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Zero Touch Deployment in the DNA of Cisco

This video blog describes the value of simplicity in the Internet of Everything world and Zero Touch Deployment (ZTD) as a key enabling technology for Cisco, Cisco IT and any IT organization.

Plamen Nedeltchev, Ph.D. and Distinguished Engineer for Cisco IT describes the challenges and opportunities of zero touch deployment technologies when simplifying the way users and machines consume network services. Plamen shares how ZTD enables productivity through an excellent user experience, allowing fast and seamless consumption of network services while reducing time to capabilities and TCO, simplifying IT deployment and improving scalability.

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Bookends That Prevent Your Cloud from Getting Away From You

Cloud platforms are an increasingly viable option for a growing set of enterprise and service provider workloads. A recent IDC report estimated that private cloud software, including hosted private cloud, represented 62% of IT spending in 2012.

Cisco is a unique cloud provider because it delivers solutions for the two critical management bookends for your journey to the cloud. The first bookend, Cisco UCS Director, automates converged and multi-vendor infrastructure, and I’ve written a lot about that. Today I’m focusing on the second bookend that completes the journey, Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud (IAC).

Cisco IAC delivers all the critical elements required to deliver speed, flexibility and the competitive innovation promised by cloud-based deployments. These include:
• A self-service portal and standardized menu of services
• Service delivery automation
• Operational process automation
• Resource management automation
• Service life cycle automation

There are a lot of value statements about cloud but they all center on these basic propositions:

1) Cloud delivers simple, abstracted environments that are presented to end users for consumption on-demand. The business experiences faster and easier development and deployment of new applications or services.
2) Cloud allows organizations to focus on what makes them different and effective rather than on mundane tasks that do not add value to the business.

So, does cloud do this? Here are two customer stories that answer this question with real evidence.

ASE-IT is a service provider that was founded in 2001 and has used cloud automation to gain a competitive advantage and grow to one of the top 10 service providers in Australia.

Aurecon provides engineering, management and specialist technical services for both the private and public sector. Faced with a rapidly expanding business and a data center that had reached the end of its life, Aurecon utilized cloud automation to get closer to their stakeholders and develop new innovative services.

By deploying Cisco IAC, both companies reported the ability to:
• Accommodate rapid business growth without adding additional IT staff
• Standardize their IT environments providing the ability to grow the size, scope and
scale of services delivered to their customers
• Increase their customer base and global presence as a result of the nimbleness and agility of their IT environments
• Increase collaboration among development and IT teams resulting in new automation use cases to drive even greater innovation

In order to have visibility into your cloud and manage it properly to achieve your business goals, you need a bookend solution like Cisco IAC. Otherwise, cloud control can and will drift, and your organization will feel the impact as goals become harder to reach.

To learn more about Cisco IAC, you can watch this video or visit the Cisco IAC website.

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Workplace Services. A Brief Personal History of the Service Catalog and Its Evolution

When Cisco acquired netwScale (my company), in addition to our cloud portal, it also brought in the Cisco Workplace Portal (formerly RequestCenter).

There was a lot of curiosity as to what Cisco would do with an ITIL style service catalog and what the future of such product would be within Cisco.   Well, it’s 18 months later and it is doing quite well, with an exciting roadmap and some new things already shipped and some in the wing.

In this post, I want to discuss what are workplace services, how they have evolved, how they are evolving and what it means to the service catalog.

Workplace services are those services that employees need in order to do their jobs. They include computers, phones, offices, new employee set up, terminations, access to applications and anything else you can imagine.  I have seen tens of thousands of service definitions both common and unusual.

Common ones are the desktop computer variety, but even these sometimes have an unusual bent. For example, banks have different workstations for tellers than admin staff.  Other have engineering workstations that are  different salespeople. Role definition becomes a pretty important aspect of a service catalog implementation.

Unusual ones were “Report chemical fire”, “Order Executive Sedan”, “Inter-factory mail”, and “File patent idea”. Patent as a service, if you will

If it was something that could be requested, it went in the catalog. Today some customers have 1,500+ service definitions in their catalogs with user bases in the 350,000 employees.

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What makes Cisco’s Intelligent Automation so Intelligent?

This is a must read for those who want to deeply understand the philosophy behind Cisco’s automation product portfolio

It should not be news to you that Cisco has invested in software products to drive the management and automation of clouds, datacenters, and applications.  Intelligent Automation is the name that we have for the management and orchestration solutions in the Intelligent Automation Solutions Business Unit in Cisco’s Cloud and Systems Management Technology Group.

What is so intelligent about Cisco’s automation products?  Besides the official marketing and product management answers, I polled our Business Unit and Advanced Services teams and got the following responses (which I distilled a bit).  Oh and by the way, one constraint was that we cannot use Intelligent in the definition of Intelligent Automation (harder than you might think).

The top winners for the best contributions are:  Oleg Danilov (Solution Architect), Mynul Hoda (Technical Leader), Peter Charpentier (Solution Architect), Frank Contrepois (Network Consulting Engineer) and Devendran Rethinavelu (QA Engineer).

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Begin your Journey to the Cloud with Cisco’s Cloud Starter Edition

Please be aware that this product is no longer sold.

As Jason Schroedl  announced, http://blogs.cisco.com/datacenter/announcing-the-new-cisco-intelligent-automation-for-cloud-starter-edition Cisco’s Intelligent Automation Solutions Business Unit, in conjunction with the Unified Computing System has just announced a solution for customers of UCS and vCenter that want a Cloud Automation system that can perform both Physical and Virtual server provisioning.  It is called the starter edition for a reason.  We find that many customers are not sure what they want from their cloud and are looking for a great place to start.   This is not what I call the “starship enterprise” of clouds.  It is the first step that a company will take on their cloud journey.

See my previous blog for some key concepts of success cloud deployments:  http://blogs.cisco.com/datacenter/five-things-that-successful-cloud-deployments-have-in-common/ and on my cloud owner manifesto for successful cloud builders: http://blogs.cisco.com/datacenter/cloud-owner-manifesto-12-habits-of-successful-cloud-builders/ .

Let’s look at typical cloud deployments.

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