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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.

Read More »

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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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With Cisco Cloud Management, FASTWEB Delivers New Value-Added Cloud Services

Imagine that you head the leading telecommunications provider in Italy and you are watching traditional service and revenue streams struggle under intense competitive pressure. Customer retention is a major issue because the types of services required by your residential and business clients are changing. Clearly, you need to retain customers and do so by offering new services. It is a generally known business fact that often it is more cost effective to invest in retaining customers than trying to get new ones in such competitive industries.

So, how would you do it?

FASTWEB, a Swisscom company, asked Cisco exactly that question. FASTWEB’s analysis indicated that offering cloud-based service delivery would be an excellent opportunity to retain existing business while capturing new revenue streams from Italian businesses looking for new IT solutions. But FASTWEB struggled with execution due to insufficient resources to develop and deliver these new services.

So, FASTWEB adopted Cisco’s Unified Data Center architecture which includes Cisco UCS Blade Servers and Intelligent Automation for Cloud (IAC). Cisco UCS servers were selected for performance, reliability, and the ability to integrate smoothly with other heterogeneous elements in their solution stack. They thoroughly analyzed cloud management solutions, and Cisco IAC scored the highest in their evaluation for:

• Openness and flexibility
• Ease of use by users and administrators
• Single management console access to the entire cloud service lifecycle
• Ability to build services without deep technical skills

FASTWEB

Teaming with Cisco Services, FASTWEB implemented cloud service delivery across six distinct use cases. Because of UCS they did so with minimum server hardware, gaining a complete cloud infrastructure that consumes only a few racks. With this Cisco Unified Data Center strategy and solution, FASTWEB estimates their customers can save around 50 percent over three years utilizing FASTWEB services compared to on-premises infrastructure.

FASTWEB2

What’s more FASTWEB relies on Cisco IAC to offer customers a portal that is intuitive with fast delivery thanks to strong automation and orchestration of all cloud elements, including network. None of their competitors in the Italian marketplace has an offering equal to this unified solution from Cisco.

Now FASTWEB’s cloud services are growing smoothly thanks to technology that scales as quickly as their business does. FASTWEB plans to expand its use of Cisco IAC to offer new services as such PaaS and SaaS for their customers.

Read more about FASTWEB’s implementation in this case study and this recent CiscoLive Milan presentation.

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Summary : Beyond Data Security…Five Biggest Risks of Shadow Cloud IT Services

In his recent blog (Unleash the Promise of Cloud), Enrico Fuiano reports  how a Cisco Intel study  clearly indicates that Line of Business (LoB) leaders have been playing a more important role in driving requirements for IT solutions and services. Amongst the reasons driving this shift, Enrico pointed to the “shadow IT” initiatives.

BobDimiccoRobert  Dimicco, Cisco Senior Director , Global leader and founder of Cisco’s Cloud Consumption and Broker Services Practice  tells  a similar story , as he recalls  a recent  conversation with a CIO “My CFO and CEO just asked me if I knew how many of our users were accessing cloud services. They asked me if I knew how much we were spending or if there were any risks.” He said, “Bob I don’t know the answers, and I don’t have a plan.”

In his blog, “Beyond Data Security ..Five Biggest Risks of Shadow Cloud IT Services “ Bob shares that “In working with our customers, we have found that there are typically 5-10 times more cloud services being used than are known by IT.”  This challenging trend, called Shadow-IT is not without any risk . In fact , Bob describes  the 5 major risks of Shadow IT which are

  • Data Security Risks
  • Brand Risks
  • Compliance Risks
  • Business Continuity Risks
  • Financial Risks

So how to identify these risks and deal with them ? Bob explores the benefits and  services offered by the Cisco Data Center Assessment for Cloud Consumption.

  • Identify unauthorized cloud services and gain greater visibility into your cloud usage in order to reduce
    security and financial exposure
  • Mitigate risks by proactively identifying risk and compliance issues associated with cloud usage
  • Reduce costs through recommendations to consolidate and/or eliminate cloud services
    ◦ Obtain early warning of overage and related charges
    ◦ Identify duplicate services and identify potential candidate cloud services for consolidation
    ◦ Highlight over- and underutilized services
    ◦ Estimate potential cost savings through a customized financial model
  •  Enable greater business agility through cloud governance, which can help IT and LOBs
    efficiently select and deploy cloud services to rapidly meet organizational needs
  • Enable greater business agility through cloud governance, which can help IT and LOBs
    efficiently select and deploy cloud services to rapidly meet organizational needs

To learn more, and start now to build a plan,  check Bob’s blog here 

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