Customers have often said to me, “Joann, we have virtualization all over the place. That’s cloud isn’t it?” My response is, “Well not really, that is not a cloud, but you can get to cloud!” Then there is a brief uncomfortable silence, which I resolve with an action provoking explanation that I will now share with you.
Here’s why that isn’t truly a cloud. What these customers often have is server provisioning that automates the process of standing up new virtual servers while the storage, network, and application layers continue to be provisioned manually. The result is higher management costs that strain IT budgets, which are decreasing or flat to begin with. With this approach, businesses aren’t seeing the agility and flexibility they expected from cloud. So, they become frustrated when they see their costs rising and continue struggling to align with new business innovation.
If your IT department adopted widespread virtualization and thought it was cloud, my guess is you are probably nodding your head in agreement. Don’t worry, you’re not alone.
So then, what are the key elements an organization needs to achieve the speed, flexibility and agility promised by cloud?
1) Self-service portal and service catalog The self-service portal is the starting point that customers use to order cloud services. Think of a self-service portal as a menu at a restaurant. The end user is presented with a standardized menu of services that have been defined to IT’s policies and standards and customers simply order what they need. Self-service portals greatly streamline resource deployment which reduces the manual effort by IT to provision resources.
2) Service delivery automation
After the user selects services from the portal service menu, then what? Well, under the hood should be automated service delivery—which is a defining characteristic of a real cloud environment. Behind each of the standardized menu items in the self-service portal is a blueprint or instructions that prescribe how the service order is delivered across the data center resources. This has been proven to appreciably simplify IT operations, reduce costs and drive business flexibility.
This year for Christmas my wife gave me the wonderful gift of membership to our local gym, and in addition, a discounted gift pack of 8 personal trainer sessions. My first reaction was to be offended by the gesture until I gazed at the sincerity on her face and the “keg” below my chest. So, instead of wallowing in self pity. I proceeded to pull out and dust off my 1998 Brooks track shoes, my knee high athletic socks and my 2000 Los Angeles Laker’s Championship head band, and proceeded to walk out the door on my quest for a new and improved six pack.
How does this story relate to manufacturing? Well let me explain.
I did not make it out the door before my teenage daughter glanced at me, chuckled and stated, “Dad. Where are you going with that outfit? And where did you get those shoes!!!”, “You need some new “stompers” (translation for the tweet challenged generation…new shows. Oh and I needed the translation.) She directed me to the NikeID website to find some new “stompers”
Nike -- Custom Solution
Global manufacturing stalwarts like Nike and Harley Davidson are re-engineering their plants to address the growing trend of custom “productization.” Where customers can personalize and customize their product with unique detail and style. Customers end up paying a little more for this service, but in many instances it turns out to be more reasonable than exclusive branding. Is Custom Automation the new craftsmanship of the 21st century? If so, what is required to implement this new paradigm into a viable business and operational reality -- a sort of Industrial Intelligence? Read More »
Introducing Cisco Industrial Intelligence. Neither James Bond gone corporate nor Cisco gone espionage, Industrial Intelligence is the enabling of business enterprises and municipalities to more intelligently and responsively manage industrial operations globally, and it’s one of Cisco’s latest adjacencies as part of the Borderless Networks solutions portfolio. Having IP-data and control flows converged with voice, video and virtualization creates a more intelligent platform for innovations that connect devices to measure, monitor, and manage resources for greater efficiencies, to connect people in less time and space, and to connect ideas that generate solutions to today’s industrial, operational and environmental challenges.
Chet Namboodri talks about how the Cisco Industrial Intelligence solution can help to improve operational efficiency, safety, agility, and use of assets.
No doubt data is one of an organization’s most important assets. The trick is to turn it into timely and trusted information—information that can be used to rapidly uncover new markets, attract and retain customers, reduce operating costs, shrink time to market, and make smarter strategic decisions. In short, leveraging data can sharpen a company’s ability to navigate markets.
So when we combine Informatica’s world-class data integration platform with Cisco® Tidal Enterprise Scheduler, we are enabling organizations to gain a competitive advantage in today’s global information economy by empowering them with relevant and trustworthy information to support all their business decisions.
Oh, how data processing has evolved, growing in complexity and sophistication, it now spans across multiple software stacks and disparate systems. With the introduction of virtualization platforms, processes can now be run on virtualized environments as well as a physical one. As we know, virtualization allows you to use physical hardware more efficiently. That’s because often times an application is sitting “idle” and doesn’t really need all the allocated computing resources, and virtualization lets idle computing resources be re-assigned to other tasks. Virtualization technology and the advancements of Cloud Computing afford businesses significant benefits in terms of cost reduction and efficiencies resulting from consolidation and standardization.