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Prediction for 2nd half of 2012: Infrastructure as a Service deployments expand to include IT as a Service

IT shops deploying clouds over the past year have been focused on Infrastructure as a Service ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infrastructure_as_a_service#Infrastructure ) as a way to drive speed in virtual and physical server provisioning, cost savings in operations, proactive service level agreements, and increased control and governance.   In one of my blogs I introduced our Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud http://blogs.cisco.com/datacenter/the-secret-is-now-out-you-can-simplify-cloud-deployments-with-cisco-unified-management/ and how that addresses both private, hybrid and public clouds IaaS.   Key to this is the service catalog and self service portal.  Moving to cloud is NOT about taking hundreds of server configuration templates and moving to them immediate self service.  All you are doing in that model is automating VM sprawl.  They key is defining a limited set of services and options that your end users such as application owners and technical folks can order through a self service portal and manage their life-cycle.

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How Are Large Enterprises Utilizing Collaboration in the Cloud?

Today, we ‘re featuring a guest post from Brian Blatnik, a senior manager within Cisco’s Collaboration Technology Group:

In the month since our CloudVerse announcement the notion of a world of many clouds – public, private, and hybrid – has resonated with our customers, partners, and industry analysts. I’d like to share some perspective on how those types of clouds address different customers in the collaboration cloud services market. Since last month’s announcement highlighted our private cloud model in that market, Hosted Collaboration Solution for Large Enterprises, I’ll focus on that model. As a reminder, the Cisco Hosted Collaboration Solution gives partners, including service providers and integrators, the ability to deploy multiple collaboration applications on one server in a virtualized environment and then host those applications for multiple client organizations. The solution is designed to be run from partner data centers.

I’m often asked, “Haven’t enterprise voice and other UC services always been delivered from what we now call a private cloud?” It’s true that IP PBXs and other UC servers, like their PBX predecessors, provide services to users from a remote room or facility via a network. But there are two ways in which today’s cloud service delivery differs. First, there is the efficiency of pooling computing, network, and storage resources across multiple locations and services. Second, the services can be delivered in an on-demand fashion with elastic scaling.

The financial and strategic benefits deriving from these two factors are leading many businesses to consider consuming collaboration services in a utility model from Cisco’s partners in the Hosted Collaboration Solution (HCS). But the same drivers can result in substantial benefits to businesses that aren’t looking for services from a third party’s public cloud. Read More »

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A Public Manager’s Guide to Cloud Computing

Cloud computing—delivering infrastructure, services, and software on demand via the network—offers attractive advantages to the public sector. For example, it has the potential to reduce information and communications technology (ICT) costs by virtualizing capital assets like disk storage and processing cycles into a readily available, affordable operating expense.

One of the most significant cloud computing opportunities for the public sector is the ability to share ICT resources among multiple agencies. While governments have tried hard to create frameworks geared toward shared services, these have not always been successful. Cloud computing offers an easier and less burdensome route to more efficient and effective public sector information management.

Of course, cloud computing is not without its challenges:

  • A service provider residing outside of a government’s legal or territorial jurisdiction may put access or security at risk.
  • Open standards and interoperability may not be guaranteed, leading to the risk of vendor lock-in.
  • Data privacy is a concern when using public clouds. This can be addressed by the development of private clouds.
  • Business continuity will continue to be a concern. Cloud computing, however, may also mitigate this risk, as cloud vendors are likely to use more robust and better-maintained computing platforms that provide more redundancy and are less likely to fail.

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Cisco Cloudverse, Hypervisors, Partners and Real Cloud Deployments

I have had many customers and partners ask me about Cisco Cloudverse in the past 2 weeks.  One of the top questions I get asked is whether we support other hypervisors besides VMware.  Lew Tucker in his interview in Information week covered it well:  http://www.informationweek.com/news/cloud-computing/infrastructure/232300123 .  Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud works well with many hypervisors and we have seen many successful clouds built on vCenter, HyperV, and Linux KVM.  We find many customers look at multiple hypervisors to prevent vendor lock-in and all the issues associated with that.  The world of many clouds is indeed a complex place as organizations building a private cloud have to decide on:

  • Hypervisor(s)
  • Server Vendor(s)
  • Network Vendor(s)
  • Storage Vendor(s)
  • Whether to use a converged infrastructure model or not
  • Cloud Automation software, (will the virtualization vendor’s software be enough for a pragmatic cloud?)
  • IaaS, PaaS or SaaS, or all of these models
  • Integrations into pre-existing IT operations management tools
  • What to expose in the Front Office (Service Catalog and Self Service Portal)
  • Details of the Back office (automation workflows, policies, models)
  • Whether to have any hybrid cloud models deployed.

I have seen Cisco Partners play a strategic role in helping their customers make sense of this complex playing field.  They key item is to first understand what type of cloud an organization wants to deploy and what the Front Office should look like.  Oftentimes I find organizations have a lot of opinions and pre-existing work on the technical provisioning, but have not thought much about what to present to end users / consumers of the cloud.  Focusing on what the Cloud Portal would present to the ultimate consumers is really where the transformation to cloud needs to start.  We tend to get wrapped around the axle with all the details of the infrastructure provisioning and leave little time to the end user experience.  That is a really a career limiting move when it comes to your organization adopting cloud.

Our Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud solution, a key element of Cisco Unified Management, is a new paradigm for Cloud Automation and Management, derived from the leverage of newScale, Tidal, and Linesider acquisitions.  It is both a policy and orchestration centric solution than can solve pragmatic cloud deployment needs, versus simply adopting one model (such as vCloud Director).   The following figure details the considerations of policy and console based solutions versus catalog and orchestration centric solutions:

Virtually all of the customer conversations I have highlight the fact that customers want both Physical and Virtual provisioning and cloud automation.  This is where Cisco Unified Management  which includes the Cisco UCS Manager for Physical Server “virtualization” and Cisco Network Services Management for Physical and Virtual Network Services “virtualization”.  These two technologies, alongside the Cisco Cloud Portal and the Cisco Process Orchestrator are key for creating both a physical and virtual cloud.  This is what the most pragmatic of customers are looking for when transform to cloud.  It is indeed a universe of clouds and Cisco can help.

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I’ve looked at Clouds from both sides now

December 7, 2011 at 10:20 am PST

I’ve looked at Clouds from both sides now.

In the US, we’re running a 7-city tour, training Partner Sales Reps & SEs on Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud. We’ve just finished training in a fourth city, including Cisco reseller, system integration and technology Partners from the Western Hemisphere. Meanwhile, in London this week, leaders from the Intelligent Automation Solutions Business Unit are conducting sales enablement training for Partners as well as Direct Sales Reps and SEs from all over EMEA. On either side of the Pond scores of people are being brought up to speed on how to identify, qualify, and sell Cisco’s Cloud management solution.

Here in London, a handful of different languages ask the same question “How do we clearly and compellingly articulate the value of cloud computing and cloud management to our customers?”

At the same time, back in the US, Cisco’s Giuliano Di Vitantonio, Vice -President of Data Center and Switching Marketing is announcing Unified Data Center as part of the CloudVerse story. Cisco’s CTO, Padmasree Warrior talks about the CloudVerse in her post on The World of Many Clouds.

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