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Delivering IT-as-a-Service with Cisco Prime Service Catalog and FlexPod at Steria

I’d like to share with you some insights from the recent deployment of Cisco Prime Service Catalog from one of our customers: Steria.

Steria is a leading provider of IT-enabled business services with 20,000 employees worldwide. Steria serves private and public sector organizations across the globe – with operations across 16 countries throughout Europe, India, North Africa, and Southeast Asia. With their expertise in IT and business outsourcing, Steria provides innovative solutions to help their clients improve efficiency and profitability.

One of Steria’s recent challenges was how to satisfy its clients’ desire to improve employee productivity and enable employees to work from any device. While IT-as-a-Service is becoming an increasingly competitive market in the Americas, offerings in Europe are still sparse – so this was also an opportunity to provide competitive differentiation for Steria’s services. Steria turned to Cisco to solve 3 key problems:

1. Providing employees with instant on-demand provisioning of desktop software and easy access to workplace IT resources,
2. Enabling employees to work from any device anywhere, and thus optimize computing Total Cost of Ownership (TCO),
3. And providing a simple, user-friendly portal and service catalog to make software offerings easily accessible.

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#EngineersUnplugged S3|Ep4: Unified Roles vs Tools in an FCOE or Unified Fabric World (Part 2)

July 17, 2013 at 8:00 am PST

In this week’s episode of Engineer’s Unplugged, we take a practical look at some of the business challenges presented when storage, network, and compute teams are asked to work together. Cisco’s Andrew Levin (@AndLevin) and NexusIS’s Paul Sferratore (@MadItalianATL) approach some of the questions in the unified fabric strategy in terms of roles. Should roles drive tools or vice versa?

Andrew and Paul talk roles, cost effectiveness, and unified management:

Andrew Levin and Paul Sferratore draw a unified unicorn.

Andrew Levin and Paul Sferratore draw a unified unicorn.

Welcome to Engineers Unplugged, where technologists talk to each other the way they know best, with a whiteboard. The rules are simple:

  1. Episodes will publish weekly (or as close to it as we can manage)
  2. Subscribe to the podcast here: engineersunplugged.com
  3. Follow the #engineersunplugged conversation on Twitter
  4. Submit ideas for episodes or volunteer to appear by Tweeting to @CommsNinja
  5. Practice drawing unicorns

What’s your opinion? Join the conversation on Twitter by following @CiscoDC. Slots are almost gone for Engineers Unplugged Season 4 Taping at #VMworld! Contact me @CommsNinja to claim yours.

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Why Cloud Financial Management is a Requirement for Cloud Computing Success

July 11, 2013 at 11:23 am PST

photo-David-Linthicum-cropped-481x198Guest Blog: David Linthicum, Cloud Computing Visionary, Author, Speaker

Cloud Cruiser and Cisco have partnered to provide an out-of-the-box cloud financial management system for Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud. Through this partnership, Cloud Cruiser provides visibility into the costs of physical, virtualized, and cloud resources, as well as storage, network, application, and non-compute IT resources. We can track both the costs and the revenue realized from services being deployed, which enables service providers and enterprise IT departments to manage the profitability of their cloud services and align their business goals with IT spending.

I’m proud to be participating in a Webinar co-sponsored by Cloud Cruiser and Cisco, which will discuss the topic of cloud financial management.  Why?  Well, cloud financial management is one of the more important concepts in the world of cloud computing.  Yet, it’s also the most misunderstood.

While many cloud providers think of cloud financial management systems as mere billing systems, they are much more.  The core notion is to approach cloud financial management as a set of business processes and automated services that need to coexist with the existing cloud computing services.  These services leverage an on-demand, pay-as-you-go cloud model.  They offer a complete cloud financial management solution designed to lower IT costs, and profitably scale the cloud services business.

The objective of a cloud financial management system is to provide cost transparency, which will allow the service providers to see all costs.  Moreover, it will show how they map to resources consumed, as well as provide this information to the consumer of those resources.  Moreover, the concepts and technology should give the cloud provider cost accountability features, which allow charges to be assigned to the appropriate consumer of the cloud services, and in the appropriate amounts.  This includes either internal or external cloud service consumers.

The use of cloud financial management, as an approach and underlying technology, should offer the cloud provider cost empowerment, which allows the cloud financial management system to place fine-grained data in the hands of the customer (service consumer) so they can manage costs directly.  Finally, there is a need for cost management.  This will allow those charged with monitoring cost to understand the use of the resources, and make sure that costs are in line with the budgetary constraints of the service consumer.

So, just billing systems?  Hardly.  As more service providers come on-line, offering up everything from pre-built business processes that are on-demand, or centralized security and management services, to more traditional IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS, the need for cloud financial management technology grows.

