microsoft Tech Ed North America 2011 event in Atlanta next week.  At TechEd, we will be showcasing our data center business advantage solutions and showing how you can maximize your investments in leading Microsoft applications such as Exchange, SharePoint, and SQL Server.

With Cisco UCS, we are not just making servers, we are making server history.

It is well known that Cisco UCS adoption has been fantastic with over 5400 customers, with a large number of customers efficiently and fearlessly running their mission critical Microsoft applications on UCS. These customer deployments are backed by series of CVDs (Cisco Validated Designs) that serve as key enablers to successful deployments.

Any Announcements?

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