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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?

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Want to hear Cisco’s POV on the top 5 questions about the Future of Cloud?

Gee Rittenhouse answers the top 5 questions about #CloudAccording to GigaOM, the use of cloud-based resources will be what’s “next” for IT in preparation for an in-depth look at the infrastructure that will drive the next decade of application development.

At the recent Structure event, GigaOM tapped into the minds of cloud-technology industry leaders, seeking insight into the “Top 5 Questions for the Titans of Cloud.”

In this post, Gee Rittenhouse, Vice President/General Manager, Cloud and Virtualization Group at Cisco, provides answers and insight on cloud infrastructure, exchange, data security and more.

 

Top Cloud Question #1: “When will all the major clouds support the same set of APIs?”

 

Today, there is a three-horse race between two proprietary APIs (Amazon Web Services and VMware’s vCloud API) and one open API (OpenStack). For now, the two proprietary APIs will continue to be the dominant players, leveraging their large public cloud (in the case of AWS) and private cloud (in the case of VMware) deployments.

But, as an increasing number of service providers and enterprises adopt and deploy OpenStack cloud solutions across both public and private models, the balance will shift, more than likely over the next two to four years.

Cisco’s approach is different from other, more infrastructure-centric public cloud offers. We believe that the open API model OpenStack will eventually be the dominant cloud API model and will ultimately become the de-facto standard.

Looking to the future beyond just a hybrid cloud conversation toward the Intercloud, an interconnected global cloud of clouds, built with a commitment to open standards and based on OpenStack, will feature APIs to connect any cloud or hypervisor to any other cloud or hypervisor.

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Monetizing the Shift to Cloud and Hybrid IT with Services

Picture this scene, which took place last month at Cisco’s Partner Summit in Las Vegas. I had been talking for a few minutes in the lobby of the Venetian with a long-time Cisco partner when he suddenly asked, “Raja, how are you guys at Cisco going to help us use services to capitalize on cloud and hybrid IT?” I answered: “Plenty…and rapidly expanding.”

First the back story, then the details.

By now, we all know that new technology consumption patterns have shifted the business model that customers are demanding. Much of this has to do with the increased influence that line of business decision makers now have on IT buying decisions. Consider this. In just two years, 35 percent of IT spend will reside in the business — outside the control of IT – according to a recent study.1 A whopping 90 percent of IT spend will be controlled by the business in 2020. As the saying goes, “We’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto.”

Then there’s the lightning-quick shift to a variety of new cloud models.  In just two years, cloud spending will account for the majority of new IT spending, according to Gartner.2 That same research also predicts that by the end of 2017, nearly half of large enterprises will have hybrid cloud deployments. Read More »

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What makes Cisco Cloud Services Application Centric ?

Cisco’s announcement on Cisco Cloud Services “Introducing Cisco’s Global Intercloud”  is the next step in our transformation towards being an end-to-end cloud platform and software function solutions vendor. This announcement underscores the importance of the Internet of Everything and network-centric SaaS application areas like collaboration to Cisco’s strategy.  A key component of this strategy is the enablement of application centric performance and scale.

Cloud computing has rapidly matured in the market.  Many businesses have adopted private and public cloud strategies and deployed infrastructure and support systems. With this adoption, applications need to address a new set of performance capabilities.  These capabilities consist of an application centric marketplace, open source software development ecosystems, software defined platform, and application service orchestration control policies.

ACCloudPerformances

This diagram presents the application and presentation framework that integrates to the cloud platform. The integration components of importance for application centric performance are in the Application Infrastructure services, Services Framework, Content Management, and Business Services API. As an example, as a developer publishes code to production, the Application Infrastructure services will validate the Cassandra instances in the platform are available. As the service is being consumed, the APIC controller will validate the network latency, throughput, and services dependencies on all application services supporting the application. In this example, if the Cassandra instance fails, APIC will proactively re-route the traffic to the next Cassandra instance with the best performance required for the service.The figure below shows how the consumer contracts are abstracted from the services and service providers to enable application centric cloud performance.

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Let Cisco Cloud Work for Your Business

At a recent event I saw a T-shirt that said “Remember when cloud only meant rain?”  In the days before cloud computing, asking someone what they thought about cloud usually invoked a response about an animal-shaped formation or looking at cumulonimbus and predicting precipitation. One thing that today’s IT clouds have in common with their heavenly-based brethren is the ability for IT clouds to make it rain for your business.  When cloud is a part of your business strategy, they can increase business agility and effectiveness that translate into revenue generating opportunities.

Every day customers tell me what keeps them up at night is not how to reduce costs but how to survive. Cloud can take you far beyond survival to thriving  by delivering everything from data center services to applications to even office supplies.  But to get this benefit you need to bring together IT and your business strategy. And you need a new way of managing all these components in a unified manner.

Traditional management strategies and solutions utilize fragmented tools dedicated to specific systems.  They are ineffective in an environment where end users are empowered to request services on-the-fly and expect delivery almost instantly.

A customer told me this week that he believed all cloud management solutions were the same.    This is simply not true and two new reports from EMA and IDC provide supporting evidence.

Cisco’s cloud solution understands that your journey is a multi-step process.  You need to first automate your physical and virtual infrastructure to provide a foundational base for as-a-service, across heterogeneous hardware.  Let’s be honest – how can you increase efficiency when your solution manages a single hardware stack or hypervisor?

Cisco UCS Director delivers unified management and automation across both physical and virtual environments from a single pane of glass.   Designed to manage integrated and converged infrastructures utilizing Cisco UCS and Nexus fabric, UCS Director also manages third-party infrastructures such as HP, Dell and Brocade. Its innovative model-based orchestration tracks configuration changes ensuring that your business workflows run to completion, even if a switch is down or unavailable. UCS Director frees up your IT engineers from mundane daily management tasks allowing them to focus on more advanced projects.

Once infrastructure is automated, you can expand your horizons to automating the delivery of applications or general business processes.   Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud (IAC) is a full-stack cloud solution that includes embedded application provisioning, governance and usage tracking all from an end-user portal and service catalog that spans multiple cloud platforms and tenants.   Leveraging its networking strength, Cisco IAC simplifies  cloud-based deployment and management of network services with out-of-box templates for firewalls, load balancers and VPNs eliminating the need for manual, trouble-ticket based provisioning.   

Watch these videos to learn more about Cisco UCS Director and Cisco IAC.

Earlier this week, Cisco announced its open, hybrid cloud solution, Cisco Intercloud.  Cisco IAC is one of the management solutions powering this offering and is an example of Cisco IAC’s flexible cloud service capabilities – flexibility that your company needs.

With cloud becoming strategic to your organization’s IT strategy, Cisco’s two step solution of Cisco UCS Director and Cisco IAC gets you on the path to anything-as-a-service and your organization on its way to experiencing those rain making opportunities.    

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