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I just returned from a great week of EMC World in Vegas.  The fine folks at EMC make crazyEMC World good technology and they can throw one heck of a party…I mean conference.  The week was full of interesting people, big ideas, big data and of course the cloud.

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Cloudy Thoughts about EMC World 2011

Next week is EMC World 2011 in Las Vegas, with Cloud Computing being one of the major themes. Cisco is an Elite-level sponsor of the event and will have a huge presence (see full schedule of activities) throughout the week. We’ll be showcasing Unified Computing (UCS), Unified Fabric, FCoE, Virtual Desktops (VDI), Virtual Experience Infrastructure (VXI), Unified Network Services, Data Center Network Manager (DCNM), Private Cloud, Application Mobility and of course deep integration between Cisco and EMC (VPLEX, Greenplum, VNX, etc.)

If you’re planning to be in attendance and would like to talk about Cloud, I’d enjoy meeting you. Here’s where I’ll be throughout the week, as well as attending sessions, meeting with customers, hanging out in the EMC Blogger’s Lounge and networking with colleagues from across the industry: Read More »

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Conversations about Cloud – “What about my Data?”

This week I had a separate discussion with a CIO of a large manufacturing company about Cisco’s Cloud Computing strategy and how we could help them with an upcoming transition in their Data Center equipment and facilities. My their own admission, they are a fairly conservative company and asked me to avoid any hype or hyperbole in this discussion. They just wanted to talk about the current state of IT.

I started the conversation with two pictures that I often use:

I always let customers know that the reality of today is there are many legitimate ways to deliver Cloud Computing services as an IT organization. Some of them can come from your internal systems (“Private Cloud”), some will come from commodity Cloud services (“Public Cloud”), some will come via Service Providers and Hosting Providers, and others may come from the SaaS offerings that Cisco provides (eg. WebEx, ScanSafe, etc.). The key to all of this is to determine what services their users, partners and business need, and then evaluate where to best deliver the IT services from. Some choices will be driven by time-to-market, others by cost, and still others by industry or government regulations. In the long-run, we fully expect that most customers’ IT portfolio will be delivered through a mix of Private and Public services. Cisco plays a critical role in this because of our experience helping customers through IT transitions for the past 20+ years, and because of the critical role the network plays in delivering Highly Available, Secure and Mobility-Aware experiences to users on any device or in any location. Read More »

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Conversations about Cloud – “What is Cloud Computing?”

Sometimes we spend so much time involved in the inner-workings of something (“inside the sausage factory”) that it’s valuable to occasionally come up for air to get a fresh perspective on things. I had one of those moments this week during a conversation with a Sr. Engineer at one of our customers. After a long whiteboard session about networking within their Data Center, he asked me if it was useful (YES!) and then he said he wasn’t sure how that had anything to do with Cloud Computing.  The rest of the conversation went something like this:

ME: That was great because you highlights many design considerations for building massively scalable data center networks. [SCALABLE]

HIM: Glad it was helpful, but please don’t tell me this is Cloud Computing. This is just the evolution of Data Centers because now VMs and Applications can be mobile.

ME: OK, what do you think Cloud Computing is?

HIM: Cloud Computing is the stuff on the Internet, you know, like Amazon AWS or Google. All the on-demand, self-service, *aaS stuff that marketing people talk about.

ME: OK, fair enough. Does your company (Enterprise -- Financial Services) use any Cloud Computing?

HIM: Are you serious, we have rules about where our data goes, how it’s accounted for and how it’s audited. You can’t do that in Cloud Computing. (NOTE: Not completely true -- Cisco is doing some important work in that space.) Read More »

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Cisco – Focusing on the Service Providers’ Success

The Cloud market is certainly heating up.  Last Thursday’s announcement from Dell of a $1B (US) investment in 2011 to enter the Cloud hosting market had me reflecting on their new direction. Dell is beginning a two-year build-out of ten data centers around the world to serve enterprises’ public and private Cloud needs. Earlier this year in a similar move, HP announced a set of new Cloud services they are offering ranging from consultancy, Cloud services, and equipment. These options included an “Enterprise Cloud Services-Compute” which will deliver private Cloud services directly from HP’s data centers to end-customers.

There’s a striking difference between Cisco’s strategy and those of HP and Dell.  HP and Dell’s strategies will be challenging for some of their customers, especially service providers.  Cisco’s strategy is to enable our customers to provide cloud services, whether service provider, public sector, or enterprise.

On one hand, HP and Dell are providing data center packages to enable SP Cloud delivery. On the other hand, both are investing to deliver Cloud services directly to end-users and bypass the service providers. While this is likely to further stimulate Cloud competition, it is directly competitive with service providers who wish to offer their own Cloud services.

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