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Clouding with Confidence – A Tale of Two IT Departments

March 22, 2011 - 4 Comments

Maybe you’ve noticed our recent ad campaign, “Cloud with Confidence“, in which we talk about the explosion of companies enabling their business via Cloud Computing activities – Public, Private and Hybrid Clouds. One of my favorite parts of the messaging is that it doesn’t try and confine the definition of “cloud” as a single thing but instead it highlights the power of connectivity between people, information, markets and ideas. The value to businesses is the interaction and availability of all of these services to help them move from a great idea to a great implementation as quickly as possible.

But that’s just marketing, right? We live in an environment where people are skeptical of large claims and want to see results. Increasingly, they often want to see other people take the risk before them. Not only do we hear this from CIOs that are managing long-term strategies and budgets, but we also hear it from IT organizations that don’t want to do a lot of extra work if the benefits aren’t going to be there.

Fair enough.

How about a couple of REALLY BIG examples? Cisco IT and EMC IT. Over $60B in annual sales, $150B in market-cap, and over 100k employees dependent on IT to deliver Cloud Computing services that drive the day-to-day business. Over 70% virtualized, including mission-critical applications (Oracle, SAP, etc.) running on Cisco UCS x86 platforms in highly automated environments. Both organizations are well down the path on their Journey to enable Private Cloud as well as actively looking at opportunities to expand their use of Hybrid Cloud to reach new markets and interact with stakeholders. [NOTE:] Both Cisco IT and EMC IT actively update their blogs with details about their projects and are open to talk to customers about their experiences]

First off, Cisco has never been afraid to “eat our own dog food” or been afraid to share the results with the world. As we move into greater adoption of Cloud Computing, this will be no different than in the past. In fact, we’ve been clear about how we’ll align our outgoing mission (to the market) with our internal mission (IT serving the needs of employees and partners):

  • The network is a critical element to enable Cloud Computing. It allows us to bring together our people, our best ideas, collaboration (voice, video, social media) and data.
  • In fast moving markets, Innovation is the enabler of success. Whether this is Innovation in technology or new ways to run the operations of IT, Innovation is embedded in the Cisco corporate DNA.
  • Partnering is critical. Not only do we ask our partners to make the Journey to Cloud along with us, but we expect them to walk the walk as well. This is both our technology partners and our go-to-market Channel, SI and Service Provider partners. Delivering solutions in new ways, ultimately simplifying and enhancing the experience for our joint customers.
  • Just as the Internet grew rapidly through standards and interoperability, we expect this to happen with Cloud Computing. Cisco and our partners are fiercely committed to open-standards and open-APIs and open-community involvement.

I highlight these two examples because when I speak directly to customers and at industry events about Cloud Computing, people are starting to truly understand that Cloud is about change. Some of that change is technology driven (Unified Computing, Unified Fabric, Unified Storage, Virtualization), but there is also a change in IT skills and processes. Ultimately, this is where the IT professional wants a level of assurance that the results will align to the vision. They want to know that the hard work will deliver better things for their company and themselves.

My reassurance to them is that not only are the results real, but they can be spectacular! And while it may take some time to proceed along the journey, there are tangible benefits at each stage in terms of both cost-savings and accelerating the pace of the business. The lessons we’re learning at scale are actively being embedded back into the products and our services.

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  1. The reality is no one keeps their money under the matress anymore, we rely on a third party “Banks” to hold our cash assets. Although there may be risks involved as with anything the risk benefit pays off. With the cloud it will all work out the same, people will eventually understand the risk benefit ratio and will quickly move to take advantage of all the benefits.

  2. @Carlos – Thank you for the feedback. Based on our discussions with customers, we hear the same concerns. In some cases it’s directly tied to the security of their information (eg. don’t let it get stolen, read by the wrong people, corrupted, etc.) and in other cases the “security” is really their “level of trust” in allow a 3rd-party to maintain valuable company information.

    The reality is that the economics and technology are changing very quickly and many customers do want the option of using 3rd-party providers to help them deliver certain IT services. Cisco works very hard with our Service Provider customers to ensure that they have the architectures and technologies to ensure their customers information is secure. Is it perfect? No, as no security model is perfect. But it continues to get better over time. I’d recommend staying up to date by reading the Cisco Security blog – I’d also recommend reading a blog by one of Cisco’s leading Cloud/Security experts, Chris Hoff –

  3. In our daily work we still see the customer fear about security issues at the cloud. We should continue communicating all the security means implemented in the cloud. However, we need more info and promotion to deliver the message to disipate these fears. Hopefully you can help with this.

  4. yea i hope cloud computing technology spreads everywhere so that others can get benefited with it 🙂