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Move Past Survival and Thrive

Every area of your business has a stake in the way IT delivers services. Each one needs speed, agility, efficiency, and a clear definition of its relationship with all of the other areas and the business as a whole. In order to get there and create an agile and efficient organization that flows, you need to unify IT with all areas of the business. There is no way around it.

If your company is one of the four out of ten companies moving to a private cloud by the end of 2014, then you know you need a solution that does more than dispense virtual machines in minutes. You need a solution to deliver diverse services across an entire solution stack. You need a cloud partner that can align with the demands of your business today, tomorrow, and well into the future. Always keep in mind that your cloud technology choices are major decisions with business-critical impact.

Selecting a cloud management solution is a strategic decision for your organization. In a previous blog, I wrote about Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud (IAC) receiving the highest score in the Forrester Private Cloud Wave Report for cloud vision and strategy. What we presented to Forrester, and even more, is now available for your organization through the latest release of Cisco IAC.

How does vision and strategy translate into IT better aligning with your business? Sit back and watch this informative, short video to find out.

Every day customers tell me what keeps them up at night is not how to reduce costs but how to survive. Just as in nature, survival for business depends on intelligence and fast and agile execution of processes. To make these capabilities part of your organization’s genetic composition, so that they are intrinsic, almost intuitive, you need a cloud management solution that sees, understands, and manages your whole environment: physical and virtual, networks, applications, and more – whatever comprises your stacks.

Plus, you need cloud efficiencies to extend beyond your data center securely and encompass business functions such as delivery of development environments within minutes, the ordering of a new laptop or virtual desktop, onboarding of a new employee, or even the ordering of office supplies. And you want to be able to do all of these things from a unified user interface.

That’s exactly what the latest release of Cisco IAC brings to the table:

• The integration of Cisco IAC and Cisco UCS Director delivers a comprehensive private cloud, which frees you to focus on creating differentiated services instead of building your cloud.
• A unified self-service portal and catalog covers your enterprise, providing a modern online shopping experience across all data center and workplace functions.
• Advanced cloud governance offers the ability to manage demand, suppliers, and service consumption tracked to specific budgetary or resource thresholds.

But wait, there’s more. There’s the network. Any NOC expert will tell you that delivering network services in the cloud is a manual, trouble-ticket-based grind. At a time when your business needs speed and agility, manual network service delivery slows down IT and your business.

Unchain your business with Cisco IAC’s out-of-box templates that automate the delivery of VPNs, firewalls, and load balancers. We’re not talking about a single configuration applied to every organization, but the ability for each tenant to define its own unique network service configuration.

Cisco understands that cloud management is more than dispensing virtual machines. The latest release of Cisco IAC allows IT to align with your business, so that you’re free to not just survive, but to thrive.

Take the next step and watch this technical video overview of Cisco IAC.

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Join the Conversation: Cisco and Forrester Webcast

Cloud is changing the way businesses deploy and manage IT and business services. Industry analysts estimate that by the end of 2014, four out of 10 companies will have deployed a private cloud.

But where do you start?

Join Cisco and Forrester on February 18th, for this live webcast entitled: Cloud Management: It’s More than Just IaaS. Check out this promotional video then register today.

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Introducing Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud 4.0

I’m at our annual Cisco Live Europe conference in Milan this week – it’s a great event and a great opportunity to introduce new innovations to customers.  In fact, today we announced the latest release of our cloud management software solution: Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud (Cisco IAC) version 4.0.

I recently wrote about the new Forrester Private Cloud Wave, and how Cisco was ranked in the top three overall and #1 in strategy.  Our high marks in strategy in that report were based in large part on the roadmap and strategic vision that is being delivered through this new cloud management release – together with the latest release of Cisco UCS Director for infrastructure management.

Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud is a cloud management platform designed for enterprise and public sector IT organizations building private and hybrid clouds, as well as service providers deploying public or virtual private cloud services.  This is the fourth major release for Cisco IAC – and it’s a big one.

With the new 4.0 release, Cisco is breaking ground by providing both the out-of-the-box functionality that our customers are asking for and the flexibility that we know they need as they extend their cloud deployments beyond basic IaaS.

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Check out what’s new in the latest release of UCS Director!

Cisco’s award winning converged infrastructure management software solution just got even better!  In the latest release of Cisco UCS Director, we’ve added broader and deeper infrastructure support across the compute, network, storage and virtualization layers, as well making the product even more scalable.  The latest release also comes with new software development kits (SDKs) for partners to provide extensibility and interoperability and a northbound API for integration with Cisco’s Intelligent Automation for Cloud (IAC) as well as other cloud management systems.  Let’s take a closer look at these enhancements in detail.

SDKs and APIs

UCS Director’s new SDKs and APIs were recently made available to give our partners the following functionality:

  • Northbound API which integrates into higher platforms like Cisco IAC.  This API enables you to perform operations on Cisco UCS Director resources and to integrate those operations into applications so that they can provide API-supported functionality and features.
  • SDK  available on cisco.com & DevNet (CDN), which provides open automation for partners looking to create new device connector

Compute

                                                            compute   Compute Enhancements

UCS Manager 2.1 (Delmar); KVM console; SAN zoning through UCS   Manager; standalone management of UCS C-SeriesUCS Integration -Local disk provisioning and policies

-Workflow tasks for vNIC templates and service profile

-Assign blade or server pool to group

-Cloning of profile and profile template

 

Whiptail – application acceleration

  •   Invicta, Acella API Version 1.5 support
  •   Inventory reports
  •   CRUD actions,    workflows, and reports
  •   Converged and stack views

 

UCS Central Integration

-Multi-domain Manager concept

-Inventory for UCS-M elements

-Local/global service profile and templates

-Pools and policies for network and storage equivalent to UCS-M

-Select/deselect UCS domain assigned to POD

 

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IT – The rapid pace of changes we can expect in 2014

We are almost at the end of January in 2014 and Cisco Live is underway in Europe.   The IT landscape is changing rapidly, and we all need to adapt to it.  In a previous blog I had listed some of the high priority issues for IT in 2014, and in this blog I will emphasize the rate of change needed to keep pace.

Cyber threats are growing in all forms and shapes.

From retail giants like Target to local school districts, all have been targets of attacks last year. This 2014 Cisco security report is an eye opener.  The use of cloud computing and mobile devices is only increasing the complexity of security. Vulnerabilities are increasing because data centers have thus far adopted “bolt on” security measures i.e disparate technologies with multiple control points that were never meant to work together. Malicious actors are working faster to exploit gaps. IT must adapt quickly to this new normal.

IT must now deliver services not technology

Business expects IT to deliver consistent high quality services.  Projects will not be one off, siloed, custom solutions.  This is akin to moving away from a job shop model to a highly industrialized continuous flow model in the world of manufacturing. Projects will get more complex due to the use of shared resources and the resulting interrelationships. All this calls for a high degree of automation and service assurance mechanisms, resulting in more changes to the IT department. At Cisco, we are working hard to provide IT the necessary tools to adapt to these changes. UCS Manager is still the gold standard in automating converged infrastructure setup and maintenance.  This is made possible with the service profile innovation shown in the video below.  To find out more about UCS Manager attend this meetup in Santa Clara on the 27th of Feb.

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