The use of a cloud financial management system is a requirement for cloud service providers to manage and control costs, as well as provide the proper cost and usage accounting for their customers or cloud service consumers. Cloud financial management systems, such as the Cloud Cruiser Platform, provide most of the features and functions that service providers will require, including:

•  Heterogeneous data collection

•  Data analysis and structuring

•  Data aggregation and filtering

•  Hierarchical data mapping

•  Cost and price modeling

•  Budget alert processing

As cloud providers grow in numbers, the use of these systems will no longer be something that’s desirable.  It will be an absolute necessity, given the growth of cloud computing services, and the number of consumers who leverage these services.  Costs have to be monitored, analyzed, and controlled in order for cloud computing to be a business success.

This webinar is not to be missed!

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Introducing the Cisco IT eStore and a Service Catalog for BYOD

June 25, 2013 at 8:30 am PST

Cisco IT has always encouraged employees to use the tools that help them work most efficiently from anywhere on any device.

As the range of IT services we offered has increased, we noticed that the process of acquiring the various tools became complex and confusing. We had a number of different internal sites (aka “stores”) within Cisco, each offering different systems for employees to request services.  This complexity impacted the user experience and productivity of these employees.

In order to simplify the employee experience with Cisco IT, we made the decision to consolidate all these different systems into a single online service catalog – effectively a unified e-commerce storefront for our IT services – where our employees could find services they needed to do their jobs.

We thus created Cisco IT’s “eStore”.

Our goal was to improve employee satisfaction, decrease support costs, and increase employee productivity. We had to find a way to increase adoption and transparency of our existing IT services.

Cisco IT knew that a platform to consolidate these services into one unified service request system could be built on top of Cisco Prime Service Catalog, our own end-user portal and service catalog solution. This solution provides enterprise IT management capabilities that enable entitlement, approvals, service taxonomy control, and even chargeback.

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Data Center and Cloud Management at Cisco Live Orlando, 2013

June 24, 2013 at 5:00 am PST

We’re excited to showcase Unified Management solutions in the Data Center and Cloud booth at Cisco Live Orlando this week!

There are a wide variety of opportunities to meet and engage with Data Center and Cloud Management experts at Cisco Live, and learn about the latest developments in data center management and automation software solutions.

Make it easy on yourself and download the Unified Management @ Cisco Live At-a-Glance for a daily guide to the breakout and theater sessions, demos, keynotes and customer events you don’t want to miss.

Data center and cloud management solutions will be featured in over 20 breakout sessions, track sessions, and keynotes. See below for examples:

10+ breakout sessions on Cisco UCS Director (formerly Cloupia), Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud, Cisco Prime Service Catalog (formerly Cisco Service Portal), Cisco Prime Network Services Controller (formerly VNMC), and others

2 Cisco on Cisco, Inside Cisco IT sessions and 2 IT Management Track sessions on Cisco IT’s Private Cloud and eStore / BYOD initiatives using Unified Management software

2 Tomorrow’s Cloud Program sessions with Jamie Lerner of CSMTG on Orchestrating & Automating Tomorrow’s Cloud and Rebecca Jacoby providing a CIO’s View on ITaaS

2 Keynote mentions, with Rob Lloyd highlighting UCS Director as well as our SAP IT Process Automation and David Yen providing an overview of Unified Management

View more Unified Management sessions and abstracts here.

You’ll find demos of Unified Management software in many locations throughout the World of Solutions Expo, including:

Cisco Data Center and Cloud booth

◦       Cisco UCS Central and UCS Manager

◦       Cisco UCS Director (formerly Cloupia) – Converged Infrastructure Management

◦       Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud (IAC) – Cloud Management Multi-Cloud and DevOps Solution Accelerators – Cisco IAC + OpenStack, Puppet, Chef

◦       Cisco Prime Data Center Network Manager (DCNM) and Next-Generation Unified Fabric

◦       Cisco Nexus 1000V InterCloud – with Cisco Prime Network Services Controller

◦       Big Data – with Cisco UCS and Cisco Tidal Enterprise Scheduler (TES)

Cisco Prime booth 

◦       Cisco Prime Service Catalog (formerly newScale)

◦       Cisco Prime Network Services Controller (formerly VNMC)

Cisco IT booth

◦       Cisco eStore (powered by Cisco Prime Service Catalog)

◦       Cisco IT Elastic Infrastructure Services (powered by Cisco IAC)

Cisco ONE -- Intelligent Programmable Networks booth 

◦       SAP IT Process Automation (ITPA) by Cisco – with SAP HANA and onePK

See what our partners and customers have to say:

NetApp and VCE booths 

◦       Featuring Cisco UCS Director (formerly Cloupia) in the NetApp booth

◦       Featuring Cisco UCS Director and Cisco IAC in the VCE booth

Windstream demo pod in Data Center and Cloud booth

◦       Cisco IAC + Vblock service provider customer

Other ecosystem partners

◦       Cloud Cruiser (financial management and Cisco IAC) and MapR (Hadoop and Cisco TES)

Cisco Campus

 

In addition to the demonstrations, we’ll have several theater presentations in the World of Solutions including:

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