Have you realized that companies’ transformation towards Digitization ironically drive easier consumption models while technology behind it gets often more complicated?
When I get a chance to sit on a table to discuss Digitization strategies, it is interesting how most of the times great ideas come up to transform any kind of business, but it all gets delayed and even stuck when the operation itself is already complex and it could even get more complex with new projects unless infrastructure modernization is also considered as part of this transformation.
Through times, we have faced 3 basic technology infrastructure needs: Network, Compute and Storage also commonly known as “plumbing” in today’s high-tech world.
We need Multi-Gigabit roads for any type of information to flow upon, larger capacity and faster methods for storing everything we produce in today’s IoT world (even light-bulbs are connected to the Internet today!) and ever-growing compute power to constantly analyze and process our data.
It does not matter whether you have a 1970s COBOL application or a state-of-the-art micro-services one, you can’t get away without any of these 3 pillars!
If we go back to the 1800s and think in the context of basic services, practically everybody used to have their own energy source at home (through diesel or some sort of power generators) as well as their own water source in their backyard (such as wells).
Most companies are used to this model today with technology infrastructure needs and the way they buy it, consume it and operate it.
However, depending on the country, type of business and sometimes even strategy, some companies may decide to consume technology infrastructure needs “as-a-service”, paying for it “by the meter”
We are undergoing a transition similar to the one we lived in the mid 1900s with basic services, where utility and consumption models started to take over.
Think of Public Cloud as the Utility company that is coming to your town and that should help alleviate some pressure off your operation. However, that does not necessarily mean every company can just get rid of all its “plumbing” from one day to the other, just like electricity and water, transformation into utility did not change overnight.
Through this transition, Public Cloud may still face some challenges for many, like: data locality & compliance, data and app portability, availability and security amongst many others.
That is why Hybrid Cloud is still very relevant for many of us out there. The ability to compare costs and benchmark performance between multiple cloud providers versus our own, make the Multicloud world more relevant than ever and seems to keep that way for a few years still.
So, regardless the path you take in your Multicloud Strategy, and coming back to our “plumbing” conversation, nobody wants to have multiple management points for the same “service”.
Just picture one of those 2000s business-man belts where they would have their cell-phone, beeper, radio, pager, and probably more things I fortunately did not get to wear!
They were all meant for communication until one brilliant person decided to put everything (including my camera and Walkman) into my cell phone!
That is Cisco’s objective (or at least one of them) with Software-Defined Infrastructure! We want to make sure that you have “All-things networking” or “All-things compute” or even “All-things Storage” managed centrally. If we can simplify management at the “plumbing” level even regardless of their location (e.g. Multicloud) this would transform any operation and make it consistently efficient.
This would not only have a cascade effect in terms of security, high-availability, growth and costs, but it would take us back to the table to confidently discuss any topic from Digitization strategies to Deep Learning knowing that my baseline is solid.
Technologies like ACI, HyperFlex, UCS, Cisco DNA Center, Meraki and Intersight are some examples of “points of aggregation” through a software-defined model that allow us to manage everything within their “category” centrally, while leveraging automation to make my life easier as an admin.
No CCIE got smarter by typing “switchport mode access” and its related commands 10000 times (one per every port on every switch he needed to configure), therefore, having it automated makes my job way easier by declaring it centrally and executing it regardless the speed of the switch/port (100Mbps – 100Gbps), form-factor (physical, virtual, container) or location (multi-data center or even cloud).
In the case of networking, by using SDN technologies like ACI we just provide “one potentially-giant switch” that starts small and grows through time based on our needs.
And although we are cutting provisioning times and improving efficiency through software, hardware is still relevant. It will be the heart of all this automation magic and will be in charge of executing these centrally defined instructions. So, wherever you may need hardware, make sure it is reliable since no software runs on air today and performance is key for any operation.
Once we have an efficient and modernized operation based on the 3 basic technology infrastructure needs (network, compute and storage platforms) we can leverage anything traversing those pipes through Analytics and even more Automation!
If we go back to the way Netflix started their way as content creators (instead of distributors) with House of Cards, you may remember it was through Analytics that using their own platform they understood how people were consuming their content as well as their preferences, reducing the risk on this new business they were to start.
Now you have this intelligent platform that transports, stores and processes anything and everything regardless its location, form-factor and size so let’s unlock that business potential to transform your business!
Whether you use analytics to monitor User-Experience and Business-Metrics on your applications or Security and Zero-Trust, or constant Cost-Optimization, or any others, technology is here for you to take and transform your business through it, making it a competitive advantage in your industry.
Companies that understand and implement new services for their consumers faster, will always have an edge over their competitors (in the end we are all searching for the “easy-button + better experiences” model somehow).
Agility needs to be there in everything we do, and if we leverage things like automation from the ground and all the way up to Service & Application Modeling and Delivering, we can set ourselves apart in any business.
Time is the most valued currency nowadays and if we can get some of it back through technology (regardless being consumer or provider) by making the most out of this Multicloud transition, I think it is worth the shot!
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