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Complexity AND Control in the Cloud

- December 15, 2014 - 2 Comments

Guest post from Dan Swart

Dan Swart is a Senior Manager in Cisco Technical Services Product Management, leading the team responsible for Enterprise and Data Center Solution Support services. Along with that, Dan has been heavily involved in Data Center Alliance programs and Converged Infrastructures. Dan has Batchelor of Science Degrees in Zoology and Electrical Engineering from North Carolina State University.

Dan Swart is a Senior Manager in Cisco Technical Services Product Management, leading the team responsible for Enterprise and Data Center Solution Support services. Along with that, Dan has been heavily involved in Data Center Alliance programs and Converged Infrastructures. Dan has Bachelor of Science Degrees in Zoology and Electrical Engineering from North Carolina State University.

We want what we want when we want it. Never truer than today when we’ve got a global marketplace of technology vendors vying to deliver on now practically required solutions like enterprise cloud.

While it’s really impossible today to deploy an enterprise cloud using products created by a single vendor, would we want it any other way?  Yes, there are major component manufacturers that can sell most of the products needed to build an enterprise cloud, but the restrictions inherent in those offers, and the need for margin stacking to single source all needed hardware and software from a component manufacturer may limit the attractiveness of those options.

Most of the customers we work with want to build their enterprise cloud using products that are “best for my needs” rather than products that are what a single manufacturer offers.  Along with that, enterprise license agreements, volume purchase agreements and other factors make it difficult to purchase a cloud infrastructure from a single source.   For those reasons and others, most enterprise cloud deployments are inherently multivendor.

So great, you get exactly what you want and need. What could go wrong? Famous last words.

Well, along with picking and choosing your perfect cloud solution, you end up with some complexity.

Even single products within the cloud, like virtualization software, have high levels of complexity. But add things like networking in a software application environment, storage, and security, and your cloud system becomes extremely complicated.  You may experience an issue that appears to be a virtualization issue, but later find the issue was actually caused by security, storage, networking, or some other area like load balancing.

So how do you get what you need, give your customers what they want, and look good to your management, without making some choices that could be, shall we say, career limiting?

Here’s what we advise many of our clients as they begin to design their enterprise cloud:

  • First, it’s always a good idea to make sure you are not a “pioneer” in your configuration.  What I mean by this is don’t try to go somewhere where no one else has gone.
  • Third, make sure you have a plan to both implement and operate the system that will not leave you as the last line of defense.

So here’s a key point: cloud admins may be really strong in specific products and technologies, but lack skills in specific products or areas like multivendor issue management. When issues cross product boundaries, they may not be able to rapidly coordinate everyone needed to quickly resolve the issue.  

We hear this continually from our customers in not so many words. Very early in our sales discussions, customers ask HOW their multivendor cloud solution will be managed. They are most likely assessing their staff abilities and time commitments to understand multiple technologies quickly and juggle vendor discussions, and already seem to know they may come up short.

The good news is that Cisco has built a way to “extend” our customers’ IT departments with solution-level support, which puts the accountability on our teams to make sure multivendor environments work.

Stay tuned and in my next post, I’ll describe in more detail how these Cisco Solution Support Services augment your IT department and can help you take the leap to new cloud technologies with confidence.

In the meantime, check out our less-than-two-minute video on Solution Support.

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2 Comments

  1. Such an insightful post! Cloud computing is quickly becoming a growing trend, and it's important to for cloud companies to improve their industry so others will be more inclined to use it. I really appreciate how you shared your knowledge on this topic. Thanks so much for sharing, Dan!

  2. very insightful and Bold! Cisco has taken a big leap forward by recognizing the need for such multi vendor support services. Cisco has the solutions , technology and heft to make markets here. I'm looking forward to hearing more in this space