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Use Cloud to Execute Your Business Vision

Major change and growth is happening in the way data centers are functioning. This change is being led by cloud technology.

IT’s role is changing from an infrastructure provider to strategic business partner. The new role for IT is to align you with the services you need, when you need them, from a portfolio of internal or external services.

Once viewed as your organization’s virtual machine dispenser, cloud is quickly maturing. You have expectations beyond virtual machines. You need applications along with the underlying components that support that application. You need an automated way to manage application life cycles as well as integrate business financials.

Cisco has lived this data center evolution and has been surfing the sea of change. It has the tools for you to accelerate cloud delivery in your organization as well.

Introduced last week at CiscoLive Milan, Intelligent Automation for Cloud (IAC) 4.0 is a game changing solution that extends cloud beyond the data center. It is a great choice if you:

• Want a single modern business portal that acts as your central order point for IT or any business service. Cisco IAC delivers. With a modern, on-line shopping experience, you can order data center services, applications, development platforms and telephony or collaboration services with a single-click order experience.

Service Portal

• Require your cloud management to be heterogeneous not homogeneous. Cisco IAC 4.0 operates in concert with UCS Director to deliver a solid multi-vendor private cloud platform that spans physical and virtual infrastructure components. With this unique combination, you can shift your focus from “how to build” to delivering differentiated services for your organization to consume.

• Understand that networking is hard and a vendor with domain dominance is essential. Network services in the cloud are difficult and as a result the network team is rarely included in the cloud conversation. Cisco IAC’s out-of-box templates for network services, such as firewalls, load balancers, and VPNs, allows your network team to once again participate in the conversation.

Network Topology

• Want cloud governance that goes beyond basic health and status. With advanced financial management across multiple tenants and platforms, you can tailor prices per tenant, or geography, or application type. When you order a service, Cisco IAC automatically delivers a price quote which becomes a threshold to which consumption, by budget or actual resource, can be tracked. When this threshold is reached, you will be notified that additional funds or resources are required or the service will be terminated.

There is a sea of change occurring in data centers today. You need a strategic partner who has the
vision to successfully navigate this change. Dive in and learn how Cisco IAC can support your business – like it supports Cisco’s data centers.

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Virtualization Everywhere, but not a Cloud in Sight!

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.

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Conversations about Cloud – “What is Self-Service IT?”

Every once in a while (here, here), I have the same conversation enough times with customers that I find it useful to bring it to the blog community. Last week at VMworld 2011, I had the opportunity to spend quite a bit of time speaking with customers and partners about Intelligent Automation and what it means for IT to deliver self-service capabilities to their customers (internal, contractors, etc.). During the conversations, a number of questions came up over and over again: Read More »

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Cloud Computing – When Change is Hard, Standards & Structure Help

In my journeys to various industry events over the past 6 months, one element of Cloud Computing has begun to resonate over and over from attendees (customers, service providers, systems integrators) -- that we’re well past the stage of discussing or debating “what is Cloud computing?” and that we’ve moved to the stage of many live deployments.

But there is still some confusion or reluctance to reach broad deployments. The bottleneck seems to be less about technology and more related to the challenge of dealing with change. Not only is IT trying to figure out how to evolve their skills to new technologies (converged infrastructure, virtualization, and automation), but they are also trying to evolve their operating models to serve the business in faster, more efficient ways. And so many IT organizations are trying to figure out how to make the first steps to get over this critical hurdle, to provide a more standardized way for the business to interact with IT and derive value from improved pace of application deployments.

The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step” -- Confucius

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