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Platform as a Service: The Next Big Opportunity for Communications Service Providers

The Route to PaaS

When cloud computing emerged a few years ago Communications Service Providers (CSPs) saw the opportunity to build the infrastructure layer and offer services on it. CSPs had data center facilities that when combined with their network assets created a cloud service offer with higher service delivery assurance than some alternatives. CSPs are now delivering infrastructure-based cloud services, especially Compute as a Service and Storage as a Service, to the public and to their large Enterprise customers in private cloud offers. As the cloud service model matures, providers who have invested in cloud infrastructure are finding that they are well positioned to evolve their Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) offerings into new service delivery models by leverage their services, systems, and expertise to take on the next great opportunity in cloud services which is Platform as a Service.

The Value of PaaS

PaaS is an integral component to development and delivery of cloud-based applications delivered as Software as a Service—or SaaS. Developing a PaaS offer gives CSPs the opportunity to take advantage of the huge and growing SaaS market and help to accelerate the development of SaaS offers. CSP’s can take an active role by leveraging their assets and developing their capabilities, via a PaaS offer, rather than just hosting and transporting SaaS services. The capability they can provide is to enable development and then deploy applications that are created using tools that they support on to their cloud infrastructure. PaaS enables CSPs to carve out a new and essential role in SaaS development and delivery, situated between software developers and end users, for both business and consumers.
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Curse You, UCS

June 1, 2011 at 10:00 am PST

I’m shaking my fist at the Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS).  It’s making me let go of a Data Center solution that worked well in the past.

I worked for years on Cisco’s team that designed and managed our Data Centers.  In the early 2000s, hardware compaction strongly influenced our physical design.  Every few weeks it seemed a different manufacturer debuted a new server smaller and more powerful than its predecessor.  We could fit more gear into our cabinets and so found we had a lot more cabling to manage.  This was especially challenging in legacy Data Centers with cables routed below the under-floor plenum.  More cabling meant less airflow.  

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Automating Cisco UCS Management with Windows PowerShell

As many of you know, a big part of the UCS story revolves around the flexibility we’ve built into the UCS management model.  While we hear great feedback from customers about the native UCS management GUI, we know that many of you have already invested lots of time in building automated solutions to repetitive IT tasks.  To that end, we want to help you find ways to use the tools and processes that have already been built along side of UCS.

We know that many of our customers are already running Microsoft applications on top of UCS.  For many of you, that means that you’re also likely automating repetitive tasks using Microsoft’s PowerShell scripting language.  PowerShell is an immensely powerful tool in an IT admin’s bag of tricks.  Introduced back in 2006, it has matured to become common across not only Microsoft’s business software, but also among their partner community -- including NetApp, Quest Software, and even VMWare.

Shortly after we brought UCS to market, we got a specific request from an early adopter to build out PowerShell support for UCS .  Here on the team, nothing moves us faster than feedback directly from our customers, so it got the cogs turning and we’re happy to announce our first public release of the PowerShell Management Toolkit for UCSM.  We decided to even take that a step farther -- besides providing PowerShell support, we’ve also made available .NET managed code that can be used to natively build UCS support into a .NET application.  For the rest of the post, I’m going to spend some time talking about some of the nifty ways in which UCS PowerShell provider can be used.  Fair warning here, folks -- we’re about to get technical :-)

For the brave among you, read on……

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Microsoft TechEd 2011 Impressions

Microsoft TechEd 2011 was a great opportunity to talk to customers about Cisco UCS and Microsoft applications. We had  so many attendees come by the booth and ask questions about UCS that we meet out target goal of customer engagments within the first two days.  I was surprised how many people did not realize the depth of the platform or the integration points we provide from both an application and consolidation standpoint.

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Cisco UCS: Beating the Odds

May 25, 2011 at 4:45 pm PST

When the odds are against you, there are two roads you can take:
1. Buy into the negativity and become a self-fulfilling prophecy or
2. Persevere to rise above the adversity and exceed everyone’s expectations.

When Cisco joined the server party several years ago and set out to design a new system that addressed our customer’s power, management, and server administration costs challenges, the cynics said, “It couldn’t be done.”

Then, when Cisco’s Unified Computing System (UCS), a new system that blended compute, network, storage access and virtualization into a single unit, was announced two years ago, skeptics predicted that it would never succeed.

Now, less than two years after UCS first shipped in July 2009, Cisco holds the third position in global market share in x86 blade server factory revenue as of Q1 CY11, according to the IDC Worldwide Quarterly Server Tracker, May 2011. Furthermore, businesses worldwide shifted over 10% of the x86 blade market to UCS, and in the U.S. nearly 20%, as mentioned in Cisco’s Vice President of Server Access and Virtualization Business Unit Soni Jiandani’s blog post.

This information comes on the heels of last week’s exciting announcement, Cisco UCS B250 M2 Blade Server won the “Best of Show” award in the Hardware and Storage category at Microsoft TechEd 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.

I’ll let you guess which road Cisco took to beat the odds.

We couldn’t have done it…without our partners! Read More »

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