Mad Scientist Alert

October 27, 2010 - 1 Comment

Looking back, the market was probably caught off guard a bit by an acquisition of an automation software company by the worldwide leader in networking. Looking around, the market may still be wondering:  why was the acquisition made?    Did all that cash the financial analysts keep talking about finally burn a hole in Cisco’s proverbial head as well as pockets?

Infrastructure Alchemy

Neither conjecture is true, of course. As usual, Cisco mined the market for the next catalyst (pun fully intended) to transform its infrastructure, starting with the data center. The result was a formula for data center transformation that solves some of the most pressing problems in data center management both today and well into the future. Here’s the formula: take one compute platform highly tuned for on-demand cloud environments, add third-party application deliver, then perform a little fusion with support solutions that support the Day 2 operations requirements for automating manual tasks. The result is an automation of the many repetitive tasks that are now being done manually, allowing data center administrators to invest the majority of their resources in aligning IT operations with business goals and creating new ways to generate revenue rather than in just maintaining the infrastructure.

In mathematical notation:

UCS + Third Party Applications + Tidal Enterprise SchedulerTidal Enterprise Orchestrator = More Time + More Savings + More Innovation

You may be wondering how intelligent automation can further streamline the UCS environment. After all, UCS dramatically simplifies infrastructure deployment and configuration. It allows you to better manage resources so you can scale on demand.   And that highly tuned UCS environment has already won over 1700 customers, and rumor has it that it has taken third place in the US x86 blade market sweepstakes—in just over a year of shipments. But the data center is also home to third-party products that deliver applications in concert with UCS.  And efficiently coordinating all these moving parts helps you continue to drive cost out of the environment and provide better performance on an ongoing basis. And that’s where Tidal Enterprise Scheduler and Tidal Enterprise Orchestrator come in to support the Day 2 Operations requirements for automating manual tasks around the data center.  So our robotic laboratory assistants work on all the tedious tasks, while humans drive innovation and ensure that IT can react to changing business demands.

DNA Experiments

This is just the first, quick example of how intelligent automation can transform and evolve network infrastructure. Think of the power of intelligent process automation embedded in the network itself: not only automating the administrative tasks across third-party products, incorporating human approvals from a smart phone, but also automating the processes around your Business Intelligence, FTP, and ERP requirements from a single pane of glass rather than requiring multiple administrators script and monitor the multiple integration points in a process.  When the network knows how to manage processes automatically, as well as when to pause to ask you what to do, a whole new realm of resources—and whole new world of opportunity—opens up.

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  1. This is actually a very smart business practice on Cisco’s part, not lunacy. As you so correctly pointed out, this will give their data center administrators the time for more important tasks relative to the rather mundane operational tasks they are undertaking today. This is the general idea of automation, rather than to make people redundant. Most companies have no shortage of important tasks that need to be tended to, but unfortunately all too often these tasks remain undone due to the necessity of applying resources to mundane but essential tasks. Automation can increase the efficiency of these businesses remarkably.