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Three Hybrid Cloud Applications That Make it Worth the Fuss…

So you thought that cloud was the fad of the day. But it stuck. Now you hear all the fuss about hybrid cloud. Even the die-hard cloud fanatics who believed that the only cloud had to be in the public cloud, have conceded that folks need hybrid cloud – a seamless application environment across on-premise and off-premise infrastructure that can provide best of both worlds – speed, scale and economics of public cloud with control, security and data sovereignty of private cloud. Hybrid cloud allows this perfect balance and you don’t have to worry about walking on a fine rope or tripping over IT control or compliance while providing agile IT services.

abstract image of acrobat elaphant

Sounds great! But what exactly can you do with hybrid cloud? A couple of use cases come to mind:

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My take on the integrated infrastructure buzz

I recently created a playlist of my favorite 80’s, 90’s and current songs. Listening to the playlist in shuffle mode, I noticed the stark contrast and evolution of the recording quality from the old classics to the current stuff.

Thank you Pink Floyd and Apple

I have to admit that the quality does get progressively better overtime, but in some cases tunes just sounded over-engineered, especially on the digitally recorded tracks. As good as they may sound, they often lack the warmth of reel-to-reel tape deck recordings. I am sure someone is busy developing an app to fix that.

The Tres Virgo Recording Studio – 1980’s style with owner Robin Yeager

The Tres Virgo Recording Studio – 1980’s style with owner Robin Yeager

It actually makes me wonder how some artists are able to pull some of those over-engineered studio songs off on a live stage, and some do a great job. But these days, concerts are as much about the show, not just the music – thank you Pink Flyod for setting a trend.

Pink Flyod Live – Earls Court, London 1994

Awesomeness: Pink Flyod Live – Earls Court, London 1994

But I digress: what digital allows you to do is fix stuff in the mix with a simple mouse click, versus having to re-record part of, or all of the tracks. That is time and money saving stuff. It is streamlined sound engineering workflows at it’s best.

And it has opened up a whole world of possibilities for recording artists, including making mediocre ones sound pretty amazing. In fact, anyone with Garage Band installed on a MAC (and some talent) can sound pretty good these days. Thank you Apple.

Is your data center stuck in the tape-deck age?

Similar evolution has occurred in data centers around the globe. An IT environment of disparate servers, storage, and networking systems all managed in silos is a thing of the past. Or is it?

The unfortunate reality for many organizations is that their data centers are stuck in the tape deck age and associated laborious workflows. The result is that much of today’s IT budget is still being consumed by keeping the data centers humming along. That comes at the expense of real innovation.

It’s no surprise that in today’s connected-everything world, businesses and organizations off all sizes rely heavily on IT. And in that world, you need an infrastructure that is up to the task: an environment that is agile, secure and simple to manage with few resources.

Once you have that in place, your talented IT folks can turn their attention to focusing on real innovation that can lead to tangible business outcomes, rather than just keeping the lights on – just as talented musicians should focus on the music.

So what a novel idea to have an environment that combines compute, storage and networking into a pre-validated, fully integrated design that can be centrally managed? Enter the idea of integrated infrastructure. By no means is this a new concept. After all, many vendors now claim they deliver integrated infrastructure. Or can they?

I can’t speak for other vendors, but can say that Cisco has teamed up with the best in the industry to deliver pre-validated (so you know it will work together), integrated systems.

And they work just as advertised. I recently discovered this when I picked up my personal hardcopy of Unleashing IT.

I was delighted when my hardcopy of Unleashing IT arrived in the mail

I was delighted when my hardcopy of Unleashing IT arrived in the mail

This edition dedicated to discussing the various Integrated Infrastructure flavors available today from Cisco and it’s eco-system of partners. It profiles businesses and organizations much like yours that are reaping the business benefits.

I encourage you to take a moment to subscribe, download the pdf or get your personal hardcopy shipped to you, and let me know what you think.

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Easy to Build, Easy to Manage: Cisco OpenStack Private Cloud

What if a private cloud could give your developers the easy, fast, and predictable experience that public cloud delivers, but inside your own data center, behind your own firewalls?  It’s what more and more companies are looking to provide.

Different clouds for different crowds

Innovative organizations are increasingly deploying two modes of IT — traditional IT and agile IT. Traditional IT is what we’ve all know. The focus is on “doing IT right,” with approval-based governance, and price-for-performance. Agile IT is focused on “doing IT fast,” supporting prototyping and iterative development, rapid delivery, continuous, and value to the business.  Gartner calls this model “bimodal IT” and estimates that 45% of CIO’s already deploy a second, agile mode of IT.

Cisco has a long history of providing infrastructure for traditional enterprise private cloud environments. In fact, we lead the industry with Cisco UCS Integrated Infrastructure solutions such as vBlock Systems, Flexpod, and VersaStack. With the acquisition of Metacloud in September 2014, we now offer an agile IT environment for developers.

Enter Metacloud

The Metacloud product, now available worldwide as Cisco OpenStack Private Cloud, delivers the engineering and ongoing operations to provide a public cloud experience within the firewalls in an organization. The advanced operations subscription to Cisco OpenStack Private Cloud takes the burden of engineering and operations of the private cloud environment away from your teams, so they can focus on automating the testing, deployment, and scale of your applications.

