Preparing for the Next Big Wave in IT: The Intercloud’s Role in Digitization
There is no question that we’re on the cusp of rapid IT evolution. Ten years ago, a small subset of IT managers and system administrators defined and drove infrastructure and services with a finite set of management tools for everyone’s use. In the emerging cloud world, the control of the data center has become segregated into individual hardware components (compute, network, storage) and become more available to the masses.
Today developers are building and running cloud services and next generation applications. As users, we are also composing our own cloud services to get our job done and combining all the various things we can consume in the cloud. That means the number of users and developers that touch IT systems and services has grown exponentially, which is why automation, programmability, and light weight development environments have become critical in the IT landscape. By definition, the consumption of these varying services have also driven the requirements for fast, hybrid IT and given the opportunity to companies like Amazon Web Services to capitalize on the users.
You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet!
But we are anticipating a much bigger wave in IT – one that we all have to be prepared for – which is digitization. With all things of value connecting to the network, we are walking around with super computers in our pockets and in our cars and homes. These “things” (e.g. FitBit, Nest, and the Telsa smart traffic mapping application) are the new “users” that are consuming services and data from our surroundings and using these services to get their jobs done. This is another order of magnitude greater than the system administrators who drove the IT revolution and the users like us who drove the initial cloud revolution. We need to find a way to push the intelligence and services all the way out to the edge and tie this uber-distributed compute fabric together to support the “things” while giving the developers and users the automated, secure platform, intelligence, and analytics that they need.
Hyper-distributed Application Environment
This means in the current cloud economy, enterprises will need a bimodal IT model to take advantage of this uber-distributed compute fabric – one that supports their existing legacy applications AND one that supports hyperscale applications (those cloud-native applications built for mobile, gaming, ecommerce, etc.). We need to allow enterprise to deploy those new applications in hundreds of clouds and not just on their own private cloud. Enabling this kind of distributed application environment will require an agile, FAST IT development strategy combined with the right cloud platform to manage it. In addition, this cloud platform needs to be hybrid as well to allow full workload mobility across any cloud, from any vendor in a way that guarantees visibility, security, compliance and full open standards.
We believe that Intercloud, the global network of connected clouds that we’re building with our partners, is the right hybrid cloud platform to help users take advantage of digitization and IoE in the near future. Our partners are going to play a major role in making this a reality for their customers.
Oh là là
Earlier today on main stage during Cisco Partner Summit in Montreal, I gave more than 7,000 partners a preview of this Intercloud-enabled journey to Fast IT and digitization, and the role they’ll be able to play with customers. Within this journey there are a few different Cisco solutions that partners can sell to their customers and monetize today or in the near future:
- Discover True Cloud Usage
Before enterprises race to embrace the world of many clouds and eventually digitization, it is critical that they understand their own cloud usage and what services are within their control. Most CIOs think they know how many cloud services they are using within their enterprise, but they’re usually way off base. In many organizations, line of business (LOB) managers lease and use multiple IT and cloud services without the IT department’s knowledge. After analysis, CIOs usually discover they are using 5 to 10 times more cloud services than they were aware of, called “Shadow IT” or “Shadow Cloud.” This creates exponentially more hidden costs than are visible to the IT department, and a host of other security risks. Our new Cisco Cloud Consumption as a Service not only helps customers find out how many Shadow IT services they’re actually using, but which applications are in use, whether the data stored on those applications is encrypted, and how much it is costing them.
- Build a Hybrid Cloud Platform
Once CIOs realize the extent of the cloud fragmentation, they need a hybrid cloud model that gives them control over this hyperscale distribution of applications and data. Cisco ONE Enterprise Cloud Suite helps customers build their own hybrid private cloud and functions like an internal cloud store while still guaranteeing visibility, control, security, policy management, and compliance. Since it already contains a combination of Cisco Prime Service Catalog, Cisco Intercloud Fabric, and UCS Director, Cisco ONE Enterprise Cloud Suite is the one-stop shop for Cloud Builders who want to help enterprises build their own private hybrid cloud and manage the IaaS, Paas, and SaaS services applications inside it, whether those applications are their own or purchased from a partner marketplace or a public cloud.
- Link IT to OT
50 billion new things will be connected to the Internet and all of these “things” will create data that will be stored in clouds and will need to be managed by the IT department. This is the world of hybrid IT – not just hybrid cloud. Cisco Energy Management Suite is an example of an Intercloud application that links IT to OT to solve this problem. It helps identify the customer’s energy use and provides benchmarks for their cloud, IT, and OT assets. Partners will wrap their own professional services around this offer to perform an assessment of the customer’s environment and automatically create and deploy policies to better manage their customers’ energy consumption all through the cloud.
- Sell a Private OpenStack Cloud Managed Service
As I mentioned earlier, a new IT approach is needed for enterprises to deploy cloud-native applications. Centralized computing models won’t work for many of the IoE solutions today. The time-sensitive nature of these solutions requires localized analysis and processing, which requires a distributed intelligence that only the network can deliver. This distributed applications approach leverages the intelligence network as a platform to deploy many IoE applications closer to the decision point and the data so it can enable people and processes to take near real-time informed action. Partners can help enterprises build their own distributed application cloud environment and deploy cloud-native applications using Cisco OpenStack Private Cloud Bundle based on Cisco’s Metacloud acquisition. This OpenStack-based private cloud development application is designed to radically simplify the private cloud start up process for enterprises, deliver a public cloud experience for developers, and provide a reoccurring subscription revenue opportunity for partners. Not only that, but it allows enterprises to create, deploy, and modify these cloud-native applications built for mobile, gaming, or ecommerce (such as the Angry Birds game) that can become a new source of revenue and customer analytics for enterprises.
In conclusion, CIOs need to solve the problem of hybrid IT – not just hybrid cloud. Their new remit is to manage everything from data centers to the cloud, to edges, to mobile devices. Cisco Intercloud is the only solution that has been designed from the ground up to solve this problem while leveraging the power of the network.