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Virtualization Everywhere, but not a Cloud in Sight!

Customers have often said to me, “Joann, we have virtualization all over the place. That’s cloud isn’t it?”   My response is, “Well not really, that is not a cloud, but you can get to cloud!”  Then there is a brief uncomfortable silence, which I resolve with an action provoking explanation that I will now share with you.

Here’s why that isn’t truly a cloud. What these customers often have is server provisioning that automates the process of standing up new virtual servers while the storage, network, and application layers continue to be provisioned manually. The result is higher management costs that strain IT budgets, which are decreasing or flat to begin with. With this approach, businesses aren’t seeing the agility and flexibility they expected from cloud. So, they become frustrated when they see their costs rising and continue struggling to align with new business innovation.

If your IT department adopted widespread virtualization and thought it was cloud, my guess is you are probably nodding your head in agreement.  Don’t worry, you’re not alone.

So then, what are the key elements an organization needs to achieve the speed, flexibility and agility promised by cloud?

1)      Self-service portal and service catalog
The self-service portal is the starting point that customers use to order cloud services. Think of a self-service portal as a menu at a restaurant.  The end user is presented with a standardized menu of services that have been defined to IT’s policies and standards and customers simply order what they need.  Self-service portals greatly streamline resource deployment which reduces the manual effort by IT to provision resources.

2)      Service delivery automation
After the user selects services from the portal service menu, then what? Well, under the hood should be automated service delivery—which is a defining characteristic of a real cloud environment.  Behind each of the standardized menu items in the self-service portal is a blueprint or instructions that prescribe how the service order is delivered across the data center resources.  This has been proven to appreciably simplify IT operations, reduce costs and drive business flexibility.

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Engineers Unplugged (Episode 10): Get Help for Your Home Network

In this week’s episode of Engineers Unplugged, VMware’s Mike Laverick (@Mike_Laverick) confesses on air that his home lab is a mess and he needs help. Good news, Cisco’s Josh Atwell (@Josh_Atwell) to the rescue! No VLANs? No problem. Let’s watch and see what Josh suggests.

Sound familiar? Suffering a similar problem? Contact us (@CommsNinja) and we might solve your problem on-air.

Mike Laverick and Josh Atwell address Mike's home lab situation.

Mike Laverick and Josh Atwell address Mike's home lab situation.

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

Questions for Mike or Josh? Join the conversation on Twitter. Follow @CiscoDC to stay up to date on all the news.

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VMworld 2011 – Cisco and VMware – Big New Opportunities

A few weeks ago, VMware announced a huge number of updates to their product portfolio, under the “Cloud Infrastructure Suite” umbrella. Without going into all the product/feature specifics, as plenty of blogs have already covered that, I wanted to highlight several areas where IT organizations will now have the opportunity to truly take advantage of joint integration and world-class technology from Cisco and VMware. I highlight these because many of them will be demo’d at the Cisco Booth (#700) at VMworld next week, as well as covered in white-boarding and Q&A sessions with our “Ask the Experts” panel each day.

So if you’re going out to VMworld 2011 in Las Vegas next week, I highly recommend you check out these technologies and opportunities to improve how IT is delivered to your business:

  • “Monster VMs” – one of the key areas of vSphere 5 is enhanced capabilities to host large, Tier-1 application VMs. This is a huge advancement as IT organizations look to continue to drive greater utilization and efficiency in the data center, without sacrificing performance and availability. And there is no better x86 server platform to run those mission-critical applications on that Cisco UCS. Not only has the UCS plaform been independently proven to provide world-record performance for almost every application type, but more and more customers are voting with their wallets that UCS will be their next generation server platform (now up to 7400 customers as of August 2011). Read More »

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Short note on Cisco – VMware joint solutions demos at Cisco Live

At Cisco Live earlier today, I had opportunity to talk with my very good friend Sean Gilbert (VMware’s Global Technical Alliance Manager for Cisco) about all the cool stuff that VMware is showcasing in their booth at Cisco Live. I was particularly interested in the demos and Cisco specific integration that will help our joint customers accelerate journey to private and hybrid clouds.

I was impressed with what I heard and thought it would be nice to share the highlights of the conversation I had with Sean. Here it is…should not be more than 5 minutes read :)

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