Metacloud solved the challenges of running a sophisticated OpenStack® private cloud that delivers an easy, fast, predictable “public cloud-like” experience to developers. But under our original model customers are still left with the challenge of building an OpenStack private cloud—cobbling together the data center components of your private cloud, using  traditional IT models for getting those set up and configured.


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Five Reasons You Can’t Ignore OpenStack

Five Reasons You Can’t Ignore OpenStack

1.    It’s growing dramatically.
OpenStack User Survey, Nov 2014
Source: OpenStack User Survey, November 2014

·       The growth trajectory of OpenStack® is similar to that of Linux, and is on track to grow even faster. What started as a sandbox for developers has now become significantly more stable and mainstream.

·       Many larger enterprises are now using OpenStack, even in limited deployments, and as the advantages become more apparent, use will increase.

·       The code itself has matured dramatically since its introduction five years ago. Updates are now far more likely to be bug fixes and usability improvements rather than major new code releases.

·       An impressive number of technology and cloud vendors now offer OpenStack solutions and tools. Almost every major cloud vendor now has a presence in OpenStack. We are nearing critical mass.

2.    The OpenStack community is vigilant about protecting flexibility.

·       The biggest advantage of an open-source approach is that you can create a much more flexible and vendor-neutral cloud environment. As a result, you can lower your costs, avoid the risks of vendor lock-in, and add new capabilities and approaches much more quickly and easily.

·       The cloud is still an incredibly dynamic, rapidly evolving marketplace. New features and approaches are being introduced all the time. If you lock yourself into a single vendor, you’ll be on that vendor’s timeline to bring those new capabilities to your business. Your success may well rest on responding more quickly than your competitors.

3.   It can make a big difference in productivity and staffing.

·       Using OpenStack on an integrated infrastructure platform, like Cisco UCS® offers significant productivity benefits, because the two architectures work together to eliminate many of the manual tasks involved in building a cloud. OpenStack defines how computing, networking, storage, and other essential cloud elements will interoperate, so your IT engineers are free of repetitive deployment tasks and can focus on more value-added projects.

·       If you lock your cloud environment into a single vendor’s approach, you’re limited to staff who specialize in that vendor’s technology—or to long ramp-up times to train existing staff who don’t.  But open source technologies are a smart investment and many of today’s developers and engineers are adding open source to their skill set, expanding the number of people qualified to support your OpenStack cloud.

·       OpenStack is growing rapidly. Even if you’re not planning to begin implementing an open-source approach right away, it’s critical to start building OpenStack skills in your team now, so you won’t be scrambling to catch up later.

4.    Are you avoiding OpenStack because you think using an open-source solution means a long, complex do-it-yourself project?  Not necessarily.

·       Hardened, enterprise-class OpenStack solutions are now available from open-source leaders like Red Hat®, often as part of pre-integrated, ready-to-deploy solutions developed in partnership with vendors like Cisco.  Cisco UCS Integrated Infrastructure for Red Hat OpenStack is a fully documented design guide and bill of materials, designed to accelerate deployment of your OpenStack cloud.

·       And for those who prefer to leave operation of OpenStack to the experts, Cisco now provides a fully-managed, on-premises private cloud option, based on technology acquired from Metacloud.  Cisco OpenStack Private Cloud® gives you all of the benefits of a public cloud in a private cloud environment, so you can focus on application development.

·        The number of tools is growing and responding to the need for support.  OpenStack users have made Chef cookbooks and Puppet configuration modules freely available on GitHub.  In addition, the latest technologies for putting infrastructure at the service of cloud applications and services are being made available for OpenStack.  Vendors now offer software-define networking (SDN) controllers, such as the Cisco Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC), that allow you to perform policy-based management of your OpenStack-based cloud environment.

5.   Are you ready for a hybrid cloud world?

·       For many businesses, the immediate priority is to create a private cloud environment to deliver IT as a service (ITaaS). But you want to be able to shift workloads to public cloud resources when it makes sense to do so, as well as meet growing demands from lines of business that want to use public cloud services in the enterprise.

·       Hybrid cloud is growing in importance as it combines the economic benefits of the public cloud with the control and security of a private cloud.  The December 2014 Ubuntu Cloud and Server Survey found that 40% of respondents using OpenStack were planning to implement an OpenStack-based hybrid cloud in the next 12 months.  OpenStack is an obvious candidate for hybrid cloud, with the support of an active open source community, as well as major cloud vendors.

OpenStack may have seemed like a curiosity a few years ago. But it’s becoming a big part of the cloud landscape. If you want to capitalize on the benefits of open source cloud environments before your competitors, start paying attention now—or be prepared to play catch-up later.


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SUMMARY: As Cisco Intercloud Turns One, Two of its Architects Reflect On How The Strategy Was Born

“One year ago this week, Cisco announced a plan and a billion dollar investment to build the world’s largest Intercloud – a globally connected network of clouds from Cisco and our partners. As we arrive at the one-year anniversary, I took a few minutes to chat with Cisco President Rob Lloyd and Cloud SVP Nick Earle – two of the ‘architects of the Intercloud’ – about how the idea came about, and what they have learned in the year since the vision was unveiled.”

Click here to read the full post by David McCulloch
A Q&A with Cisco President Rob Lloyd and Cloud Senior Vice President Nick Earle


Intercloud Birthday

Happy Birthday, Intercloud!

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