We are almost at the end of January in 2014 and Cisco Live is underway in Europe.   The IT landscape is changing rapidly, and we all need to adapt to it.  In a previous blog I had listed some of the high priority issues for IT in 2014, and in this blog I will emphasize the rate of change needed to keep pace.

Cyber threats are growing in all forms and shapes.

From retail giants like Target to local school districts, all have been targets of attacks last year. This 2014 Cisco security report is an eye opener.  The use of cloud computing and mobile devices is only increasing the complexity of security. Vulnerabilities are increasing because data centers have thus far adopted “bolt on” security measures i.e disparate technologies with multiple control points that were never meant to work together. Malicious actors are working faster to exploit gaps. IT must adapt quickly to this new normal.

IT must now deliver services not technology

Business expects IT to deliver consistent high quality services.  Projects will not be one off, siloed, custom solutions.  This is akin to moving away from a job shop model to a highly industrialized continuous flow model in the world of manufacturing. Projects will get more complex due to the use of shared resources and the resulting interrelationships. All this calls for a high degree of automation and service assurance mechanisms, resulting in more changes to the IT department. At Cisco, we are working hard to provide IT the necessary tools to adapt to these changes. UCS Manager is still the gold standard in automating converged infrastructure setup and maintenance.  This is made possible with the service profile innovation shown in the video below.  To find out more about UCS Manager attend this meetup in Santa Clara on the 27th of Feb.


The newly released version 4.1 of UCS Director provides several capabilities for automation including:

  1. A REST API and a Java Software Development kit for Open Automation
  2. Ability to add new custom infrastructure managemnet Workflow tasks
  3. Network application container support with Cisco VSG (Virtual Security Gateway)
  4.  Network provisioning workflow enhancements for SAN Zoning tasks.
  5.  Virtual machine management with vSphere 5.5 support and more.

The complete list of enhancements can be found here.  While delivering IT as a service the quality of service becomes paramount. The importance of service-level monitoring tools will only increase.  These tools are essential for adhering to Service Level Agreements and Service Assurance in general.  One such tool is the CA Nimsoft Monitor. To find out more about how it monitors Cisco UCS infrastructure attend one of the following seminars next month in Houston, Dallas, Boston, Charlotte, SouthField or Bellvue.

Jim Frey, VP of Research at Research firm EMA (Enterprise Management Associates) will host the seminars and share findings on data centers optimized for service delivery.  Register now.


IT organizational structures must change to deliver services

In this new model, IT may not deliver the services but act only as a broker.  One of the customers I visited recently, has even defined the new role of a “service owner”.  If IT services are outsourced, then IT staff will be playing a more integral role in the business. With the emergence of integrated infrastructures, the siloed model of server, network and storage management competence centers will have to change.  The collaboration and knowledge exchange will only accelerate. These are significant changes to IT organizations and we can expect the pace to increase.