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Unified Data Center IQ Challenge : The Learning Experience

October 19, 2012 at 10:42 am PST

As a quick reminder , to participate to this 6 weeks challenge and have a chance to win every week a new iPAD , you want to visit our Facebook page. The questions are submitted on Sunday midnight PST, and answers have to be provided not later than Friday 12:00PM  PST.  Participation is easy and fun and allow you to collect points to compete for the highest IQ score. This best Unified Data Center “brain” will be the winner of the Grand Prize (valued US $2000).  Every week-end (Friday noon to Sunday) you can answer bonus  questions, which give you additional points to catch up for the Grand Prize.

The winner of week 2 (questions about Cisco Open Networking Environment) was Mohamed Fawzy Saleh from Egypt  who won a new iPAD. Mohamed is a student, very passionate by network technologies . Congratulations Mohamed!
From my point of view , one of the best quality of the high tech population is the thirst to keep learning in a fast changing and demanding environment . One of the intention of this challenge (game?) is to suggest every week questions to stimulate your curiosity.

My ask this week for you as we are moving to the next bonus questions for this weekend  (Security -- See below) and week 4 (Virtualization) of the challenge is to tell us what you think about the set of questions. Did you learn? Did you find the questions interesting ? Just as a reminder, and for the new participants, here are the topics we covered so far.  

Contest

Topic

Solution

Blogger

Week 1
Oct 1-  Oct 4

Low Latency Switch

Algo Boost Technology – Nexus 3548

Berna Devrim
Gabriel Dixon 

Bonus
Oct 5- Oct 7

Mission Critical Application

SAP Oracle Microsoft on UCS

Rick Speyer
Chip Lawson
Rex Backman

Week 2
Oct 8- Oct 11

SDN

ONE (Open Newtorking Environment)

Omar Sultan 
Gary Kinghorn

Bonus
Oct12- Oct 14

Desktop Virtualization

VDI/VXI with Citrix and VMware

Tony Paikeday –
Jonathan Gilad

Week 3
Oct 15 – Oct 18

Unified Management

Intelligent automation for Cloud – SAP IT Process Automation – Cloud Management

Rodrigo Flores –
Wayne Greene –
Carolina Fernandez

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How Much is This Gonna Cost? Price Models for IT Infrastructure

Steve Watkins, Guest Blogger

Steve Watkins is a Consulting Systems Engineer for Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud.  He came to Cisco as part of the newScale acquisition in 2011.  He has been helping customers manage the migration to IT as a Service (ITaaS) since 2004.

 

Showback and Chargeback have become increasingly hot topics for IT, especially infrastructure teams.  This is fuelled at least in part by the general acceptance of cloud computing, including private clouds and SaaS applications.   Chargeback (and even Showback) are great ways of affecting behavior of the consumers of IT.   It keeps consumers from demanding an unreasonable amount of services, and encourages them to use of what has already been invested in.  There is also a growing mandate from Finance to make IT accountable for its spend, or at the very least to justify any requests for further investment. So infrastructure teams find themselves in the unexpected position of defining prices for the services traditionally offered.   Most have no idea where to start.

Several vendors have produced offerings to help manage the showback/chargeback business case.  This post will not discuss any vendor in detail.  Instead, I want to talk about philosophy.

Broadly speaking, there are two major approaches to creating a price model for IT.  There is the Utility-based model, in which pricing derived from actual consumption of CPU cycles, RAM, bandwidth, storage, etc.  In this model, if you stood up a virtual machine for one week you would only pay for the actual amount CPU cycles and storage you consumed.

Alternately, there is Service-based pricing, which advocates a fixed price based on either the service itself or some other unit of measure such as hours, etc.  In this model, if you stood up a virtual machine for one week you would pay for how many hours the VM was active, whether you used it or not.

I always council my customers to adopt service-based pricing.  I think utility-based pricing is the wrong approach for IT departments, especially infrastructure teams.  Here are my reasons:

1.INFLEXIBLE – Utility pricing is asset based, and therefore assumes that the assets will remain more-or-less the same.  The model breaks down when you introduce changes, like renting infrastructure from public providers or changing service levels.  What about if I offer VDI next year?  That may mean two different types of pricing models, which gets even more complex.  A service-based pricing scheme works with all services.

2.POOR CAPACITY MANAGEMENT – by only charging for the CPU cycles you actually consume, it encourages users to stand up systems and leave them in place.. which is exactly what we don’t want.  Think of renting a car: you rent a car for 4 days but only drive it for a total of 3 hours, you still have to pay for all for days.  If I just paid when I actually drove it, I would keep it all the time.  We want to encourage users to return unused assets. Which leads to..

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Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud – Openstack Support (and AWS, vCloud, vCenter)

In support of our Openstack Edition, Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud (IAC video) is introducing a community supported “Multi-Cloud Acceleration Kit” (MCAK) that extends IAC Starter Edition to enable provisioning of OpenStack clouds as well as vCloud, Amazon EC2 as well as vCenter and UCS blades. IAC provides both a real service catalog and an orchestration tool that help OpenStack be adopted by the enterprise. IAC provides rich Role-Based Access Control,physical provisioning and adapters to a large variety of back IT systems including help desks, CMDB’s, directories and many other systems.

 

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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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Are You at Oracle OpenWorld or Interop this Week?

The Intelligent Automation / Unified Management team is going to be at Interop in New York and Oracle OpenWorld in San Francisco. We’re looking forward to speaking with you!

Here’s a run-through of both events so you know where to find us:

Oracle OpenWorld, San Francisco

Did you know that Oracle NoSQL Big Data Solutions are Offered on Cisco UCS?  Join us at the Cisco booth theater to learn more about “How Cisco Tidal Enterprise Scheduler Lowers TCO for Oracle Big Data by Automating NoSQL Workloads on Cisco UCS”.

Attend one of the three sessions this week in the Cisco booth (1221):
Monday at 3:30 PST
Tuesday at 11:30 PST
Wednesday at noon PST

We’ll be showing an exciting demo of the real-time big data analytics for the social media at the event. This demo is powered by the Tidal Enterprise Scheduler.

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