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Are you ready? – Convergence and Cloud calls for changes to how IT operates

I was at Gartner Summit in Las Vegas last week after missing the prior year.  One thing that struck me this year was the increased dialogue around changes IT organizations need to make in their people and processes in order to prepare for both the convergence of IT infrastructure and the move to cloud.  Now I know that analysts have talked about the area of IT operations management for some time but what was different was that customers were talking about it too.

At Cisco Services, we’ve had an increasing number of customers asking us to help them better align their people and process to take full advantage of Cisco’s innovative data center technologies.  This growing interest in change was on full display at Gartner Summit, as both analysts and customers were discussing what change would mean to them.

So what are some of the things you should consider to get your IT organization best prepared for change?  First, you need a leader committed to changing the way your IT runs.  The CIO at Seattle Children’s Hospital, Drex DeFord, says he started by re-setting his organizational purpose, identifying patients as their customers, not employees.  He then focused his strategy on removing complexity from his IT organization, not just on the technology side but in his people and processes as well, to allow IT better flexibility to understand and deliver against their customers’ expectations.

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CloudVerse simplifies Cloud Management in Cisco’s Unified Data Center

December 15, 2011 at 12:53 pm PST

On December 6th Cisco announced CloudVerse, an integrated set of capabilities that enables customers to deliver cloud applications and services by uniquely combining the unified data center and cloud intelligent network.  Key to this is Cisco’s Unified Data Center architecture which is comprised of three technology pillars: Unified Computing, Unified Fabric, and Unified Management.

The following provides a description of CloudVerse, focusing on new cloud management offerings and capabilities that enable customers to build and operate private, public or hybrid clouds… the world of many clouds:

  • Cisco CloudVerse uniquely combines the unified data center and cloud intelligent network as the platform to deliver cloud services.  CloudVerse brings a unique set of advantages:
    • Assured Cloud Experience by uniquely combining the unified data center and cloud intelligent network
    • Agile, Dynamic and Efficient Cloud – delivering cost savings and time to market advantages, while simplifying the management and deployment of services
    • Accelerated Deployment through pre-tested designs like VMDC, through pre-tested ecosystem integrated solutions such as Flexpod and Vblock
    • Simplified management an operation through integrated management of compute, network and storage – for both the DC and the network
    • Cisco Unified Data Center provides a complete Data Center infrastructure architecture. It combines compute, storage, network, security and management into a fabric architecture that delivers outstanding performance for physical and virtualized business applications. Created to help companies evolve to cloud computing environments, Unified Data Center embeds automation and simplified operations at the Server, Network and Cloud-Services Layers.
    • Unified Management provides automation and lifecycle management frameworks to manage and simplify the deployment and operations of Network-Layer, Compute-Layer and Application/Cloud-Services-Layer within the Data Center. This includes Cisco UCS Manager, Cisco Network Services Manager, and Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud, as well as the integration with Cisco’s application, virtualization and storage ecosystem partners.
      • Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud features the newScale self-service portal and service catalog, which has been re-branded as Cisco Cloud Portal, and the Tidal automation software, which has been re-branded as the Cisco Process Orchestrator. Together, we’ve combined and integrated these software products into a powerful and intelligent management solution for enabling IT-as-a-Service.
      • Cisco Network Services Manager automates and provisions network infrastructure services using powerful abstracted models and policies that define and control the characteristics and behavior of the Cloud, and how Cloud services are accessed by end-users.
      • Cisco UCS Manager Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) Manager provides unified, embedded management of all software and hardware components in the Cisco UCS. It controls multiple chassis and manages resources for thousands of virtual machines.

To get more information on CloudVerse and Cisco Unified Data Center, please read the following blogs:

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Gartner Data Center Conference 2011: Trends and Observations

December 13, 2011 at 7:00 am PST

Gartner Data Center 2011, London and Vegas, are over, what are the emerging trends to close out 2011 and lead into 2012? 

Cisco was actively involved in both events. The booths and speaking sessions were great opportunities to listen to the IT decision makers, evaluate emerging industry trends, and introduce the Cisco Unified Data Center.

Thanks to all of you who stopped by in person. For those of you not in attendance, here are some highlights.

Giuliano Di Vitantonio, Cisco VP Data Center and Switching Marketing, Presenting Cisco Unified Data Center

Giuliano Di Vitantonio, Cisco VP Data Center and Switching Marketing, Presenting Cisco Unified Data Center

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Cisco Unified Data Center : Changing the Economics of the Data Center

For the last decade, IT organizations have faced the challenge of managing budgets that are 70-80% channeled towards maintenance costs while business demands are growing faster than ever. The result is that many requests for new projects have to be turned down and more and more business opportunities are missed.

If we look within the data center, the majority of the costs is associated with people and software, but the the root cause of those costs is legacy infrastructure that is very complex and expensive to manage. The flaws of this legacy infrastructure are often masked by layers of complex management software, which have developed to stitch together systems that were not designed to be integrated.

Legacy infrastructure prevents business agility and financial efficiency because it was not designed for environments like Cloud that require fast deployment, automated provisioning of resources, open-API’s, and “self-service” consumption models by business users. Nor was it designed for environments where physical and virtual resources have to co-exist. Finally, it assumed operational models that can’t meet the Performance, High Availability and Security requirements in the context of workload mobility and deep integration between compute, network and storage environments.

As a result of all this, Data Centers have evolved towards an accidental architecture that still contains too many silos of applications that are difficult to maintain and manage.

For these reasons, Cisco has created the Unified Data Center platform, which provides a new approach to design the data center infrastructure and prepares our customers for the opportunities that Cloud will bring along in the future.

Cisco has a long history of anticipating the convergence of technologies in an effort to reduce costs, streamline operations, or unlock new ways for the business to leverage technology. Cisco has a deep understanding of these transitions, having helped reshape the industry numerous times in the past, most notably with the convergence of voice and data. We are now doing the same by bringing together Compute, Network, Storage and Management within and across Data Centers.

Successful transitions involve new ways of not only thinking about the business challenges, but also about designing the underlying technologies to be agile, efficient, and simplified. Bolting together existing technologies doesn’t deliver the desired result.

A Unified approach is needed to unlock this new business potential.

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Cisco CloudVerse Enables Public, Private, and Hybrid Clouds

Today we are announcing Cisco CloudVerse, an integrated set of capabilities that enables customers to deliver cloud applications and services by uniquely combining the unified data center and cloud intelligent network. CloudVerse is the culmination of Cisco’s data center and network innovation over the last few years and provides our customer with the platform for their journey to the cloud. CloudVerse enables our customers to deliver cloud applications and services with a cloud platform tailored to their needs – whether private, public, or hybrid – in an interconnected world of many clouds.

CloudVerse enables service providers, governments, and enterprises to offer their solutions as a service and deliver them with the full benefits of clouds. CloudVerse’s benefits are greater simplicity in deployment and management of cloud services, stronger security with a more comprehensive approach, faster service agility, improved economics, and an assured experience for cloud users.

CloudVerse integrates the three key elements of a business-class cloud:

  1. Unified Data Center – Bringing together the compute, network, management, and storage elements to offer an integrated platform for applications and services
  2. Cloud Intelligent Network – This is an enhancement of both the enterprise Borderless Networks and the SP next-generation network with cloud aware capabilities
  3. Cloud Applications and Services – Cisco offers a set of pre-tested applications and services for those companies looking to build and provide cloud services to individuals, businesses, and their own organizations

Let’s dive a bit deeper into what these CloudVerse pillars are comprised of.

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