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Cisco and Red Hat – All In with OpenStack for the Enterprise

When it comes to driving innovation in next generation data center architectures, open source is clearly at the forefront. A perfect example is OpenStack, which is defining the future of cloud computing across private, public and hybrid clouds. This innovation is being driven by a strong and vibrant community that is taking place in Paris this week for the OpenStack Summit. I’m looking forwarding to reconnecting with friends in the OpenStack community and discussing the recently announced Cisco and Red Hat solution for OpenStack.

Interest in OpenStack as a cloud platform is clearly on the rise. At the recent Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) launch event in New York City, Cisco and Red Hat introduced the UCS Integrated Infrastructure for Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform (UCSO).  The pre-integrated and validated solution is a major step forward in providing an enterprise ready private cloud solution based on OpenStack.

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Cisco and NetApp – Partnering for the Hybrid Cloud

Hybrid cloud is finally here.  Since cloud came on the scene a few years back, companies have had the choice of building a private cloud, which they managed on premises, or buying services from a public cloud provider.  Typically, companies had to pick one or the other for a given application.  With the Intercloud, IT departments can take advantage of the world of many clouds with all the associated benefits:  application mobility between the clouds, mapping the application to the best delivery model, and taking advantage of the cost benefits of cloud overall.

Cisco and NetApp began working together three years ago to deliver FlexPod, a portfolio of integrated infrastructure solutions optimized for private cloud deployments.  With the new capabilities NetApp is delivering today, customers can realize significant benefits in how NetApp storage, particularly as part of a FlexPod, can extend into the hybrid cloud.  These capabilities include the extension of data management into a cloud environment and the ability to move data between cloud models and providers.

Cisco’s UCS Integrated Infrastructures when paired with NetApp’s technology in the FlexPod portfolio delivers an important on-ramp to the Intercloud.  Through our partnerships with cloud providers and our delivery of industry-leading solutions, IT departments will get even more flexibility in how they choose to map the application to the best cloud model.

NetApp’s new hybrid cloud solutions complement Cisco’s cloud strategy, provide businesses with the flexibility to manage changing environments, and give customers a smooth on-ramp to the Intercloud.

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Hybrid Cloud meets Cisco Intercloud Fabric

If you are like the many IT managers we talk to every day, you prefer to have options whenever you tackle a project or formulate your IT strategy. Perhaps, you do not like the idea of feeling limited, constrained or unable to leverage a viable contingency plan. Architecting your cloud strategy should be no exception …. And Cisco Intercloud Fabric can help!

So what does Cisco Intercloud Fabric do?



No time to read? This short video will provide you with an overview of the solution and perhaps entertain you for a couple of minutes. And if you are at VMworld this week, you can stop by at the Cisco booth to learn more about Cisco Intercloud Fabric.

In essence, Cisco Intercloud Fabric provides open and highly secure portability of workloads (aka applications) among heterogeneous cloud environments and with consistent network and security policies. You can move your workloads from your traditional IT environment or your private cloud to a public cloud provider of your choice. We have discussed in the past how hybrid cloud is becoming the ‘new normal’. Cisco Intercloud Fabric lets you deploy a hybrid cloud that operates as one unified environment—straddling your data center boundaries—with you in control.


And what are the benefits?

  • Choice – Can you really put in place a sound strategy if you do not have options, if you do not have choice? Are you limited in your choice of hypervisors, public cloud providers, or IT infrastructure? How easy is it to change cloud providers if you wanted to do so in the future?   Cisco Intercloud Fabric will give you the freedom to place workloads across clouds. And across heterogeneous environments … ‘any’ network … ‘any’ hardware platform … with multi-hypervisor support … from VMware vSphere to Microsoft Azure … and …. back!
  • Consistency – Can you seamlessly extend your private cloud environment to the public cloud? What about your network and security policies? How will they change? Cisco Intercloud Fabric will make your life easier in this regard. You will be able to get consistent network and security policies across your data and applications, wherever they reside. This will allow you can accelerate the time required to deploy your applications to the cloud.
  • Control – Managing multiple cloud frameworks is challenging! More importantly, it is about selecting the best cloud for your specific application and data. Cisco Intercloud Fabric gives you unified workload management across clouds ….. You are back in control!

Cisco Intercloud Fabric

A powerful enabler ….

We continue to envision IT organizations transitioning to new roles as trusted ‘brokers of IT services’. As we discussed, this model enables IT to add value to one or more public or private cloud services on behalf of its users. The intent is to dynamically bring together, integrate, and manage the delivery of multiple cloud services to best meet the needs of the business.

Cisco Intercloud Fabric is a powerful enabler to facilitate that transition. You, like most IT decision makers want to retain control over your hybrid cloud environment and you may need the ability to repatriate your workloads back to your data centers.  Avoid a ‘one-way’ trip to the public cloud …. Retain choice, consistency and control without compromising your compliance requirements with Cisco Intercloud Fabric!

Do you want to see a demo?

Well … If you are going to be at VMworld in San Francisco this week, you can stop by at the Cisco booth (#1217.) You will be able to witness how you can unleash your hybrid cloud with Intercloud Fabric. You can also attend one of our sessions on Tuesday to learn more about this solution and associated use cases.

Additional Resources


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#EngineersUnplugged S6|Ep5: Fast Track 4.0 Solutions

In this week’s episode of Engineers Unplugged, David Hartman and Tim Cerling discuss Fast Track 4.0 Solutions, which promote fast and efficient deployment of private clouds with Cisco, EMC, and Microsoft solutions.

How many engineers does it take to straighten a whiteboard? (Answer: 5) Behind the scenes on #EngineersUnplugged

How many engineers does it take to straighten a whiteboard? (Answer: 5) Behind the scenes on #EngineersUnplugged

If you would like to become Internet Famous, and strut your unicorn talents, join us for our next filming session at VMworld 2014. Tweet me for details!

This is Engineers Unplugged, where technologists talk to each other the way they know best, with a whiteboard. The rules are simple:

  1. Episodes will publish weekly (or as close to it as we can manage)
  2. Subscribe to the podcast here:
  3. Follow the #engineersunplugged conversation on Twitter
  4. Submit ideas for episodes or volunteer to appear by Tweeting to @CommsNinja
  5. Practice drawing unicorns

Join the behind the scenes by liking Engineers Unplugged on Facebook.

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So many workloads and so many clouds ….


Recently, I had the opportunity to join a discussion regarding the #FutureOfCloud in the #InnovateThink  Tweet Chat. One of the questions that came up revolved around the process typically used to associate a workload with a specific cloud deployment model. That is an important question and top of mind whenever we speak with customers.

One of the most appealing qualities of the cloud is the variety of ways in which it can be delivered and consumed. A successful cloud strategy will let you take advantage of a full range of consumption models for cloud services to meet your specific business needs. In reality, when we think about it, the process is very similar to what any company in virtually any industry goes through when shaping its business strategy. For each area of the business, inevitably the question arises: Build, Buy or Partner?

Build versus Buy

When formulating their sourcing strategies, IT organizations repeatedly face very similar service-by-service, “build-versus-buy” decisions. The predisposition of IT organizations is to create and build IT services on their own. That is what many IT professionals want to do … create new services, invent ‘new things’. And that may very well be the best option. However, many customers also realize that it is often beneficial to adopt best-in-class capabilities to remain competitive even if this requires outsourcing select portions of the IT value chain. Hence the emerging role of IT as a broker of IT services that we discussed in the past (for more information please visit our web site.) And this requires a paradigm shift for many IT organizations.

Solving the ‘Equation’

To solve the “build versus buy” equation when sourcing their IT services, IT needs to evaluate cost, risk, and agility requirements to determine the best strategy for their business. IT needs a plan and a set of governance principles to evaluate each service based on its strategic profile. A collaborative approach between business and IT is also required. For example: Is the service core to the business? What is the business value associated with it (e.g., strategic importance, sustainable differentiation it can provide, time to market requirements etc..)? What are the cost implications (CapEx vs OpEx), risk profile, security, SLAs, data privacy and regulatory compliance requirements?  And … do you have the expertise to plan, build and manage the new IT service while meeting the expectations of your business counterparts?

Hybrid Cloud Rapidly Emerging as the New ‘Normal’

Not surprisingly, my experience when talking to customers that operate in regulated industries or that are concerned about security – and the privacy of their data more specifically – is that they tend to favor private cloud deployments. For example, I was talking to a compliance manager part of a global financial institution and as soon as I uttered ‘public cloud’ his reaction was quite predictable …. He shook his head, got serious and quipped “Public cloud … I do not think so …” Real or perceived, security concerns remain top of mind and a major barrier to cloud adoption, and this is validated by market research data.

Hybrid Cloud

The predictability of the application with respect to resource consumption is also a factor. Applications that have high elasticity requirements are well positioned to benefit from the economics, agility and scale that public clouds can offer. Infrastructure capacity planning and optimization is a big task for most IT organizations. Having the ability to burst into the public cloud represents an appealing option. This is also why ultimately hybrid cloud is becoming the new normal, and results of the 2014 North Bridge Future of Cloud Computing Survey supports that view.

2014 Future of Cloud Annual Survey Results - Source Gigaom

2014 Future of Cloud Computing – Annual Survey Results

The Power of Choice

Arguably the most important thing your IT organization can do is to diversify its choice of cloud providers ….. Simply because without choice you really do not have a strategy …. And no contingency plans to go along with it ….

What do you think?

Additional Resources:



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